Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The verb ζευγνυμι (zeugnumi) means to join together, mostly of oxen or donkeys under a yoke. It comes from the widely attested Proto-Indo-European root "yewg-", to join or tie together under a yoke (our English word yoke indeed derives from this PIE root).
Modern humanity essentially commenced with the agricultural revolution (αγρος, agros, field, relates to אדמה, adama, field, from which comes the name Adam), and the invention of the yoke — a device that allowed the alignment of the individual energies of domesticated animals — was among its first victories.
As we describe more elaborately in our articles on the Hebrew verb אלף ('alep), to socially synchronize, hence the noun אלף ('elep), ox or cattle, or its Greek equivalent βους (bous), ox or cattle: the principle of social synchronicity that is so clearly defining of herds and herd animals, also forms the fundament of all human society, and governs the emergence of language and that of common law and social codes of conduct. Even the birth and rise of the Word in the Flesh (John 1:14, Luke 2:40), and ultimately the descent of the New Jerusalem onto earth (Revelation 21:2), is a matter of social synchronicity: when natural individuals forgo their urges to lock horns and slug it out, and willingly submit to a mutual curbing of their enthusiasms and the light-weight yoke of manners and politeness.
This verb ζευγνυμι (zeugnumi), to join, is not used independently in the New Testament — but note the enormous and not dissimilar verb αρω (aro), to fit or match, hence our word harmony, and the noun τεκτων (tekton), joiner, which relates to our English words text, textile and technology, and which describes the earthly profession of both Jesus and Joseph (rather than the carpenter of folklore). Jesus' mother and Joseph's legal wife, Mary, was a close kinswoman of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, who was a Levite, which, likewise, means joiner.
Our verb ζευγνυμι (zeugnumi), to join under a common yoke, speaks of social synchronicity, the very small price to pay for language, law and ultimately ελευθερια (eleutheria) or freedom-by-law (2 Corinthians 3:17, Galatians 5:1). In other words: the yoke that Jesus famously offered (Matthew 11:29), is the one that ultimately leads to utter liberty.
From our verb derive:
- The noun ζευγος (zeugos), which describes a pair or team of yoked animals (Luke 2:24 and 14:19 only). From this noun in turn come:
- Together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or with: the verb συζευγνυμι (suzeugnumi), meaning to team up, to yoke together (Matthew 19:6 and Mark 10:9 only). This verb is used only to describe the joining of husband and wife (hence 1 Peter 3:1), which corresponds to the unused noun δαμαρ (damar), wife, from the verb δαμαζω (damazo), meaning to tame or domesticate; also see γαμος (gamos), marriage. From this verb in turn comes:
- The noun ζυγος (zugos), meaning yoke: the device that allowed the alignment of the individual energies of domesticated animals. The invention of this miraculous device heralded the rise of modern man, his language, his law and ultimately his freedom. This magnificent noun is used 6 times, see full concordance, and from it comes:
- Together with the preposition υπο (hupo) meaning under, beneath or through: the noun υποζυγιον (hupozugion), which describes an animal commonly under yoke, a yoke-animal: either an ox or a donkey (Matthew 21:5 and 2 Peter 2:16 only). It's no superfluous detail that Christ entered Jerusalem seated on the young of such a yoke-animal.