God has no concern for Oxen?


What is the correct interpretation of 1 Corinthians 9:9-10

For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop.

Though I try to avoid shoehorning scripture into my modern sensibilities, this is a troubling passage. If Moses was concerned for human workers, and not animals, why did he even mention Oxen? Also it is clear elsewhere in scripture that God ‘does’ have concern for animals (Matthew 6:26, Matthew 10:29, Psalm 145:9), so what is going on in here?


Here, as in the body of text. God is concerned in relaying a message to man, the ox and oxen are symbolic of how we are not to tether any person who wants to take in the word of God and respond with their mouth.


This is a great explanation Does Paul quote Moses out of context?

The original verse in Deut was for the protection of the oxen and the owners of the animals. The oxen needed to be fed as they did their hard labor, even if they were being rented.

To review my argument: Moses gave the command to provide for the ox, but ultimately to protect an Israelite from being unjustly treated at the hand of one who borrows or rents his ox. The one benefiting from the labor of an ox should not take economic advantage of the owner of the ox.

Paul uses this argument to say that the apostles and missionaries and laborers for the Gospel must also be provided for by the people to whom they are ministering.

Just as an ox must be allowed to eat while it works, the preachers and missionaries deserve food and compensation for their labors.

Once this is seen, rich texture is added to Paul’s use of this verse. His point is not really that the Corinthians should have compassion or mercy for him and Barnabas, but that this is a matter of fundamental justice . The issue is not really kindness, but rights. When Paul says this is not really about the oxen, he is pointing to this wider and deeper reality at play in this verse as it was originally to be understood. Therefore the Corinthians should want to provide appropriate compensation as an expression of justice, even if Paul ultimately rejects the offer.

Also What does “Do not muzzle the oxen” mean? Neither of them are Catholic websites but the priniciples behind the meaning of the passage are the same, that workers should be fairly compensated for their labor.


Why mention Oxen at all though?


God uses the world around to help teach everyone.


Deut. xxv – because the laborers and working animals are to be fed with the fruit of their labors, so not muzzled. Similarly the minister of the Gospel should be allowed to live from his work.


Rather than just speak to us “plainly”, God likes to give us examples- sometimes analogies, sometimes stories- to help us remember spiritual truths. This is why Jesus so often spoke in parables.


From the Catechism:

2416 Animals are God’s creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals.

2417 God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image.198 Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives.

2418 It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons


And should I not be concerned over the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot know their right hand from their left, not to mention all the animals?Jonah 4:11

God never forgets the animals.


Moses was not Jesus, and he gave no indication that it referred to something over than oxen.


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