frequently used in its proper sense, for fastening a tent (Ex.
35:18; 39:40), yoking animals to a cart (Isa. 5:18), binding
prisoners (Judg. 15:13; Ps. 2:3; 129:4), and measuring ground (2
Sam. 8;2; Ps. 78:55). Figuratively, death is spoken of as the
giving way of the tent-cord (Job 4:21. "Is not their tent-cord
plucked up?" R.V.). To gird one's self with a cord was a token
of sorrow and humiliation. To stretch a line over a city meant
to level it with the ground (Lam. 2:8). The "cords of sin" are
the consequences or fruits of sin (Prov. 5:22). A "threefold
cord" is a symbol of union (Eccl. 4:12). The "cords of a man"
(Hos. 11:4) means that men employ, in inducing each other,
methods such as are suitable to men, and not "cords" such as
oxen are led by. Isaiah (5:18) says, "Woe unto them that draw
iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart
rope." This verse is thus given in the Chaldee paraphrase: "Woe
to those who begin to sin by little and little, drawing sin by
cords of vanity: these sins grow and increase till they are
strong and are like a cart rope." This may be the true meaning.
The wicked at first draw sin with a slender cord; but by-and-by
their sins increase, and they are drawn after them by a cart
rope. Henderson in his commentary says: "The meaning is that the
persons described were not satisfied with ordinary modes of
provoking the Deity, and the consequent ordinary approach of his
vengeance, but, as it were, yoked themselves in the harness of
iniquity, and, putting forth all their strength, drew down upon
themselves, with accelerated speed, the load of punishment which
their sins deserved."