shepherd

shepherd

One who pastures or tends a flock of sheep or goats. Many important figures in Hebrew history were shepherds, including Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jacob’s sons, Moses, and David. The occupation first appears in Gen. 4:2, when Abel, “a keeper of sheep,” comes into conflict with Cain, “a tiller of the ground,” and the shepherd’s humble status can be seen in the contrast drawn between David’s pastoral and royal careers (2Sam 7:8; Ps 78:70-71). Most of the shepherd’s work involved a routine of leading the sheep to food and water and returning them to the safety of the fold. Shepherds were often nomads, required to put up with simple food, harsh weather (Gen 31:40), and primitive lodging (Song 1:8; Isa 38:12). Such routine hardships were occasionally accompanied by danger from wild animals, e.g., lions, bears, and wolves (1Sam 17:34-35; Isa 31:4; Amos 3:12; Mic 5:8; John 10:12). Shepherds also had to be on guard against thieves (Gen 31:39; John 10:1; John 10:8; John 10:10). In the NT shepherds are the first to hear the announcement that a Savior has been born, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:8-20). Throughout the Bible, the customs of shepherds are often used to illustrate spiritual principles (e.g., sheep without a shepherd are like those who have strayed from God), and shepherds are compared to spiritual overseers (Num 27:16-17; Eccl 12:11; John 21:15-17). The shepherd’s work is also used to describe God’s activity (Gen 48:15; Gen 49:24; Ps 23; Ezek 34). It figures frequently in the figurative speech of Jesus (Matt 18:12-14; Matt 25:32-33; John 10:1-29), and Jesus himself is later identified as the “great shepherd of the sheep” (Heb 13:20), the “shepherd and guardian of your souls” (1Pet 2:25), and the “chief shepherd” (1Pet 5:4).

2Sam 7:8

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Ps 78:70-71

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Gen 31:40

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Song 1:8

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Isa 38:12

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1Sam 17:34-35

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Isa 31:4

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Amos 3:12

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Mic 5:8

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John 10:12

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Gen 31:39

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John 10:1

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John 10:8

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John 10:10

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Luke 2:8-20

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Num 27:16-17

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Eccl 12:11

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John 21:15-17

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Gen 48:15

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Gen 49:24

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Ps 23

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Ezek 34

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Matt 18:12-14

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Matt 25:32-33

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John 10:1-29

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Heb 13:20

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1Pet 2:25

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1Pet 5:4

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