887. The Chief Shepherd

1 Peter 5:4; Genesis 47:6; 1 Samuel 21:7; Hebrews 13:20
1 Peter 5:44And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (1 Peter 5:4). When the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
In Hebrews 13:2020Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, (Hebrews 13:20) Jesus is called “that great Shepherd of the sheep.” This corresponds to the “chief Shepherd” in the text. Where the flocks were numerous and a large number of shepherds were necessary, one was placed in charge of all the others. This was true of the herdmen also. Pharaoh told Joseph to take the most active of his kinsmen and make them “rulers” over his cattle (Gen. 47:66The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle. (Genesis 47:6)). Doeg was the “chiefest of the herdmen” of Saul (1 Sam. 21:77Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord; and his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdmen that belonged to Saul. (1 Samuel 21:7)).
Burder gives an interesting quotation from the Gentlemen’s Magazine for May, 1764, wherein there is a description of the sheep-walks of Spain: “Ten thousand compose a flock, which is divided into ten tribes. One man has the conduct of all. He must be the owner of four or five hundred sheep, strong, active, vigilant, intelligent in pasture, in the weather, and in the diseases of sheep. He has absolute dominion over fifty shepherds and fifty dogs, five of each to a tribe. He chooses them, chastises them or discharges them at will. He is the praepositus, or the chief shepherd, of the whole flock” (Oriental Customs, No. 1310).
Thus we have an illustration of the text. Christian ministers are pastors or shepherds; but there is one over them all. Jesus is the “chief Shepherd.” He superintends them, cares for them, assigns them their several positions, and rewards or punishes them.