Shepherd

Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

(herder of sheep). A highly honorable occupation among pastoral Hebrews, engaged in by both sexes (Gen. 29:6; 30:29-356And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep. (Genesis 29:6)
29And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me. 30For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the Lord hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also? 31And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock: 32I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire. 33So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me. 34And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word. 35And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons. (Genesis 30:29‑35)
; Ex. 2:16-2216Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. 17And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock. 18And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon to day? 19And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew water enough for us, and watered the flock. 20And he said unto his daughters, And where is he? why is it that ye have left the man? call him, that he may eat bread. 21And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. 22And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land. (Exodus 2:16‑22)). Often arduous and dangerous employment (Gen. 31:4040Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. (Genesis 31:40); 1 Sam. 17:3434And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: (1 Samuel 17:34)). Equipment consisted of a sheepskin mantle, a scrip or wallet, a sling and crook. He led the flock to pasture in the morning, tended them by day and folded and watched them at night (Job 30:11But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock. (Job 30:1); Luke 2:88And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. (Luke 2:8); John 10:44And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. (John 10:4)). The office of sheep-master or chief shepherd was one of great trust as well as honor (2 Kings 3:44And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool. (2 Kings 3:4); Heb. 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); 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)). It was the shepherd’s duty to count the sheep daily and to tithe them, and he was held responsible for lost ones (Gen. 31:38-3938This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. 39That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. (Genesis 31:38‑39); Ex. 22:12-1312And if it be stolen from him, he shall make restitution unto the owner thereof. 13If it be torn in pieces, then let him bring it for witness, and he shall not make good that which was torn. (Exodus 22:12‑13); Isa. 27:32; Jer. 33:1313In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 33:13)). Shepherd is used figuratively for Jehovah (Psa. 80:11<<To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim-eduth, A Psalm of Asaph.>> Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. (Psalm 80:1); Jer. 31:1010Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. (Jeremiah 31:10)); for kings (Ezek. 34:1010Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. (Ezekiel 34:10)); in N. T. for Christ (John 10:1111I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (John 10:11); Heb. 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); 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)). It is applied also to teachers in the synagogue and to those who preside over it. Hence pastor and minister of the gospel.

Concise Bible Dictionary:

A person’s wealth in the East frequently consisted of flocks, the shepherd therefore held an important and honorable position. David was a keeper of sheep. Joseph instructed his brethren to tell Pharaoh that they were shepherds, and they asked permission to dwell in Goshen, for every shepherd was an abomination to the Egyptians. This is supposed to have been caused by some “shepherd-kings” having usurped authority over Egypt. The difficulties and hardships of a shepherd’s life in the East may be gathered from what Jacob passed through during the time he was with Laban (Gen. 31:39-4039That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. 40Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. (Genesis 31:39‑40)). And to this day in many places the shepherd has to be well armed against wild beasts and lurking thieves.
The sheep following the shepherd is a sight often witnessed in the East, and that each sheep has a name and knows the shepherd’s voice, has been tested and proved again and again. All this is beautifully typical of the relation of Jehovah to Israel and of Christ to the church. The sheep of Christ know the good Shepherd’s voice, and find salvation, liberty, and pasture in following the One who leads. The good Shepherd gives them eternal life, having given His life for the sheep. Christ is called the great Shepherd, for the work which He accomplished could have been done only by One who was Himself God, though become man to work out redemption.
In the church there are those who by reason of gift are called pastors, to feed and shepherd the sheep; but Christ is the chief Shepherd, who is over all, whose own the sheep are, and who has given His word that they shall never perish (Psa. 23; Zech. 13:77Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. (Zechariah 13:7); John 10:2-162But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. 6This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. 7Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (John 10:2‑16); Heb. 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); 1 Pet. 5:44And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (1 Peter 5:4); and so forth).

“475. Shepherds' Nooning” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

Song of Solomon 1:77Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions? (Song of Solomon 1:7). Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon.
During the heat of the day the shepherds are in the habit of leading their flocks to some cool and shady spot, where they recline and rest until the shadows lengthen. The sheep sleep, or chew the cud, while the shepherds pass the time in some light employment, such as plaiting mats, or in musing or storytelling.

“804. Shepherd and Sheep” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

John 10:3-53To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. (John 10:3‑5). He calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers.
1. The Eastern shepherds give names to their sheep, as we do to dogs and horses. Every sheep recognizes his own name, and comes when called.
2 Travelers have noticed the wonderful readiness with which the sheep of a large flock will recognize the shepherd’s voice. Though several flocks are mingled they speedily separate at the command of the shepherd, while the word of a stranger would have no effect on them. Porter thus describes a scene he witnessed among the hills of Bashan: “The shepherds led their flocks forth from the gates of the city. They were in full view, and we watched them and listened to them with no little interest. Thousands of sheep and goats were there, grouped in dense, confused masses. The shepherds stood together until all came out. Then they separated, each shepherd taking a different path, and uttering as he advanced a shrill, peculiar call. The sheep heard them. At first the masses swayed and moved as if shaken by some internal convulsion; then points struck out in the direction taken by the shepherds; these became longer and longer until the confused masses were resolved into long, living streams, flowing after their leaders” (Giant Cities of Bashan, p. 45).

“887. The Chief Shepherd” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

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.