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SHEPHERD IMAGERY IN THE BIBLE

OLD TESTAMENT

  • God is the Shepherd (Gen 49:24; Ps 23; 80:1).
  • God’s appointed leaders are undershepherds (Ezek 34).
  • Many people in the Old Testament were shepherds by trade, like Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Rachel, Jacob, Moses, and David.
  • Foreign leaders were sometimes called shepherds when their leadership impacted God’s people (Isa 44:28).
  • The prophets depicted the distress of Israel without leadership or bad leader in terms of a flock without a shepherd (Ezek 34:1-10; Zech 10:2; 13:7).
  • The prophets used shepherds imagery to point to the Messiah to come (Ezek 34:22-24; 37:24; Isa 40:11; Zech 13:7; see also Matt 26:31; Mark 14:27).
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