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

8Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my p ... View more

Ps 78:70-71

70He chose his servant David,
and took him from the sheepfolds;71from tending the nursing ewes he brought him
to be the shepherd of his people Jacob,
of Israel, ... View more

Gen 31:40

40It was like this with me: by day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes.

Song 1:8

8If you do not know,
O fairest among women,
follow the tracks of the flock,
and pasture your kids
beside the shepherds' tents.

Isa 38:12

12My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me
like a shepherd's tent;
like a weaver I have rolled up my life;
he cuts me off from the loom;
from day to night ... View more

1Sam 17:34-35

34But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb from the flock,35I went after it ... View more

Isa 31:4

4For thus the Lord said to me,
As a lion or a young lion growls over its prey,
and—when a band of shepherds is called out against it—
is not terrified by their ... View more

Amos 3:12

12Thus says the Lord: As the shepherd rescues from the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear, so shall the people of Israel who live in Samaria be re ... View more

Mic 5:8

8And among the nations the remnant of Jacob,
surrounded by many peoples,
shall be like a lion among the animals of the forest,
like a young lion among the flock ... View more

John 10:12

12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and sca ... View more

Gen 31:39

39That which was torn by wild beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it myself; of my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night.

John 10:1

Jesus the Good Shepherd
1“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit.

John 10:8

8All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them.

John 10:10

10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Luke 2:8-20

The Shepherds and the Angels
8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.9Then an angel of the Lord stood ... View more

Num 27:16-17

16“Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint someone over the congregation17who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lea ... View more

Eccl 12:11

11The sayings of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings that are given by one shepherd.

John 21:15-17

Jesus and Peter
15When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; ... View more

Gen 48:15

15He blessed Joseph, and said,
“The God before whom my ancestors Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,

Gen 49:24

24Yet his bow remained taut,
and his arms were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,

Ps 23

The Divine Shepherd
A Psalm of David.
1The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.2He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;3he re ... View more

Ezek 34

Israel's False Shepherds
1The word of the Lord came to me:2Mortal, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel: prophesy, and say to them—to the shepherds: Thus sa ... View more

Matt 18:12-14

12What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of ... View more

Matt 25:32-33

32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,33and he will put t ... View more

John 10:1-29

Jesus the Good Shepherd
1“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit.2The ... View more

Heb 13:20

20Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,

1Pet 2:25

25For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

1Pet 5:4

4And when the chief shepherd appears, you will win the crown of glory that never fades away.

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