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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Flock, Fold

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FLOCK, FOLD.—For a general treatment of these words see Sheep, Shepherd. But it may be noted here that, whereas in John 10:1; John 10:16 we find in Authorized Version ‘fold’ three times (‘he that entereth not by the door into the sheep-fold’; and ‘other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and … there shall be one fold and one shepherd’), there is in the original a marked distinction. Two words, absolutely unconnected with each other, are employed. In John 10:1, and in the first clause of John 10:16, the Greek word is αὐλή = ‘enclosure,’ ‘court,’ ‘fold,’ in the strict sense. It is the word used of the enclosed court of the high priest’s palace (Matthew 26:3, Mark 14:54, Luke 22:55, John 18:15), of the strong man’s palace (Luke 11:21), and of the outer court of the Temple (Revelation 11:2). In using this word our Lord seems to refer to those ‘walls of partition’ (cf. Ephesians 2:14) which separated the Jews from the Gentiles and made them a nation by themselves. Within this Jewish fold (αὑλή), our Lord tells us that, at the time when He spoke, He had a number of sheep who were His own; and also that, outside of it, among the Gentiles, dark and miserable as their condition was, He had other sheep, who were His already, and were known to Him, even if they knew it not themselves. These too, He announces, He must bring, and put them along with His Jewish-born sheep; ‘and,’ He adds, ‘there shall be one flock (He uses here the other word ποίμνη), one shepherd.’ He does not say there will be ‘one fold’ (αὐλή), or, indeed, any fold at all. He has unity in view for His sheep—union; but not such as is to be secured by the erection round His flock of such outwardly-enclosing, or constraining ‘walls of partition’—geographical or racial—as had hitherto divided nation from nation and Jew from Gentile. The union whereof He speaks is to be the union of a flock, which is kept together on the one hand by its own instinct of gregariousness, or the mutual affection of the members, and on the other hand by its common subjection to its ‘one Shepherd,’ who loves it, died for it, and whom through all its members it knows. It does not, however, follow that this unity is not a visible unity. The unity of the flock, as it moves along the road under its shepherd’s guidance, is just as visible to the beholder as the unity of the fold whose white walls gleam from the hillside. The difference is not in regard to the visibility of the effect, but the nature of the unifying bond. The distinction is brought out in Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885.

James Cooper.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Flock, Fold'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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