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People's Dictionary of the Bible

Shepherd

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Sheep, Shepherd. Genesis 4:2; Genesis 46:32. Sheep were used in the sacrificial offerings, both the adult animal, Exodus 20:24, and the lamb. Exodus 29:38; Leviticus 9:3; Leviticus 12:6. Sheep and lambs formed an important article of food. 1 Samuel 25:18. The wool was used as clothing. Leviticus 13:47. "Rams' skins dyed red" were used as a covering for the tabernacle. Exodus 25:5. Sheep and lambs were sometimes paid as tributes. 2 Kings 3:4. Sheep-shearing is alluded to. Genesis 31:19. Sheep-dogs were employed in biblical times. Job 30:1. Shepherds in Palestine and the East generally go before their flocks, calling to them, and the sheep follow; comp. John 10:4; Psalms 77:20; Psalms 80:1, though they also drive them. Genesis 33:13. Rev. John Hartley gives an illustration of John 10:1-16 : " Having had my attention directed to John 10:3, I asked a shepherd to call one of his sheep. He did so, and it instantly left its pasturage and its companions and ran up to the hands of the shepherd with signs of pleasure and with a prompt obedience which I had never before observed in any other animal. It is also true in this country that 'a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him.'" The common sheep of Syria and Palestine are the broad-tailed, which, when fattened, have tails of an enormous size. "I have seen many in Lebanon so heavy," says Dr. Thomson, "that the owners could not carry them without difficulty... The cooks use this mass of fat instead of Arab butter.... This is the 'rump' so often mentioned in the Levitical sacrifices, which was to be taken off hard by the backbone. Exodus 29:22; Leviticus 3:9; Leviticus 7:3; Leviticus 9:19. It is, in fact, not properly a tail, but a mass of mar row-like fat, which spreads over the whole rump of the sheep, and down the caudal extremity, till near the end." The shearing of the sheep was celebrated anciently, as often now, with much festivity. Genesis 31:19; Genesis 38:12-13; 1 Samuel 25:4-8; 1 Samuel 25:36; 2 Samuel 13:23-28.


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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Shepherd'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/rpd/s/shepherd.html. 1893.

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