Complimented By Sheep
By Patricia Knight
In the ancient Near East, Israeli people were known as nomadic herdsmen; the barren plains were dotted with sheep. Israel was dependent upon sheep for its livelihood: wool for warm coats, leather for tents, their milk and meat for sustenance, and live animals for temple sacrifices and offerings. Both Jacob and Job were wealthy patriarchs, their prosperity determined by the size of their livestock herds. Jacob was “exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks of sheep and goats” (Genesis 30:43). Job “owned seven thousand sheep” (Job 1:3).
Sheep are mentioned more frequently than any other animal in the Bible. It seems natural, then, that so many narratives and parables in God’s Word use illustrations of shepherds and sheep. Kings in Old Testament times were often referred to as shepherd-leaders of their people. Jesus is our Great Shepherd. “‘I am the good shepherd…
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