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September 1    Scripture

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Manners & Customs: Sheep
Sheep in ancient Bible times

Abundance of Sheep LARGE NUMBER OF SHEEP IN PALESTINE From the days of Abraham down to modern times, sheep have abounded in the Holy Land. The Arabs of Bible lands have largely been dependent through the centuries upon sheep for their living. The Jews of Bible times were first shepherds and then farmers, but they never abandoned entirely their shepherd life. The large number of sheep in the land can be understood when it is realized that Job had fourteen thousand sheep (Job 42:12), and that King Solomon at the Temple's dedication, sacrificed one hundred and twenty thousand sheep (I Kings 8:63). Fat-tailed sheep the variety mostly in use. The fat tail provides reserve strength for the sheep, much like the hump does on a camel. There is energy in the tail. When the sheep is butchered, this fatty tail is quite valuable. People will buy the tail, or part of it, and use it for frying. That this variety of sheep was in use in ancient times is seen by references in the Pentateuch to the fat tail of the sheep. "Also thou shalt take of the ram the fat and the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards" (Exodus 29:22). "And the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards" (Leviticus 3:9). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
http://www.baptistbiblebelievers.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=qDQAYzDf0WM%3d&tabid=232&mid=762

Caring for Sick and Wounded Sheep Care of sick or wounded sheep. The shepherd is always on the lookout for members of his flock that need personal attention. Sometimes a lamb suffers from the rays of the sun, or its body may have been badly scratched by some thornbush. The most common remedy he uses with these sheep is olive oil, a supply of which he carries in a ram's horn Perhaps David was thinking of such an experience when he wrote of the LORD, "Thou anointest my head with oil" (Psalm 23:5). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Crossing Streams CARING FOR THE SHEEP IN SPECIAL TIMES OF NEED The love of the shepherd for his sheep is best seen when times of special need call forth unusual acts of care for members of the flock. Crossing a stream of water. This process is most interesting. The shepherd leads the way into the water and across the stream. Those favored sheep who always keep hard by the shepherd, plunge boldly into the water, and are soon across. Others of the flock enter the stream with hesitation and alarm. Not being close to their guide, they may miss the fording place and be carried down the river a distance, but will probably be able to clamber ashore. The little lambs may be driven into the water by the dogs, and they are heard to bleat pitifully as they leap and plunge. Some manage to get across, but if one is swept away, then the shepherd leaps quickly into the stream and rescues it, carrying it in his bosom to the shore. When they all arrive over the stream, the lambs will gambol about with joy, and the sheep will gather around their shepherd as if to express their thankfulness to him. Our divine Shepherd has a word of encouragement for all His sheep who must pass through streams of affliction: "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee" (Isaiah 43:2). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Finding Stray Sheep Straying sheep restored. It is very important that sheep should not be allowed to stray away from the flock, because when by themselves they are utterly helpless. In such a condition, they become bewildered, for they have no sense at all of locality. And if they do stray away, they must be brought back. The Psalmist prayed the prayer: "I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant" (Psalm 119:176). The prophet Isaiah compared man's waywardness to that of sheep: "All we like sheep have gone astray" (Isaiah 53:6). David sang of his divine Shepherd: "He restoreth my soul" (Psalm 23:3, cf. John 10). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Food for the Flock Food planned for the flock. One of the principal duties at all seasons of the year is for the shepherd to plan food for his flock. In the springtime there is an abundance of green pasture, and usually the sheep are allowed to graze near to the village where the shepherd's home is located. After the grain is reaped, and the poor have had an opportunity to glean what is left for them, then the shepherd brings in his flock, and the sheep feed on certain fresh growths, or dried blades, or an occasional ear of grain that the reapers may have left, or was overlooked by the gleaners. When this source of food is exhausted then the pasture is sought in other places. The wilderness of Judea which is located along the western side of the Jordan Valley is carpeted in the spring with a certain amount of grass and this turns into standing hay as the hot weather comes, and this becomes food for the sheep during part of the summer.12 Scripture often refers to shepherds looking for pasture for their flocks. "And they went to the entrance of Gedor, even unto the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks" (I Chronicles 4:39). The Psalmist thanks GOD for the pasturage which the LORD as Shepherd provides for His people: "So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever" (Psalm 79:13). In the late autumn or winter months, there are times when the shepherd can find no pasturage that is available for his flock, and then he must become responsible for feeding the animals himself. If the flock is small there may be times when it is stabled within the peasant house, and the family lives on a sort of mezzanine floor above it. At such seasons of the year the shepherd must provide the food. This is what Isaiah meant when he said: "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd" (Isaiah 40:11). In some sections of Syria, flocks are taken at this season to places in the mountain country, where the shepherd busies himself with the bushy trees, cutting down branches that have green leaves or tender twigs, that the sheep and goats can eat. Micah was probably speaking of this custom of providing food for the sheep, when he said: "Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage" (Micah 7:14). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Gathering Scattered Sheep Gathering scattered sheep. The shepherd knows how to gather sheep that have been scattered. Especially is this necessary when the sheep must be led back to the fold, or when they are to be guided to another pasture. It is accomplished by his standing in the center of his scattered sheep, and giving them the call which serves as the notes of a bugle do to an army of men. Pebbles are sent by means of his slingshot in the direction of and beyond members of the flock that fail to heed the call, in order to get their attention and then bring them back. He does not commence to lead them away until he knows they are all there. Ezekiel predicts that the LORD as Shepherd of Israel will one day gather His people that have been scattered, and will bring them back to their own land of Israel. "As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel" (Ezekiel 34:12,13). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Goats and Sheep How goats differ from sheep. Most of the Palestinian and Syrian sheep are white, whereas most of the goats are black. The goats like the slopes of the rocky mountains, whereas the sheep prefer the plains or mountain valleys. The goats are especially fond of young leaves of trees, but the sheep would rather have grass. Goats will feed during all the day without the heat of summer affecting them; but when the sunshine is hot, the sheep will lie down under a tree, or in the shade of a rock, or in a rude shelter prepared by the shepherd for that purpose. Song of Solomon makes mention of this rest time for the sheep: "Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon" (Song of Solomon 1:7). The goats are bolder, more venturesome, more playful, more apt to clamber to dangerous places, more apt to break into the grainfields, more headstrong, more vigorous, and more difficult to control than are the sheep. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Knowing Each Sheep Intimate knowledge of the sheep. The shepherd is deeply interested in every single one of his flock. Some of them may be given pet names because of incidents connected with them. They are usually counted each evening as they enter the fold, but sometimes the shepherd dispenses with the counting, for he is able to feel the absence of anyone of his sheep. With one sheep gone, something is felt to be missing from the appearance of the entire flock. One shepherd in the Lebanon district was asked if he always counted his sheep each evening. He replied in the negative, and then was asked how then he knew if all his sheep were present. This was his reply: "Master, if you were to put a cloth over my eyes, and bring me any sheep and only let me put hands on its face, I could tell in a moment if it was mine or not." When H. R. P. Dickson visited the desert Arabs, he witnessed an event that revealed the amazing knowledge which some of them have of their sheep. One evening, shortly after dark, an Arab shepherd began to call out one by one the names of his fifty-one mother sheep, and was able to pick out each one's lamb, and restore it to its mother to suckle. To do this in the light would be a feat for many shepherds, but this was done in complete darkness, and in the midst of the noise coming from the ewes crying for their lambs, and the lambs crying for their mothers. But no Oriental shepherd ever had a more intimate knowledge of his sheep than JESUS our great Shepherd has of those who belong to His flock. He once said of Himself: "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep" (John 10:14). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Lambs Special care of baby lambs, and sheep with young ones. When lambing time comes, the shepherd must take great care of his flock. The task is made more difficult because it so often becomes necessary to move to a new location to find pasturage. The sheep that are soon to become mothers, as well as those with their young ones, must be kept close to the shepherd while in transit. Little helpless lambs that cannot keep up with the rest of the flock, are carried in the bosom of his undergarment, the girdle turning it into a pocket. Isaiah pictures this activity in his famous passage: "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young" (Isaiah 40:11). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Leading Sheep Guidance for the sheep. The Eastern shepherd never drives his sheep as does the Western shepherd. He always leads them, often going before them. "And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them" (John 10:4). This does not mean that the shepherd is always in front of his sheep. Although he may be usually in that position when traveling, he often walks by their side, and sometimes follows behind, especially if the flock is headed for the fold in the evening. From the rear he can gather any stragglers, and protect such from a sly attack from a wild animal. If the flock is a large one, the shepherd will be in front, and a heifer will follow behind.23 Isaiah speaks of the omnipresent LORD in a double relationship to His people: "For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the GOD of Israel will be your rereward [rear guard]" (Isaiah 52:12). The skill of the shepherd, and personal relationship to them is clearly seen when he guides his sheep along narrow paths. The Shepherd Psalm says: "He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness" (Psalm 23:3). The grain fields are seldom fenced or hedged in Bible lands, and sometimes only a narrow path runs between the pasture and these fields. The sheep are forbidden to eat in the fields where crops are growing. Thus in guiding the sheep along such a path, the shepherd must not allow any of the animals to get into the forbidden area, because if he does, he must pay damages to the owner of the grain. One Syrian shepherd has been known to guide a flock of one hundred fifty sheep without any help, along such a narrow path for quite a distance, without letting a single sheep go where he was not allowed to go. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Lost Sheep Seeking and finding lost sheep. Being responsible for anything that happens to one of his flock, the Eastern shepherd will spend hours if necessary in traversing the wilderness or mountain side, in search of a sheep that has strayed away and is lost. After weary hours of hunting for it, it will usually be found in some waterless hollow in the wilderness, or in some desolate mountain ravine. The exhausted creature will be borne home on the shoulders of the sturdy shepherd. And what happens then is best described by the Parable of JESUS: "And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost" (Luke 15:6). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Mixing Flocks HANDLING AND GATHERING THE SHEEP Several flocks sometimes allowed to mix. More than one flock may be kept in the same fold, and often flocks are mixed while being watered at a well. For the time being, no attempt is made to separate them. Jacob saw such a mixture of flocks: "Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the East. And he looked, and behold, a well in the field, and lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it" (Genesis 29:1-3). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Naming Sheep Giving names to the sheep. JESUS said concerning the shepherd of his day: "He calleth his own sheep by name" (John 10:3). Today, the eastern shepherd delights to give names to certain of his sheep, and if his flock is not too large, all of his sheep may be given names. He knows them by means of certain individual characteristics. He names one: "Pure White"; another, "Striped"; another, "Black"; another, "Brown"; and still another, "Gray-eared." All this indicates the tender affection which he has for every one of his flock. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Passover Lamb The offering of the Passover Lamb was the most important religious act of the year. This lamb had to be a male, which was selected after minute examination, in order that it be free from any blemish, and it was to be a first year lamb. It was killed on the fourteenth of the month Abib (after the Babylonian captivity Nisan, about the equivalent of our April), and the blood was sprinkled with hyssop. In Egypt the blood was sprinkled on the lintels and doorposts of the houses, but in Canaan it was sprinkled on the altar. The meat was roasted with fire, rather than boiled, and not a bone was broken, as was customary when it was boiled. It was eaten by the entire household in the spirit of haste, as if a journey was being started. Anything left of it was burned with fire, and not left over for the next day. The Feast of the Passover was the most important of all the Jewish annual feasts, and formed the background for the Christian ordinance of the LORD's Supper.(cf. Exodus 12; Leviticus 23:5 ff.; Matthew 26:17-29). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Permanent Sheepfolds More permanent sheepfolds. Such shelters are usually built by the shepherd in a valley, or else on the sunny side of a hill where there is protection from cold winds. This fold is a low building with arches in front of it, and a wall forming an outdoor enclosure, joining the building. When the weather is mild, the sheep and goats are allowed to be in the enclosure during the night, but if the weather is stormy, or the evenings are cold, then the flock is shut up in the interior part of the fold, with its protection of roof and walls. The walls of the enclosure are about three feet wide at the bottom, and become narrower at the top. They are from four to six feet high. Large stones are used in constructing the outsides of the wall, and they are also placed on the top, and then the center is filled with smaller pieces of stone, of which there is much in the land. Sharp, thorn bushes are put on the top of this wall to protect the sheep from wild animals or robbers. There is a gate guarded by a watchman. JESUS made reference to the familiar sheepfold of Israel when He spoke those memorable words of His: "He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter [watchman] openeth. (John 10:1-3). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
http://www.baptistbiblebelievers.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=qDQAYzDf0WM%3d&tabid=232&mid=762

Playing with Sheep Playing with the sheep. The shepherd is so constantly with his sheep that sometimes his life with them becomes monotonous. Therefore he will occasionally play with them. He does this by pretending to run away from his sheep, and they will soon overtake him, and completely surround him, gamboling with great delight. Sometimes GOD's people think He forsakes them when trouble comes their way. They say: "the LORD hath forsaken me" (Isaiah 49:14). But actually their divine Shepherd says to them: "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Protecting Sheep from Robbers Protection of sheep from robbers and wild animals. The sheep need to be guarded against robbers not only when they are in the open country, but also when they are in the fold. The bandits of Israel are not apt to pick locks, but some of them may manage to climb up over the wall, and get into the fold, where they cut the throats of as many of the animals as possible and then sling them over the wall to others of their band, and all of them attempt to escape without being caught.34 JESUS described just such operations: "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy" (John 10:10). The shepherd must be on guard constantly for such an emergency, and must be ready for quick action to protect his rights in the flock.
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Protecting Sheep from Wild Animals The wild animals of Israel today include wolves, panthers, hyenas, and jackals. The lion has not lived in the land since the days of the Crusaders. The last bear was killed over half a century ago. David as a shepherd lad experienced the coming of a lion and of a bear against his flock, and by the LORD's help, he was able to slay both of them (I Samuel 17:3437). Amos tells of a shepherd attempting to rescue one of the flock from the lion's mouth: "As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear" (Amos 3:12). One experienced Syrian shepherd is reported to have followed a hyena to his lair and compelled the animal to give up his prey. He won his victory over the wild beast by himself howling in characteristic fashion, striking on rocks with his heavy staff, and flinging deadly stones with his slingshot. The sheep was then carried in his arms back to the fold. The faithful shepherd must be willing to risk his life for the sake of the flock, and perhaps give his life for them. As our Good Shepherd JESUS not only risked his life for us, He actually gave Himself on our behalf. He said: "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep" (John 10:11). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Sacrificing Sheep The sheep was used in Bible times more than any other animal for sacrificial purposes. A young male lamb was used in most cases as a thanksgiving offering, as atonement for transgression, or as redemption of a more valuable animal. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Separating Sheep Ability to separate the sheep. When it becomes necessary to separate several flocks of sheep, one shepherd after another will stand up and call out: "Tahhoo! Tahhoo!" or a similar call of his own choosing. The sheep lift up their heads, and after a general scramble, begin following each one his own shepherd. They are thoroughly familiar with their own shepherd's tone of voice. Strangers have often used the same call, but their attempts to get the sheep to follow them always fail. The words of JESUS are indeed true to Eastern shepherd life when he said: "The sheep follow him, for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers" (John 10:4,5). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Separating Sheep and Goats Separating goats from sheep. At certain times it becomes necessary to separate the goats from the sheep, although they may be cared for by the same shepherd that cares for the sheep. They do not graze well together, and so it frequently becomes necessary to keep them apart from the sheep while they are grazing. Dr. John A. Broadus, when visiting Israel, reported seeing a shepherd leading his flock of white sheep and black goats all mingled together. When he turned into a valley, having led them across the Plain of Sharon, he turned around and faced his flock: "When a sheep came up, he tapped it with his long staff on the right side of the head, and it quickly moved off to his right; a goat he tapped on the other side, and it went to his left." This is the picture the Saviour had in mind when he spoke the solemn words: "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left" (Matthew 25:32-33). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Sheep Dogs The use of dogs. Some shepherds make use of dogs. When dogs are possessed, they are of value in handling the flock. When traveling, the shepherd usually walks ahead, and the dogs are allowed to bring up the rear. They bark furiously at any intruder among them, and therefore warn of possible danger to the flock. When the sheep are in the fold, then the dogs become the guardians against any possible attack by an enemy. Many a foe of the sheep has been frightened away by the defiant barking of these animals. The patriarch Job spoke of shepherd dogs: "They that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock" (Job 30:1). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Sheep in Easton's Bible Dictionary are of different varieties. Probably the flocks of Abraham and Isaac were of the wild species found still in the mountain regions of Persia and Kurdistan. After the Exodus, and as a result of intercourse with surrounding nations, other species were no doubt introduced into the herds of the people of Israel. They are frequently mentioned in Scripture. The care of a shepherd over his flock is referred to as illustrating God's care over his people (Ps. 23:1, 2; 74:1; 77:20; Isa. 40:11; 53:6; John 10:1-5, 7-16). "The sheep of Israel are longer in the head than ours, and have tails from 5 inches broad at the narrowest part to 15 inches at the widest, the weight being in proportion, and ranging generally from 10 to 14 lbs., but sometimes extending to 30 lbs. The tails are indeed huge masses of fat" (Geikie's Holy Land, etc.). The tail was no doubt the "rump" so frequently referred to in the Levitical sacrifices (Ex. 29:22; Lev. 3:9; 7:3; 9:19). Sheep-shearing was generally an occasion of great festivity (Gen. 31:19; 38:12, 13; 1 Sam. 25:4-8, 36; 2 Sam. 13:23-28).
http://www.bible-history.com/eastons/S/Sheep/

Sheep in Fausset's Bible Dictionary Genesis 4:2. Abounded in the pastures of Israel. Shepherds go before them and call them by name to follow (John 10:4; Psalm 77:20; Psalm 80:1). The ordinary sheep are the broad tailed sheep, and the Ovis aries, like our own except that the tail is longer and thicker, and the ears larger; called bedoween. Centuries B.C. Aristotle mentions Syrian sheep with tails a cubit wide. The fat tail is referred to in Leviticus 3:9; Leviticus 7:3. The Syrian cooks use the mass of fat instead of the rancid Arab butter. The sheep symbolizes meekness, patience, gentleness, and submission (Isaiah 53:7; Acts 8:32). (See LAMB.) Tsown means sheep"; ayil, the full-grown "ram," used for the male of other ruminants also; rachel, the adult "ewe"; kebes (masculine), kibsah (feminine), the half grown lamb; seh, "sheep" or paschal "lamb"; char, "young ram"; taleh, "sucking lamb"; 'atod (Genesis 31 "ram") means "he-goat"; imrin, "lambs for sacrifice." The sheep never existed in a wild state, but was created expressly for man, and so was selected from the first for sacrifice. The image is frequent in Scripture: Jehovah the Shepherd, His people the flock (Psalm 23:1; Isaiah 40:11; Jeremiah 23:1-2; Ezekiel 34). Sinners are the straying sheep whom the Good Shepherd came to save (Psalm 119:176; Isaiah 53:6; Jeremiah 50:6; Luke 15:4-6; John 10:8; John 10:11). False teachers are thieves and wolves in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7:15). None can pluck His sheep from His hand and the Father's (John 10:27-29).
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Sheep in Naves Topical Bible Offered in sacrifice By Abel Ge 4:4 By Noah Ge 8:20 By Abraham Ge 22:13 -See OFFERINGS -Required in the Mosaic offerings See OFFERINGS -The land of Bashan adapted to the raising of De 32:14 -Also Bozrah Mic 2:12 Kedar Eze 27:21 Nebaioth Isa 60:7 Sharon Isa 65:10 Jacob's management of Ge 30:32-40 -Milk of, used for food De 32:14 -Shearing of Ge 31:19; 38:12-17; Isa 53:7 -Feasting at the time of shearing 1Sa 25:11,36; 2Sa 13:23 -The first fleece of, belonged to the priests and the Levites De 18:4 -Tribute (taxes) paid in 2Ki 3:4; 1Ch 5:21; 2Ch 17:11 -FIGURATIVE 1Ch 21:17; Ps 74:1; Jer 13:20 Of backsliders Jer 50:6 Of lost sinners Mt 9:36; 10:6 Of the righteous Jer 50:17; Eze 34; Mt 26:31; Mr 14:27; Joh 10:1-16 Of the defenselessness of servants of God (Greek: diakonoi) Mt 10:16 Parable of the lost Mt 18:11-13; Lu 15:4-7
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Sheep in Smiths Bible Dictionary Sheep were an important part of the possessions of the ancient Hebrews and of eastern nations generally. The first mention of sheep occurs in Ge 4:2 They were used in the sacrificial offering,as, both the adult animal, Ex 20:24 and the lamb. See Ex 29:28; Le 9:3; 12:6 Sheep and lambs formed an important article of food. 1Sa 25:18 The wool was used as clothing. Le 13:47 "Rams skins dyed red" were used as a covering for the tabernacle. Ex 25:5 Sheep and lambs were sometimes paid as tribute. 2Ki 3:4 It is very striking to notice the immense numbers of sheep that were reared in Israel in biblical times. (Chardin says he saw a clan of Turcoman shepherds whose flock consisted of 3,000,000 sheep and goats, besides 400,000 Feasts of carriage, as horses, asses and camels.) Sheep-sheering is alluded to Ge 31:19 Sheepdogs were employed in biblical times. Job 30:1 Shepherds in Israel and the East generally go before their flocks, which they induce to follow by calling to them, comp. Joh 10:4; Ps 77:20; 80:1 though they also drive them. Ge 33:13 The following quotation from Hartley's "Researches in Greece and the Levant," p. 321, is strikingly illustrative of the allusions in Joh 10:1-16 "Having had my attention directed last night to the words in Joh 10:3 I asked my man if it was usual in Greece to give names to the sheep. He informed me that it was, and that the sheep obeyed the shepherd when he called them by their names. This morning I had an opportunity of verifying the truth of this remark. Passing by a flock of sheep I asked the shepherd the same question which I had put to the servant, and he gave me the same answer. I then had him 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 shepherd told me that many of his sheep were still wild, that they had not yet learned their names, but that by teaching them they would all learn them." The common sheer, of Syria and Israel are the broad-tailed. As the sheep is an emblem of meekness, patience and submission, it is expressly mentioned as typifying these qualities in the person of our blessed Lord. Isa 53:7; Ac 8:32 etc. The relation that exists between Christ, "the chief Shepherd," and his members is beautifully compared to that which in the East is so strikingly exhibited by the shepherds to their flocks [SHEPHERD]
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Sheep in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE shep: 1. Names: The usual Hebrew word is tso'n, which is often translated "flock," e.g. "Abel .... brought of the firstlings of his flock" (Gen 4:4); "butter of the herd, and milk of the flock" (Dt 32:14). The King James Version and the English Revised Version have "milk of sheep." Compare Arabic da'n. The Greek word is probaton. For other names, see notes under CATTLE; EWE; LAMB; RAM. 2. Zoology: The origin of domestic sheep is unknown. There are 11 wild species, the majority of which are found in Asia, and it is conceivable that they may have spread from the highlands of Central Asia to the other portions of their habitat. In North America is found the "bighorn," which is very closely related to a Kamschatkan species. One species, the urial or sha, is found in India. The Barbary sheep, Ovis tragelaphus, also known as the aoudad or arui, inhabits the Atlas Mountains of Northwest Africa. It is thought by Tristram to be zemer, English Versions of the Bible "chamois" of Dt 14:5, but there is no good evidence that this animal ranges eastward into Bible lands. Geographically nearest is the Armenian wild sheep, Ovis gmelini, of Asia Minor and Persia. The Cyprian wild sheep may be only a variety of the last, and the mouflon of Corsica and Sardinia is an allied species. It is not easy to draw the line between wild sheep and wild goats. Among the more obvious distinctions are the chin beard and strong odor of male goats. The pelage of all wild sheep consists of hair, not wool, and this indeed is true of some domestic sheep as the fat-rumped short-tailed sheep of Abyssinia and Central Asia. The young lambs of this breed have short curly wool which is the astrachan of commerce. Sheep are geologically recent, their bones and teeth not being found in earlier deposits than the pleiocene or pleistocene. They were, however, among the first of domesticated animals. 3. Sheep of Israel: The sheep of Syria and Israel are characterized by the possession of an enormous fat tail which weighs many pounds and is known in Arabic as 'alyat, or commonly, liyat. This is the 'alyah, "fat tail" (the King James Version "rump") (Ex 29:22; Lev 3:9; 7:3; 8:25; 9:19), which was burned in sacrifice. This is at the present day esteemed a great delicacy. Sheep are kept in large numbers by the Bedouin, but a large portion of the supply of mutton for the cities is from the sheep of Armenia and Kurdistan, of which great droves are brought down to the coast in easy stages. Among the Moslems every well-to-do family sacrifices a sheep at the feast of al-'adcha', the 10th day of the month dhu-l- chijjat, 40 days after the end of ramadan, the month of fasting. In Lebanon every peasant family during the summer fattens a young ram, which is literally crammed by one of the women of the household, who keeps the creature's jaw moving with one hand while with the other she stuffs its mouth with vine or mulberry leaves. Every afternoon she washes it at the village fountain. When slaughtered in the fall it is called ma`luf, "fed," and is very fat and the flesh very tender. Some of the meat and fat are eaten at once, but the greater part, fat and lean, is cut up fine, cooked together in a large vessel with pepper and salt, and stored in an earthen jar. This, the so-called qauramat, is used as needed through the winter. In the mountains the sheep are gathered at night into folds, which may be caves or enclosures...
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Sheep Meat Sheep for meat or sacrificial purposes, Sheep were often eaten when meat was desired. For the ordinary person, meat was not on the daily menu, but was only used on special occasions of rejoicing, as when a feast was prepared, a wedding supper, or when a guest of honor was being entertained. The animal was usually cooked as soon as it was killed, and then was often boiled, although sometimes it was roasted. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Sheep Scripture - 1 Chronicles 5:21 And they took away their cattle; of their camels fifty thousand, and of sheep two hundred and fifty thousand, and of asses two thousand, and of men an hundred thousand.
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Sheep Scripture - 1 Kings 8:63 And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD.
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Sheep Scripture - Deuteronomy 14:26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
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Sheep Scripture - Deuteronomy 15:19 All the firstling males that come of thy herd and of thy flock thou shalt sanctify unto the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work with the firstling of thy bullock, nor shear the firstling of thy sheep.
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Sheep Scripture - Deuteronomy 28:31 Thine ox [shall be] slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass [shall be] violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep [shall be] given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue [them].
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Sheep Scripture - Deuteronomy 7:13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
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Sheep Scripture - Genesis 29:10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.
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Sheep Scripture - John 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
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Sheep Scripture - Nehemiah 12:39 And from above the gate of Ephraim, and above the old gate, and above the fish gate, and the tower of Hananeel, and the tower of Meah, even unto the sheep gate: and they stood still in the prison gate.
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Sheep Scripture - Numbers 18:17 But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they [are] holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat [for] an offering made by fire, for a sweet savour unto the LORD.
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Sheep Shearing Time SHEEP-SHEARING It would seem from two Bible references that sheep-shearing was another time of special festivity in the ancient Hebrew home. It was at a sheep-shearing time that the affair between David and wealthy Nabal took place (I Samuel 25:4). Concerning Nabal's celebration Scripture says: "And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his home, like the feast of a king" (I Samuel 25:36). The other example is the sheep-shearing feast of Absalom, at which time the murder of Ammon was perpetrated (II Samuel 13:23ff). These two examples of this sort of a feast would not by themselves indicate that it was anything but a time of festivity alone. But without doubt, in many pious homes it was a time of thanksgiving to GOD for the wool provided from the flocks. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Sheep Shearing Time SHEEP-SHEARING It would seem from two Bible references that sheep-shearing was another time of special festivity in the ancient Hebrew home. It was at a sheep-shearing time that the affair between David and wealthy Nabal took place (I Samuel 25:4). Concerning Nabal's celebration Scripture says: "And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his home, like the feast of a king" (I Samuel 25:36). The other example is the sheep-shearing feast of Absalom, at which time the murder of Ammon was perpetrated (II Samuel 13:23ff). These two examples of this sort of a feast would not by themselves indicate that it was anything but a time of festivity alone. But without doubt, in many pious homes it was a time of thanksgiving to GOD for the wool provided from the flocks. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Sheepskin Sheepskins are sometimes used for making shoe leather, although goatskin leather is generally considered to be superior to that made from sheepskins. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Sheepskin and Leather Sheepskins. From ancient times to modern days it has often been customary for pastoral people to make for themselves coats out of the skins of the sheep with wool still adhering to the skins. The Epistle to the Hebrews tells of the persecuted heroes of faith, saying of some of them that they "wandered about in sheepskins" (Hebrews 11:37). The skin of sheep was at times tanned and then used as leather, but the skin of the goats was superior to that of sheep for this purpose. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Temporary Sheepfolds A simple improvised sheepfold. Such is sometimes made by the shepherd when he is a distance from his home, or especially when he may be in the territory of mountains. It is a temporary affair that can be taken down easily when it comes time to move on to another location. A fence is built of tangled thorn bushes or rude bowers. This is all the protection that is needed, as the shepherds often sleep with their flocks when the weather permits. Ezekiel mentions such a sheepfold when he predicts the future of Israel: "I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be" (Ezekiel 34:14). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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The Shepherd and His Sheep INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SHEPHERD AND SHEEP When we learn of the intimate relationship that exists between the shepherd and his sheep, the figure of the LORD as a Shepherd of His people takes on new meaning. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Watching Sheep at Night Watching sheep at night. In weather that permits, the shepherds often keep their flocks in the open country. One group of shepherds provided simple sleeping places for themselves by placing "a number of oblong circles of stones, inside of which rushes were collected for bedding, according to the Bedouin fashion in the desert. These simple beds were arranged in a circle, and sticks and roots were collected at the center for a fire." With this arrangement they were able to keep watch over their sheep by night. It was in such a way as this that the Bethlehem shepherds took turns watching and sleeping on the hills outside Bethlehem, when the angels visited them announcing the Saviour's birth. "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night" (Luke 2:8). When Jacob cared for Laban's sheep, he spent many a night in the out-of-doors, looking after the flock. "Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes" (Genesis 31:40). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Water for the Flock Water provided for the flock. In selecting pasturage for the flock, it is an absolute necessity that water be provided, and that it be easy of access. Often flocks are stationed near to a stream of running water. But the sheep are apt to be afraid of drinking water that moves quickly, or that is agitated. Therefore the shepherd looks for pools of water, or provides some quiet place where they may quench their thirst. How appropriate then are the words concerning the divine Shepherd: "He leadeth me beside the still waters" (Psalm 23:2). But when all such watering places are dried up in the heat of summer, as is often the case in Israel, then wells are used. Usually a large rock is placed over the mouth of the well and this must be removed, as Jacob did, before the sheep can be watered (Genesis 29:8-10). Noontide is usually the time for watering the sheep. When Jacob was at the well, he said, "Lo, it is yet high day . . . water ye the sheep" (Genesis 29:7) The matter of water supply plays an important part in locating the flock for pasturage. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Wool SHEEP PRODUCTS Sheep in Israel and vicinity have always been valuable because of the important products that are derived from them. Wool. Wool has been a valuable product in Bible lands. In ancient times most of the clothing which the Israelites wore was made of wool. The large outer garment or mantle was usually woolen. The shearing months in Israel are May and June. The sheep are washed before they are sheared. Solomon's Song speaks of "sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing" (Song of Solomon 4:2). The color of the wool varies somewhat according to the color of the animal shorn, but white wool is considered to be the most valuable. The prophet compares sins forgiven with the whiteness of wool (Isaiah 1:18). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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