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April 26    Scripture

Bible Animals: Sheep
Sheep in the ancient World.

Sheep in the Bible. Domestic Sheep. Of great importance in Biblical times. Herds of sheep formed the greater part of the wealth of the Patriarchs. The chief animal of sacrifice, and valued for both milk and wool. Sheepskins were made into rough coats. The horns were used as vessels for carrying liquids, particularly oil. Wild Sheep. The word translated as chamois is the wild sheep or mouflon. - Animal Life in the Scriptures

Ancient Sheep. THE common Sheep of Syria and Israel were the broad-tail (Ovis laticaudatus). In a nomadic state of society, every man, from the sheik down to the slave, is more or less a shepherd. The pro­genitors of the Jews, in the patriarchal age, were nomads, and their history is rich in scenes of pastoral life. The occupation of tending the flocks was undertaken, not only by the sons of wealthy chiefs, but even by their daughters. The Egyptian captivity did much to implant a love of settled abode, and consequently we find the tribes which still retained a taste for shepherd life selecting their own quarters apart from their brethren, in the trans-Jordanic district. Henceforward, in Israel proper, the Shepherd held a subordinate position. The office of the Eastern shepherd was attended with much hardship, and even danger. He was exposed to the extremes of heat and cold ; and his food frequently consisted of the preca­rious supplies afforded by nature, which barely sustained life. He was obliged to protect his flock against the attacks of wild beasts, such as the bear, the lion, the wolf, the panther, as well as from the predatory bands which infested the country. His dress consisted of a sheepskin mantle, with the fleece on, the wool being turned next to his body in cold weather, a scrip or wallet to hold his food, a sling, which is still the favorite weapon of the Bedouin shepherd, a staff, which served him as a weapon of defense, and a crook for the man­agement of his flock. If the flock was at a distance from home, he was given a light tent, which could be readily transported. In cer­tain localities, moreover, towers were erected for the double purpose of spying an enemy at a distance, and protecting the flock. The shepherd's duties were as follows: In the morning, he led forth his flock from the fold, which he did by going before them and calling to them, as is still usual in the East; arrived at the pasturage, he watched the flock with the assistance of dogs, and should any sheep stray, he had to search for it till he found it; he supplied them with water; at evening, he brought them back to the fold, and reckoned them to see that none were missing. - Animals, Birds, Insects, And Reptiles Of The Bible


Ewe in Wikipedia Ewe. — In Hebrew, six names at least, with their feminines, express the different stages of development of the sheep. Its domestication goes back to the night of time, so that the early traditions enshrined in the Bible speak of the first men as shepherds. Whatever may be thought of this point, it is out of question that from the dawn of historical times down to our own, flocks have constituted the staple of the riches of the land. The ewe of Israel is generally the ovis laticaudata, the habits of which, resembling those of all other species of sheep, are too well known to be here dwelt upon. Let it suffice to notice that scores of allusions are made in the Holy Books to these habits as well as to the different details of the pastoral life.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheep


Flock in Wikipedia Flock. — The flocks of Israel include generally both sheep and goats: "The sheep eat only the fine herbage, whereas the goats browse on what the sheep refuse. They pasture and travel together in parallel columns, but seldom intermingle more closely, and at night they always classify themselves. The goats are for the most part black, the sheep white, dappled or piebald, forming a very marked contrast..." (Tristram). The shepherd usually leads the flock, calling the sheep by their names from time to time; in his footsteps follows an old he-goat, whose stately bearing affords to the natives matter for several comparisons; the Arabs, indeed to this day, call a man of stately mien a "he-goat". The shepherd at sunset waters his flock, folds them ordinarily in some of the many caves found on every hillside, and with trained dogs guards them at night.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herd


Lamb in Wikipedia Lamb. — The Paschal Lamb was both a commemoration of the deliverance from the bondage in Egypt, and a prophetic figure of the Son of God sacrificed to free His people from their slavery to sin and death. See EWE. (sup.).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_sheep


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).
http://www.bible-history.com/faussets/S/Sheep/


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
http://www.bible-history.com/naves/S/SHEEP/


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]
http://www.bible-history.com/smiths/S/Sheep/


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...
http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/S/SHEEP/


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.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/1+Chronicles/5/


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.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Genesis/29/


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.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/John/21/


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