Manners & Customs : Shepherds


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]

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]

Shepherds Hunting Predators Hunting to protect the sheep. Hunting has been undertaken through the years in Israel of necessity as a means of protecting the flocks of sheep and goats. In Bible times the chief enemies of the sheep included the lion, the bear, the leopard, the wolf, and the hyena. The shepherd's activities along these lines have already been dealt with. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]