Shepherding has been God’s leadership training class – often thankless, smelly, cold, and mostly unseen work…

David was taken from the sheepfolds. Like Moses (Ex. 3:1), he learned how to shepherd with literal sheep. (For the image of God’s people as sheep, see notes on Ps. 23:1; 74:1–3.) to shepherd. The king is ideally a shepherd of his people (cf. 2 Sam. 5:2), caring for them, protecting them, and leading them in faithfulness to the covenant. David at his best did his work with upright heart and skillful hand, though he had his own moral failures; many kings in his line were much less upright and skillful. The term “shepherd” came to be used of leaders in Israel (priests, nobles, and judges), and the prophet Ezekiel spoke out about the greedy shepherds in his day (Ezekiel 34). He looked forward to the time after the exile when God would raise up “his servant David” (i.e., the Messiah) who would be the “shepherd” of his people (Ezek. 34:23–24). When Jesus called himself the “good shepherd” (John 10:11, 14), he claimed to be the long-awaited heir of David, who would guide his people perfectly.

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