sheep

sheep

A ruminant mammal related to the goat. Sheep are mentioned in the Bible more than five hundred times, and a large variety of terms are employed to describe the different breeds, ages, and sex types. Sheep provided most necessities of life: milk (Deut 32:14; Isa 7:21; Isa 7:22), meat (1Sam 14:32), hides (Exod 25:5; Heb 11:37), and wool (Lev 13:47-48; Job 31:20). Even their horns were used, as containers for oil (1Sam 16:1) or as musical instruments (Josh 6:4). The Bible provides several references to the skill of the shepherd, who knows each of his animals by name, whose voice is recognized by his sheep (John 10:3-4), and who takes care of them in illness (Ezek 34:15-16). The constant search for greener pastures is a regular task (1Chr 4:39-40), as is the task of finding adequate shelter for the night (Luke 2:8; Num 32:24). The image of a shepherd proved an apt metaphor for God’s care of Israel (Ps 23). Likewise, Jesus compared Israel to sheep lost (Matt 10:6; Isa 53:6) and without a shepherd (Matt 9:36). Sheep also play a role in several parables of Jesus (Matt 12:11; Matt 18:12; Matt 25:33), and the Gospel of John pictures Jesus as a protecting shepherd, willing to give his life for his sheep (John 10:7-9); cf. Ezek 37:24; Ps 23:1; Heb 13:20).

Deut 32:14

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Isa 7:21

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Isa 7:22

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1Sam 14:32

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Exod 25:5

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Heb 11:37

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Lev 13:47-48

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Job 31:20

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1Sam 16:1

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Josh 6:4

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John 10:3-4

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Ezek 34:15-16

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1Chr 4:39-40

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Luke 2:8

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Num 32:24

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Ps 23

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Matt 10:6

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Isa 53:6

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Matt 9:36

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Matt 12:11

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Matt 18:12

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Matt 25:33

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John 10:7-9

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Ezek 37:24

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Ps 23:1

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Heb 13:20

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