Ezekiel 34: The
Lord will be Israel's shepherd
Comment: This chapter is just one prophecy in which the
Lord first criticizes the nation's leaders for failing to look
after their people [v.1-6] so He will deal with them [v.7-10].
Moreover He will step in to care for His people [v.11-16] but
He also challenges the people to care for each other [v.17-19],
saying He will be stepping in to act on their behalf [v.20-27]
so they will know His blessing [v.27,28] and realise He is there
for them [v.29-31].
6 The leaders
have failed to care for their people
word of the Lord came to me:
of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel ;
prophesy and say to them: “This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves!
Should not shepherds take care of the flock?
the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice
animals, but you do not take care of the flock.
not strengthened the weak or healed those who are ill or bound
up the injured. You have [iii] not
brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have [iv]
ruled them harshly and brutally.
they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they
were scattered they became food for all the wild animals.
sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill.
They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched
or looked for them.
leaders of the nation were frequently referred to as the shepherds
of the nation. Now they come under censure from the Lord for only
being self-concerned and failing to look after their people. The
result has been a scattered nation.]
Denouncing their failures the Lord says He will step in and act
you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:
surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock
lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food
for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search
for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock,
you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:
is what the Sovereign Lord says: [i]
I am against the shepherds and will
hold them accountable for my flock. [ii] I
will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds
can no longer feed themselves. [iii] I
will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer
be food for them.
the emphasis again and again that this is God addressing these
leaders, denouncing them with a threefold declaration of His intended
action on behalf of His people.]
The Lord adds twelve things He will do on behalf of His people
this is what the Sovereign Lord says: [iv]
I myself will search for my sheep
and look after them.
As a shepherd looks after his scattered
flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. [vi]
I will rescue them from all the places
where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.
I will bring them out from the nations
and gather them from the countries, and [viii] I
will bring them into their own land. [ix] I
will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and
in all the settlements in the land.
I will tend them in a good pasture,
and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land.
There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they
will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.
I myself will tend my sheep and make
them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord.
will search for the lost and bring back the strays. [xiii]
I will bind up the injured and strengthen
the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. [xiv]
I will shepherd the flock with justice.
is a declaration of a God who is concerned to act on behalf of
His people who the leaders have failed to care for.]
But He also addresses the flock pointing out their failures/responsibilities
for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will
judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats.
it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also
trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough
for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with
my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have
muddied with your feet?
Lord turns away from the leaders to the people and challenges
them to have an outlook of caring for one another.]
He then gives eight things He will do in His caring provision
this is what the Sovereign Lord says to them: see, [i]
I myself will judge between the fat
sheep and the lean sheep.
you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep
with your horns until you have driven them away,
will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. [iii]
I will judge between one sheep and
I will place over them one shepherd,
my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and
be their shepherd.
I the Lord will be their God, and
my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken.
‘“I will make a covenant of peace
with them and rid the land of savage beasts so that they may live
in the wilderness and sleep in the forests in safety.
will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing.
[viii] I will send down showers
in season; there will be showers of blessing.
trees will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops;
the people will be secure in their land.
Lord's call is for all His people to have a caring attitude towards
those who are weaker and warns that He will be stepping in to
care for and bless His people.]
They will know He is for them when they find themselves made secure
will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke
and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them.
will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals
devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them
outcome of His activity will be that His people will know freedom
from harm, oppression and slavery, and feel secure in that.]
When they receive God's provision they will know He is with them
and for them
will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they
will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn
of the nations.
they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that
they, the Israelites, are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord.
are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares
the Sovereign Lord.”'
they will realise His presence and His blessing.]
to Chapter 35