1 The Lord spoke concerning Babylon and the land of Babylonia through the prophet Jeremiah. 2 “Announce the news among the nations! Proclaim it! Signal for people to pay attention. Declare the news! Do not hide it! Say:‘Babylon will be captured. Bel will be put to shame. Marduk will be dismayed. Babylon’s idols will be put to shame; her disgusting images will be dismayed. 3 For a nation from the north will attack Babylon; it will lay her land waste. People and animals will flee out of it. No one will inhabit it.’ 4 “When that time comes,” says the Lord, “the people of Israel and Judah will return to the land together. They will come back with tears of repentance as they seek the Lord their God. 5 They will ask the way to Zion; they will turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the Lord in a lasting covenant that will never be forgotten. 6 “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have allowed them to go astray. They have wandered around in the mountains. They have roamed from one mountain and hill to another. They have forgotten their resting place. 7 All who encountered them devoured them. Their enemies who did this said, ‘We are not liable for punishment! For those people have sinned against the Lord, their true pasture. They have sinned against the Lord in whom their ancestors trusted.’
35 Then Jesus went throughout all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were bewildered and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest-ready fields.”
Notes and References
"... The imagery recalls the oracle of Jeremiah, in which he charges on behalf of the Lord that the (false) shepherds of Judah - rulers who have become corrupt - have led the people astray so that they are 'lost sheep ... upon the mountains'; indeed, 'Israel' is a 'sheep that has wandered away' in Jeremiah 50:6,17 (LXX17:6, 17; compare also Jeremiah 23:1-4; Ezekiel 34:4-6). The verb ('Will he leave?') is in the future tense, fitting for a general question posed to the disciples. It expects a positive answer, whether the action is typical or not of a shepherd. While Matthew has 'on the mountains;' Luke has 'in the wilderness.' There is little difference, since the topography of the wilderness in question is very hilly, even mountainous. It is likely that whatever expression was used in his source, Matthew recalls the language of Jeremiah 50:6 ..."
Hultgren, Arland J. The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary (p. 82) William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000