Luke 15:4

New Testament

1 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming to hear him. 2 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 So Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Which one of you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go look for the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 Then when he has found it, he places it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 Returning home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, telling them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent.

Exodus Rabbah 2:2


Thus with God; though He seems to have removed His Presence from the Temple, yet ‘His eyes behold, His eyelids try, the children of men’. And whom does He try? The righteous, as it says: The Lord trieth the righteous. By what does He try him? By tending flocks. He tried David through sheep and found him to be a good shepherd, as it is said: He chose David also His servant and took him from the sheepfolds. Why ‘from the sheepfolds’, when the word is the same as and the rain... was restrained? (Gen. vill, 2). Because he used to stop the bigger sheep from going out before the smaller ones, and bring smaller ones out first, so that they should graze upon the tender grass, and afterwards he allowed the old sheep to feed from the ordinary grass, and lastly, hé brought forth the young, lusty sheep to eat the tougher grass. Whereupon God said : ‘He who knows how to look after sheep, bestowing upon each the care it deserves, shall come and tend my people,’ as it says, From following the ewes that give suck He brought him, to be shepherd over Jacob His people. Also Moses was tested by God through sheep. Our Rabbis said that when Moses our teacher, peace be upon him, was tending the flock of Jethro in the wilderness, a little kid escaped from him. He ran after it until it reached a shady place. When it reached the shady place, there appeared to view a pool of water and the kid stopped to drink. When Moses approached it, he said: ‘I did not know that you ran away because of thirst; you must be weary.’ So he placed the kid on his shoulder and walked away. ‘Thereupon God said: ‘Because thou hast mercy in leading the flock of a mortal, thou wilt assuredly tend my flock Israel.’ Hence NOW MOSES KEEPING THE FLOCK.

 Notes and References

"... The Bible uses the metaphor of shepherd to indicate a leader (Numbers 27:17). This metaphor is also used by Ezekiel in Chapter 34. When leaders did not help the people but enriched themselves at their expense, the prophet Ezekiel exclaimed (34:2-4): Woe unto the shepherds of Israel that have tended themselves [and not tended their flock]! ... According to the Midrash (Exodus Rabbah 2:2-3), Moses was selected as a leader because of his gentleness and concern for the sheep when he worked as a shepherd for Jethro. Moses was also careful when grazing the sheep making sure they never strayed into private property. This Midrash (as well as the passage in Ezekiel) is describing the servant leader, i.e., one who treats his people with great compassion and tenderness ..."

Friedman, Hershey H. Servant Leader, Spiritual Leader: The Case for Convergence (pp. 87-95) Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics 10(2), 2013

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