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Commentary » Ezekiel 34:1-Ezekiel 34:16 »

Irresponsible Shepherds

In 1874, Sankey and Moody held revivals in Scotland. Once on a train Sankey bought a newspaper to find news of America, but was disappointed. He threw it down, later picked it up and in a corner he saw a poem. He liked it and read it to Moody, who was absorbed in reading le … More


This passage makes  reference to the shepherds of Israel who were her leaders, namely, the prophets, priests, and kings (vv. 1-10). These leaders are accused of taking care of themselves rather than taking care of the people. He outlined their sins (vv. 1-6) and pronounced judgement on them (vv. 7-10). Among the false prophets, were such men as Hananiah who prophesied deliverance from Babylon (Jer 28:1-4), and among the kings, such as Rehoboam who overtaxed the people (II Chr 10:12-14). The sheep are described as wandering through the mountains and upon every high hill. This may have reference to the idol worship at these places. Because of this idolatry, Israel was scattered among the nations.

Beginning with verse 11, the rest of the chapter is eschatological (vv. 11-16). The Lord Himself will regather Israel from all the nations among which they are scattered. They will be brought to the land that the Lord promised to Abraham. Terms such as good pasture and cause to lie down indicate the abundant blessings in the land. The terms of verse 16 indicate a spiritual ministry.


My responsibilities as a shepherd (leader) have changed over the years. The question I need to ask myself is; am I caring for the sheep (people) I am responsible for today as I should be?

Ezekiel 34:1-16 (English Standard Version)

The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them. "Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: As I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them. "For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice."

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