Ezekiel is the prophet of the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians.
Once Jerusalem has fallen, his work is nearly complete.
But the relationship between God and his people has not lapsed, and his final task is to explain the new conditions of that relationship.
The first topic is the question of leadership (ch34).
The Lord addresses “the shepherds of Israel”.
He is against them.
They are supposed to have been “feeding the sheep”, but in fact they have been feeding themselves.
As shepherds, they are responsible for the well-being of the sheep, and they have carried out none of the necessary tasks.
They have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, and bound up the lame.
They have not gone out looking for sheep that have gone astray.
This is the reason why the sheep have got scattered (literally) over the face of the earth. They have become a prey for the “wild beasts” of the
In consequence, the Lord will take two important steps. He will, firstly, remove them from their office. “I will require my sheep at their hand”
He will, secondly, take over the job himself.
“I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out” (v11).
In the first instance, this is about bringing them back in a literal sense from the places where they have been exiled.
Once they are back, though, he will continue the task and feed
He will be the one who finds them good pasture and laces to lie down in safety..
He will be the one who binds up the cripple, strengthens the weak, and goes out to look for further strays.
He will feed them in justice, and justice involves close monitoring of (“watching over” or “destroying”, depending on translation) the fat and
Those who mistreat God’s people are addressed in two slightly different metaphors.
They are treated as goats, in contrast with the community of sheep (vv17-19). As goats, they spoil the ground where the sheep need to find pasture.
They are also treated as fat sheep, in contrast with the lean sheep (vv20-22). As fat sheep they seize for themselves the ground where the sheep need
to find pasture, which is one reason why the sheep get scattered abroad.
One group spoils the good things which the people need, the other group monopolises the good things. In either case, the people lose the good things
which they need, and so the Lord will “judge between” both sets of disputants.
Having judged between them, he will set up over them “one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them”.
This needs to be taken in conjunction with the earlier statement that he would be his own shepherd and feed them himself.
The implication is that the two statements amount to the same thing. There is a sense in which “my servant David” is an aspect of the Lord God who
identified himself as the one shepherd in the first passage.
Finally, he describes what it will mean to be living under this one shepherd (vv25-31).
“I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the
He “will make them a blessing”, a phrase which is explained by what follows.
That is, he will send down showers of rain, so that “the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase”.
They shall also be secure in the land, protected from human enemies, “from the hand of those who enslaved them”. They shall no longer be a prey to
the nations or to the beasts of the land.
“And they shall know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord God.
And you are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God”.
edit on 8-6-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)