The Shepherd's Eye
Feed the flock of
God which is among you, taking the oversight
thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre [money],
but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being
ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd
shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth
1 Peter 5:1ff (Spoke 16, Cycle 3)
Thus saith the LORD my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter; Whose possessors slay them,
and hold themselves not guilty: and they that sell them say, Blessed be the LORD; for I am rich: and their
own shepherds pity them not.
Zechariah 11:4 (Spoke 16, Cycle 2)
theme of the Chief Shepherd found in 1 Peter 5:1 and 2:23 speaks of
Christ who commands His faithful shepherds to selflessly "Feed the Flock of God." The Book of Zechariah,
on the other hand, presents shepherds who willfully violate this command;
the wicked shepherds feed themselves by fleecing the flock which is so oppressed as
to be called the "flock of the slaughter." Both passages use the phrase ("feed the flock of") [Verify] which is found
nowhere else in the KJV, so we have a Spoke 16 KeyLink. This link is
amplified by additional common themes. For example, 1 Peter 5:1 specifically admonishes the shepherds
to care for the flock "willingly; not for filthy lucre," that is, not for money and self-gain,
whereas the shepherds in Zechariah blatantly abuse their office, selling the sheep and declaring
"Blessed be the LORD; for I am rich." God expressed the fate of the wicked
shepherds in terms of the literal meaning of the sixteenth letter:
Woe to the idol [worthless] shepherd that leaveth the flock!
the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye (ayin):
his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye (ayin) shall be utterly darkened.
Zechariah 11:17 (Spoke 16, Cycle 2)
A shepherd with no arm to guide nor eye to see is no shepherd at all, for the essence of his office is oversight and supervision. This is seen in God's design of the Hebrew word ro’eh (shepherd). The Letters carry these ideas into the word itself. It begins with the verb ra’ah, which means to feed and tend a flock. With a change of vowel points, we arrive at ro’eh as the person performing the task. Recalling the meaning of Resh as Head or Chief (Spoke 20, pg 337), we see that these Letters combine to form a word picture of a Shepherd as the Chief Eye Beholding, that is, the Overseer. This coheres exactly with the analysis by Dr. Seekins in his Hebrew Word Pictures, which he and I derived independently before encountering each other’s work (pg 115). Rabbi Ginsburgh explained the relation between the Sheep and the Shepherd in his chapter on Ayin in his Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet:
The relationship between "eye" - - in Hebrew and "sheep" -
or - in Aramaic,
can be understood as the eye of the sheep continuously looking towards its shepherd and
the eye of the shepherd always watching over his sheep.
Of course, Ginsburgh's comment simply expands on what God told him in the Ayin verse of Psalm 145:
- AV Ps 145:15 The eyes of all wait upon thee (literally: look unto thee); and thou givest them
their meat in due season.
This speaks of our Great Shepherd Jesus Christ, from whom all the Flock of God receives their divine food,
and echoes the thrice-repeated command, Feed my sheep, given to Peter in John 21.
The conceptual link between shepherd
and eye manifests with perfect clarity in the distribution of both of these words
in the 12 Minor Prophets.
Just as we saw that Zechariah contains the vast majority of verses referring to the eye in
its canonical division, so now we see exactly the same thing with references to the shepherd,
as shown in the graph. Of the fifteen occurrences of shepherd in the Minor Prophets, ten are found
in Zechariah on Spoke 16, including the most famous verse which the Lord Jesus applied to
Himself just before His crucifixion:
And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands?
Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow,
saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered:
and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land,
saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left
therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver
is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name,
and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
Zechariah 13:6ff (Spoke 16, Cycle 2)
God interwove three themes in this passage: 1) the "smiting of the shepherd", i.e. the crucifixion,
2) the scattering of the sheep, and 3) the trial of God's people by fire. All of these are linked to 1 Peter,
with the first two interwoven in a single passage:
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving
us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found
in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not;
but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his
own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness:
by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned
unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
1 Peter 2:21ff (Spoke 16, Cycle 3)
The theme of "scattered sheep" is common to all three Books on Spoke 16,
as discussed here.
The third theme forms a near KeyLink between Zechariah and 1 Peter, there being but one
other verse (Rev 3:18) in the whole Bible that contains the set (gold, tried, fire) [Verify]:
Next Article: Scattered Sheep