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My sheep wandereth through all the mountains, and upon every high hill; yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.
Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord;
As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was. no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock:
Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord.
Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock, neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
I will save my flock, and they shall be no more a prey, and I will judge between cattle and cattle.
And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.
And I the Lord will be their Gob, and my servant David a prince among them. I the Lord have spoken, and I will make with them a covenant of peace.
Thus shall they know, that I the Lorb their God am with them.
And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God *. .
* The intermediate verses of this chapter are omitted here, as they seem to relate solely to the final restoration of Israel.
ANNOTA. ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
Taken in a spiritual sense, this prediction agrees with our Lord's constant description of the Scribes and Pharisees; it may therefore be applied to them, though originally addressed to the teachers of Israel, who, in the days of Ezekiel, suffered the people, through their carelessness, to be tempted by the surrounding nations to idolatrous practices. The doctrine of traditions was as subversive of the true religion as worshipping idols; therefore those who were persuaded to adopt them, were equally led astray.
From comparing this section with the former one, concerning the good shepherd, we learn, that the Arm of the Lord was to be united with a prince of the house of David; which union certainly subsisted in the person of Jesus Christ; but let us now read what our Blessed Lord himself declared concerning the good shepherd.
THE PARABLE OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD.
And Jesus said, For judgment 1 am come into this world: that they which see not, might see; and that they which see, might be made blind.
And some of the Pharisees who were with him heard' these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should' have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. . .
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not
by the door into the sheep-fold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door, is the shepherd of the sheep.
To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice; and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. s.
And a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they un. derstood not what things they were whish he spake unto them.
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I tay unto you, I am the door of the sheep. f
All that ever came before me, are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not hear them. 'l am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd givetfa his life for the sheep.
But he that is zn hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. •
The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and. careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of miiie.
As the Father knowcth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. * And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must. bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
No man taketh it fronrme, but I lay it down of myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?
Others said, These are not the words of him. that hath a devil? Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
'The discourse between our Saviour and the man born blind, which we lately read *, is supposed to have passed in private: but it seems that a number of persons soon assembled about him, when he took occasion to speak of the judicial power with which he was invested, to be. exerted agreeably to the will of God, and declared the principal end of his coming to be, t.hat ignorant souls, who were willing to learn, might be instructed in Divine truths; and that such as were proudly conceited of their own wisdom, and wilfully opposed his doctrine, might involve themselves in still greater darkness.
The Pharisees, by their question, Are vie blind aha?
* See latter end of Section IxXxrit
meant to draw from him some censure upon the San. hedrim. Our Lord wisely defeated their design by replying, that if they had been unavoidably ignorant, they would have had no sin in this case; but that their uirwillixgnefs to be convinced was a great crime, and prevented their having a knowledge of the truth.
We must observe, that the Pharisees and Scribes pretended they were the true pastors of the church, and that Jesus was an impostor; and insisted, that the people were bound in duty to adUcre to them, and oppose him. To rectify this mistake, our Lord spake a parable *, the design of which was to shew how far the Pharisees, who assumed the name of. pastors, were from answering the character of good teachers; and to warn persons of real integrity and simplicity, of the danger of being blindly governed and guided by them. By calling himself the door, in the following part of his discourse, our Lord intimated, that as a shepherd must pass through the door in order to make a regular and unsuspected entrance into a sheepfold, so every true teacher in the church must pass, as it were, through him, or his authority, into his office, and teach such doctrine as he should appoint. Our Lord affirmed, that all who before him had pretended to be the Messiah were impostors, and pious persons had disregarded them; and that they might do so in future he repeated, that the only way to salvation was through him; and he promised that all who would submit to his care and guidance, should be fed and nourished with true doc. trine and substantial happiness; as the end of his coming was to make a plentiful provision for their everlasting felicity, far beyond what had ever been known before. Our Lord then changed the similitude, and represented himself as the good Shepherd: which was, in . . :i , ;. * Doddridge's Family Expositor.
Vol. V. & fact,