The Hebrew Shepherd

Let Biblical Hebrew guide you

  • The Good Shepherd

    In the original Hebrew of the Bible a shepherd is ro’eh-tzon רועה-צאן, which is comprised of two words: ro’eh רועה “herder” and tzon צאן “sheep.” The first word ro’eh comes from the root RAH רעה which throughout the Bible is connected companionship and affection. Ever heard of the Golden Rule, the biblical commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself”? In the original Hebrew the word for “your neighbor”, re’acha רעך, comes from the same root. 

    A Deep Sense of Love

    The Hebrew Bible’s unique term ro’eh tzon – lover of the flock – teaches us that a shepherd was not just a responsible overseer, but a caring father figure, tending to his flock out of a deep sense of love. The prophet Isaiah tells us that the shepherd “gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart” (Isaiah 40:11). The bond between a shepherd and his animals has all the qualities of a true family.

    Hebrew reveals the true message

    It now becomes clear why so many great leaders were shepherds; they care deeply for those in their charge, a flock of sheep or a nation. The Bible compares God to a shepherd watching faithfully over his beloved people. Jesus also spoke of himself as the “good shepherd” who is willing to “lay down his life for his sheep.” It is through the Hebrew that we see the true importance of the shepherd. Enroll in our live online Biblical Hebrew course and discover the depth of the Bible. 

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