Ezekiel – Chapter 34

The L-rd is Our Shepherd

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d spoke to Ezekiel after the destruction of the Temple and told him to speak to the people about their leaders, the various kings of Judah. G-d says woe to the kings who spoil themselves, rather than taking care of their people! They did not care for the needy of their nation or bring back stray members of their flock; all they did was oppress the people with work and burdens. Because they didn’t have a shepherd, the people strayed and became prey for predatory nations. The members of the flock wandered off and nobody looked for them. Therefore, G-d tells the kings that since His flocks have become prey and their rulers didn’t care for them, He will fire them from being shepherds of the nation. They will no longer be able to indulge themselves with the people’s wealth.

G-d continues that He will personally go and gather the stray “sheep” of His flock. He will bring them back from all the places they wandered, as on a dark and cloudy day. He will extract them from the nations of their exile and return them to the land of Israel. They will “graze” on green pastures, by good streams. G-d will personally care for his flocks, healing the weakened members and destroying those who gorge themselves at the expense of others.

G-d will shepherd his flocks with justice, judging between the sheep, rams and goats (representing the stong and the weak, or the princes and the common man). It’s no small thing for His flock to be able to enjoy good grass and clean water, and G-d will set things straight when one member of His flock pushes another around or gores him with his horns.

G-d will appoint a shepherd over His people from the house of David. This will be Moshiach, the Messiah; the people will accept G-d’s kingdom, with Moshiach as ruler. Moshiach will forge a covenant of peace and the people will dwell securely. The people will enjoy rains of blessing and abundant produce, as well as relief from those who would oppress them. The Jews will no longer need fear man nor beast. The name of Israel will spread around the world and they will no longer be disgraced. They will feel G-d’s presence and be His people.

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