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The Good Shepherd of Israel
In this chapter Israel is described as God’s flock. Its former kings were evil shepherds who sought their own selfish ends and were careless what became of the sheep. The flock had become the prey of wild beasts (the heathen nations). God would judge the evil shepherds and deliver the sheep from them. He would Himself be the Shepherd of His people, gathering the scattered and lost, caring for the sick and wounded, feeding the flock in security (Ezekiel 34:1-16). The flock, too, had been divided against itself. The fat and strong cattle (the upper classes) had tyrannised over the lean and weak (the common people). God would judge the overbearing cattle also. He would unite His flock under David as their shepherd (an ideal king of David’s line), who would feed them in a peaceful and fertile land, untroubled by beasts of prey (Ezekiel 34:17-31). This chapter is the basis of our Lord’s parables of the Lost Sheep (Matthew 18:12-13; Luke 15:3-6) and the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-16).
3. Fat] rather, ’milk.’ Them that are fed] RV ’the fatlings.’ Flock] RV ’sheep’: so in Ezekiel 34:6, Ezekiel 34:8, Ezekiel 34:10, Ezekiel 34:15, Ezekiel 34:19, Ezekiel 34:31.
5 There is] RV ’there was.’
12. In the day.. scattered] better, ’in the day when all his sheep are scattered.’
13. People] RV ’peoples.’
16. With judgment] RV ’in judgment.’
17. Between cattle and cattle, etc.] rather, ’between sheep and sheep, even the rams and the he-goats.’ The rams and he-goats are the second class of sheep, the weaker members of the flock being the first class.
18. Deep] RV ’clear.’
23. My servant David] David, the shepherd king, is introduced as a type of the ideal ruler of the future kingdom of God: see Ezekiel 37:24; Jeremiah 30:9; Hosea 3:5.
24. Prince] instead of king, is Ezekiel’s usual designation of the ruler of the future: see Ezekiel 45, 46.
25. A covenant of peace] see Ezekiel 37:26. Wilderness] means not ’desert,’ but ’pasture-land’: see Psalms 65:12.
26. Read with LXX ’I will set them round about my hill, and I will send you the rain (in its season), a rain of blessing.’ There is a hint here of the place which the Temple is to have in the life of the new Israel: see Ezekiel 40.
27. Those that served themselves of them] the evil shepherds.
28. Land] RV ’earth.’ The wild beasts denote the heathen.
29. Plant of renown] RV ’plantation for renown.’ The reference is not to the Messiah, who is already represented in the allegory by David, but to the fertility of the land. Other readings are, ’a plantation of peace,’ or ’a fat plantation.’
30. The result of the restoration will be that Israel will recognise not only the character of their God, but the fact that they are His people.
31. Omit are men, and read, ’and ye are my flock,’ etc.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 34". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany