Who were shepherds in the Bible?

By Elizabeth Prata

Jesus is the Great Shepherd and the metaphor of shepherding His flock, with we as sheep (who have all gone astray) is used regularly. Who were actual shepherds in the Bible? I got this answer from Yahoo, of all places. The verses are attached though, so it's all good. PS, a common trivia question is "Who was the first shepherd in the Bible? Answer: Abel."

Shepherds: Abel, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, Rachel, Laban, Jacob's twelve sons including Joseph (Genesis 37:2), Moses, David, Mesha-- King of Moab (Jordan), Doeg, Amos, the shepherds who came to honor Jesus.

Genesis 4:2
Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.

Genesis 21:28
Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs from the flock,

Genesis 13:5
Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents.

Genesis 26: 12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him. 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 15 So all the wells that his father's servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.

Genesis 30:32
Let me go through all your flocks today and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb and every spotted or speckled goat. They will be my wages.

Genesis 29:9
While he was still talking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she was a shepherdess.

Genesis 47:3
Pharaoh asked the brothers, "What is your occupation?" "Your servants are shepherds," they replied to Pharaoh, "just as our fathers were."

Exodus 2:17
Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.

1 Samuel 21:7
Now one of Saul's servants was there that day, detained before the LORD; he was Doeg the Edomite, Saul's head shepherd.

2 Kings 3:4
Now Mesha king of Moab raised sheep, and he had to supply the king of Israel with a hundred thousand lambs and with the wool of a hundred thousand rams.

Amos 1:1
The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa—what he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel.

Luke 2:15
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

Luke 2:20
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


Joseph is noted as a keeper of flocks in Gen 37:2. In reading Luke 2:16 after the angels and the glory light disappeared, the shepherds who had been keeping their flocks by night "hastened" to go see the Babe. The Greek word is hurry, desire earnestly, and hasten. Unlike the many thousands in Israel who had become lazy or even apostate, these shepherds hurried immediately to see and adore the baby Jesus.

So many shepherds in the Bible. I'm struck in Luke 2:16 of the shepherds "hurrying" to see and adore the Babe. When the angels reported Jesus' birth the shepherds immediately went to Him. Do we hurry immediately to His word when we in turn receive a good report of the Lord’s work in the world today? When a soul is claimed for Him, when obvious sanctification happens? Let us turn immediately to the Word to gaze into the face of Jesus as the Shepherds did. Give Him praise, glory, and adoration frequently.