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The Shepherd Motif in Ezekiel 34 and Its Theological Import



The Shepherd Motif in Ezekiel 34 and Its Theological Import

There is no doubt that the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel has received a lot of attention from biblical scholars, the 34th chapter of it not excluded. One wonders then why it is being given a special attention in this study. The reason is that most of the earlier studies on the chapter have emphasised the exegetical aspect of it, without paying enough attention to the theological import such that those who read the commentaries tend to think that it has got to do with the Israelites alone. For instance, many rulers in the world do not know that they are answerable to God, besides their parties. But a more balanced study of the chapter would reveal that it is relevant for all, both rich and poor, rulers and the ruled. The following theological truths found in the chapter should not be glided over: a. YHWH is Lord over the whole created order. b. Rulers and kings are YHWH’s viceroys and so must be careful. c. YHWH has active interest in the universe (not deus absconditus). d. YHWH hates injustice and highhandedness of all sorts. e. There is no true peace but from YHWH. By way of introduction, the study takes a brief look at the person of Ezekiel and his prophecy in general, establishing the place of chapter 34 in it all. It then moves on to the textual criticism and structural analysis of the chapter. An examination of the concept of shepherd in the OT, Ancient Near East and in the NT follows. The detailed exegesis of the individual verses of the chapter is then taken up, ending with the discussion of the theological import of the shepherd motif in the chapter.

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