Scripture says, "I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding" (Jeremiah 3:15).
Most of Israel's pastoral imagery is grounded in two traditions: Moses as God's under-shepherd and David as shepherd-king. These traditions, explains author Timothy S. Laniak, provided prototypes for leaders that followed, and formed the background for the ministry of Jesus, the good shepherd.
The pastoral role was central to the ongoing life of local churches in the Christian movement, and today's pastors are still called to be shepherds after God's own heart, to lead his people, living on the margins of settled society, to their eternal home.
In this excellent study, Laniak draws on a wide range of Old and New Testament texts to develop the biblical theology of "shepherd" imagery, and concludes with some principles and implications for contemporary pastoral ministry.
A wonderful resource for pastors, teachers and seminary students, as well as readers interested in the study of biblical imagery.
1. Metaphors for the Moment
2. Shepherds in the Ancient World
3. Shepherd Rulers in the Ancient World
II. Biblical Prototypes
4. YHWH, Moses and the "Flock" of God in the Wilderness
5. YHWH, David and the Royal Traditions
III. YHWH, the Messiah and Promises of a Second Exodus
6. Isaiah: the Davidic Messiah and a Way in the Wilderness
7. Jeremiah: Righteous Shepherds
8. Ezekiel: the Faithful Shepherd
9. Zechariah: the Militant and Suffering Shepherd
IV. The Shepherd Messiah, His Followers and the Second Exodus
10. Mark: the Shepherd King and the Second Exodus
11. Matthew: the Compassionate Davidic Shepherd
12. Luke: the Seeking and Saving Shepherd
13. John: the Self-Sacrificing Shepherd and Passover Lamb
V. Following and Serving the Shepherd-Lamb
14. I Peter: On Being Aliens and Shepherds
15. Revelation: the Slain Lamb and Ruling Shepherd
VI. Concluding Observations and Reflections
Appendix A: Mesopotamian Deities with Shepherd Titles
Appendix B: Mesopotamian Kings with Shepherd Titles and Epithets
Index of Modern Authors
Index of Scripture References
Index of Ancient Sources