The Good Shepherd

The parable of the lost sheep is one of the most famous parables in the Gospels. Have you ever heard the Moses-version of the parable?

A shepherd tending his flock (Photo: Cropped from image by Kamil Rejczyk, on Flickr. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))

Shemot

Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Shemot (שמות | Names)
  • Torah: Exodus 1:1-6:1
  • Haftarah: Isaiah 27:6-28:13, 29:22-23
  • Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Exodus 1:1 | Introduction
    • Exodus 1:8 | The Israelites Are Oppressed
    • Exodus 2:1 | Birth and Youth of Moses
    • Exodus 2:11 | Moses Flees to Midian
    • Exodus 3:1 | Moses at the Burning Bush
    • Exodus 3:13 | The Divine Name Revealed
    • Exodus 4:1 | Moses' Miraculous Power
    • Exodus 4:18 | Moses Returns to Egypt
    • Exodus 5:1 | Bricks without Straw
    • Exodus 6:1 | Israel's Deliverance Assured
  • Prophets
    • Isaiah 26:1 | Judah's Song of Victory
    • Isaiah 27:1 | Israel's Redemption
    • Isaiah 28:1 | Judgment on Corrupt Rulers, Priests, and Prophets

Portion Summary

Shemot (שמות) is both the title for the second book from the scroll of the Torah and the title of the first Torah portion therein. Shemot means "names." The English-speaking world calls this book Exodus. The Hebrew title for the book comes from the opening phrase of the book: "Now these are the names (shemot) of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob" (Exodus 1:1).

The English name Exodus comes from the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. The Greek title for the book is Exodus Aigyptou, which translates as "Departure from Egypt." The name Exodus is an abbreviated form of that title. Exodus means "departure." The book of Exodus tells the story of the children of Israel enslaved in Egypt and their miraculous redemption through the hand of Moses, the story of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, the construction of the golden calf and the construction of the Tabernacle.

As we study the first week's reading from the book of Exodus, we find the children of Israel in slavery. It seems at first that the God of their forefathers has forgotten them. But God has not forgotten His promises. He remembers His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and brings a Redeemer to their children's children, for the sake of His name, with love.


Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. (Exodus 3:1)

After fleeing Egypt, Moses spent forty years shepherding sheep. The Scriptures frequently compare Israel to a flock. She is the flock of the LORD. Her leaders are her shepherds, appointed by her ultimate Shepherd, the LORD Himself: “You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron” (Psalm 77:20). “Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock” (Psalm 80:1).

Israel’s greatest leaders herded sheep. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob followed the flocks. David shepherded over his father’s flocks. Moses proved himself worthy to shepherd Israel by faithfully taking care of his father-in-law’s flocks:

Moses our teacher, peace be upon him, was tending the flock of Jethro in the wilderness when a little kid escaped from him. He ran after it until it reached a shady place … and the kid stopped to drink. When Moses approached it, he said, “I did not know you ran away because of thirst, you must be weary.” So he placed the kid on his shoulder and walked away. Thereupon God said: “Because you have mercy in leading the flock of a mortal, you will surely tend my flock, Israel.” (Shemot Rabbah 2:2)

The Scriptures also refer to the Messiah as a shepherd over the flock of Israel: “My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd” (Ezekiel 37:24). Yeshua saw Himself, like Moses, as the Good Shepherd over the flock of Israel. He undertook a mission seeking the lost sheep of Israel: the sinners and backslidden among the Jewish people of His day. The parables of John 10 further illustrate the messianic role of the shepherd over Israel. The disciple Peter said, “For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25).

Join the Conversation:

FFOZ Friends are individuals, families, or congregations who resonate with the mission and vision of First Fruits of Zion and contribute financially towards reaching our ministry objectives.

Become a Friend!


More from Shemot

Torah Portions Library

Unlock all the portion library articles: sign in,
or join our Core community »


Share this Teaching

Starting in September 2018, we will launch a whole new way to do Torah Club. Get past shallow teaching, understand your Bible, and know Jesus better. Torah Club is where disciples gather together and learn to master the Bible from a historical Jewish perspective and apply its timeless truths to their lives.

Learn More


Get the Email Newsletter

The Weekly eDrash

Get inspirational teachings on the Torah Portions delivered to your inbox free every week. Insightful commentary from Genesis to Deuteronomy!

EMAIL NEWSLETTER SIGN UP


Related Commentary

Torah Portions Library

Unlock all the portion library articles: sign in, or join our Core community »


© 2018 First Fruits of Zion, Inc., All Rights Reserved

FOLLOW US ON

First Fruits of Zion

© 2018, All Rights Reserved

Copyright Privacy Contact Help Donate