And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. (Luke 2:8-17)
Shepherds. Shepherds? Why them?
watch … by night—or, night watches, taking their turn of watching. From about passover time in April until autumn, the flocks pastured constantly in the open fields, the shepherds lodging there all that time. (From this it seems plain that the period of the year usually assigned to our Lord’s birth is too late). Were these shepherds chosen to have the first sight of the blessed Babe without any respect of their own state of mind? That, at least, is not God’s way.
“No doubt, like Simeon (Lu 2:25), they were among the waiters for the Consolation of Israel” [OLSHAUSEN];
and, if the simplicity of their rustic minds, their quiet occupation, the stillness of the midnight hours, and the amplitude of the deep blue vault above them for the heavenly music which was to fill their ear, pointed them out as fit recipients for the first tidings of an Infant Saviour, the congenial meditations and conversations by which, we may suppose, they would beguile the tedious hours would perfect their preparation for the unexpected visit. [Source: Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible]
Let us go, &c.—lovely simplicity of devoutness and faith this! They are not taken up with the angels, the glory that invested them, and the lofty strains with which they filled the air. Nor do they say, Let us go and see if this be true—they have no misgivings. But “Let us go and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.” Does not this confirm the view given on Lu 2:8 of the spirit of these humble men? [Source: Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible]
Humble men, guiding and caring for the sheep of Israel. This is a well-known metaphor laced throughout the bible, starting with the first shepherd, Abel. (Genesis 4:4). The first human blood shed in the Bible was shepherd’s blood, performed by an angry, jealous one who rejected God.
Who were shepherds in the Bible? Abel, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, Rachel, Laban, Jacob’s twelve sons, Moses, David, Mesha– King of Moab (Jordan), Doeg, Amos, the shepherds who came to honor Jesus (source).
Source(s): Genesis 4:2
Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.
Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs from the flock,
Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents.
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.
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.
While he was still talking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess.
Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What is your occupation?” “Your servants are shepherds,” they replied to Pharaoh, “just as our fathers were.”
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.
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.
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.”
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd, the Last Shepherd, the Best Shepherd
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)
The shepherds in the field made “haste” to go. They did not hesitate to go and worship. Let us make haste to worship the Good Shepherd on this eve of His birth, He is deserving of all praise, glory and worship.
What Child Is This?