Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Apologetics (PhD)
Shepherd, Prophets, Old Testament, Motif, Intertextual, Themes, God as Shepherd, Leaders, Kings as Shepherds
Practical Theology | Religion
Huff, Deanna L., "The Prophets’ Use of the Shepherd Motif and Its Contribution to Their Presentation of the Character of God" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4509.
The shepherd motif provides one of the most significant portraits of God in the Old and New Testaments. Various research on the historical metaphor within these studies frequently focuses on the relationship between rulers and leaders in the ancient Near East. The shepherd motif provides a tangible picture of the characteristics of deities and kings in their world. Therefore, it is a natural step for the prophets of the Old Testament to utilize a commonly used metaphor. In modern research, numerous studies in Ezekiel 34 have explored different facets of the shepherd motif. Several studies are related to leadership roles. The shepherd is one of the most beloved metaphors, and Psalm 23 is one of the most used funeral passages. In addition, much research relates to Jesus and the Good Shepherd in John 10. However, most essays and books discuss leadership and how humanity should act or lead. But do these passages express something about the character of God? Are these passages in the prophets contributing to a theology of God reflecting his nature? Yes, in the Old Testament, the prophets painted God with familiar imagery and explained his role and character to his people. In addition, the shepherd imagery demonstrates the purpose and plan of Yahweh through human agents. Lastly, the prophets express a theology of God utilizing the shepherd motif that reflects his mercy, judgment, compassion, and faithfulness, which displays the character of God.