I am the good shepherd
A shepherd of his Father's appointing, calling, and sending, to whom the care of all his sheep, or chosen ones, was committed; who was set up as a shepherd over them by him, and was entrusted with them; and who being called, undertook to feed them; and being promised, was sent unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel; and under the character of a shepherd, died for them, and rose again, and is accountable to his Father for everyone of them; the shepherd, the great and chief shepherd, the famous one, so often spoken and prophesied of, ( Genesis 49:24 ) ( Isaiah 40:11 ) ( Ezekiel 34:23 ) . And discharging his office aright, he is the good shepherd; as appears in his providing good pasture, and a good fold for his sheep; in protecting them from their enemies; in healing all their diseases; in restoring their souls when strayed from him; in watching over them in the night seasons, lest any hurt them; in searching for them, when they have been driven, or scattered in the dark and cloudy day; in caring for them, so that he lose none of them; and in nothing more than in what follows,
the good shepherd giveth his life for the
not only exposes it to danger, as David did his, for the sake of his father's flock, but gives it away freely and voluntarily, for the sake of the sheep; in their room and stead, as a ransom for them, that they may be delivered from death, and might have eternal life: the Ethiopic version renders it, "the good shepherd gives his life for the redemption of his sheep"; so Nonnus paraphrases it, the "ransom price of his own sheep": this belongs to Christ's priestly office, and with the Jews priests were sometimes shepherds hence we read F17 of (Mynhk Myewr) , "shepherds that were priests". Philo the Jew speaks F18 of God as a shepherd and king; and of his setting his word, his firstborn Son, over the holy flock, to take care of it: and a good shepherd is thus described by the F19 Jews;
``as (bwj hewr) , "a good shepherd", delivers the flock from the wolf, and from the lions, (see ( John 10:12 ) ) so he that leads Israel, if he is good, delivers them from the idolatrous nations, and from judgment below and above, and leads them to the life of the world to come, or eternal life; (see ( John 10:10 ) ).''Which description agrees with Christ, the good shepherd; and so the Lord is said to be (bwj hewr) , "the good shepherd", and merciful, and there is none like him F20.
F17 Misn. Becorot, c. 5. sect. 4.
F18 De Agricultura, p. 195. & de nom. mutat. p. 1062.
F19 Zohar in Exod. fol. 9. 3.
F20 Aben Ezra in Psal. xxiii. 3. & Kimchi in Psal. xxiii. 2.