All the nations (panta ta ethn). Not just Gentiles, but Jews also. Christians and non-Christians. This program for the general judgment has been challenged by some scholars who regard it as a composition by the evangelist to exalt Christ. But why should not Christ say this if he is the Son of Man and the Son of God and realized it? A "reduced" Christ has trouble with all the Gospels, not merely with the Fourth Gospel, and no less with Q and Mark than with Matthew and Luke. This is a majestic picture with which to close the series of parables about readiness for the second coming. Here is the program when he does come. "I am aware that doubt is thrown on this passage by some critics. But the doubt is most wanton. Where is the second brain that could have invented anything so original and so sublime as vv. Psalms 35-40 42-45?" (Sanday, Life of Christ in Recent Research, p. 128). As the shepherd separates (wsper o poimhn aporizei). A common figure in Palestine. The sheep are usually white and the goats black. There are kids (eripwn, eripia) which have grazed together. The goats devastate a field of all herbage. "Indeed they have extirpated many species of trees which once covered the hills" (Tristram, Natural History of the Bible, pp. 89f.). The shepherd stands at the gate and taps the sheep to go to the right and the goats to the left.