In Egypt herdsmen were probably of the lowest caste. Some of Joseph's brethren were made rulers over Pharaoh's cattle ( Genesis 47:6 Genesis 47:17 ). The Israelites were known in Egypt as "keepers of cattle;" and when they left it they took their flocks and herds with them ( Exodus 12:38 ). Both David and Saul came from "following the herd" to occupy the throne ( 1 Samuel 9 ; 11:5 ; Psalms 78:70 ). David's herd-masters were among his chief officers of state. The daughters also of wealthy chiefs were wont to tend the flocks of the family ( Genesis 29:9 ; Exodus 2:16 ). The "chief of the herdsmen" was in the time of the monarchy an officer of high rank ( 1 Samuel 21:7 ; Compare 1 Chronicles 27:29 ). The herdsmen lived in tents ( Isaiah 38:12 ; Jeremiah 6:3 ); and there were folds for the cattle ( Numbers 32:16 ), and watch-towers for the herdsmen, that he might therefrom observe any coming danger ( Micah 4:8 ; Nahum 3:8 ).

These dictionary topics are from
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

Bibliography Information

Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Herdsman". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .


hurdz'-man (boqer; the King James Version, the English Revised Version "herdman"):

A cowherd (Amos 7:14). The same word is used in Syria today. ro`eh, has its equivalent in the language of Syria and Palestine (Arabic ra'i), and is a general term for any kind of a herdsman (Genesis 13:7,8; 26:20; 1 Samuel 21:7). noqedh, occurs in one passage (Amos 1:1); literally it means one who spots or marks the sheep, hence, a herdsman. Spotting the wool with different dyes is still the method of distinguishing between the sheep of different flocks. The herdsman is seldom the owner of the sheep, but a hireling.


James A. Patch

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'HERDSMAN'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.