Ezekiel 34

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Read Ezekiel 34

The Lord Will Be Israel’s Shepherd

34 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.

“‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:10 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.

11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak,but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.

17 “‘As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? 19 Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet?

20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, 22 I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another. 23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 24 I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken.

25 “‘I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of savage beasts so that they may live in the wilderness and sleep in the forests in safety. 26 I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. 27 The trees will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them.28 They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid. 29 I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. 30 Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that they, the Israelites, are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord. 31 You are my sheep,the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

Go Deeper

This chapter begins with an indictment against the shepherds of Israel. Metaphorically, “shepherd” is referring to Israel’s spiritual and political leaders. The Lord was against these shepherds and was demanding His flock from them (v. 10). These leaders were selfish and sought to care for themselves rather than the flock that was entrusted to them. The Lord calls out these shepherds saying, “Shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?” (v. 2). They were neglecting their responsibility to the people of Israel. 

He continues saying, “You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals” (v. 4-5). As a result of Israel’s lack of leadership, people were confused, lost, and easy targets. This echoes what Jesus observed in Matthew 9:36. It says, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” 

In contrast to the unfaithful shepherds of Israel, we see the Lord declare that He is the good shepherd who will intervene to rescue His flock. He promises to search for His sheep, to gather them, to care for them, and to deliver them from where they had been scattered. God promised to step in and place one Shepherd from the line of David over the people. (v. 23). This prophecy was fulfilled through Jesus Christ, the son of David. Jesus states in John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” 

It is helpful to read this passage, in the context of where Israel was at. They were in exile in a foreign land and might have been asking the question: Is God who He says He is and is He still good? We might not be in exile today like the Israelites were, however, we might be asking the same question: Is God who He says He is and is He still good? This was a reminder to the Israelites in exile and to us today that our Shepherd is good, faithful, and worthy of following. He makes us lie down in green pastures and leads us beside still waters. He restores our soul and leads us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Psalm 23:2-3). He pursues us with His goodness and love every single day. We lack no good thing when we follow the good shepherd.


  1. What are the characteristics of a good Shepherd? What were the shepherds of Israel doing instead?
  2. What does it look like to be led by The Good Shepherd?
  3. In your life, who are the people that God has entrusted you to take care of either physically or spiritually? What does it look like for you to care for those people well?

Keep Digging

Check out this article from GotQuestions.org about God’s fulfillment of the one shepherd over Israel (Ezekiel 34:23)!

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2 thoughts on “Ezekiel 34”

  1. We see Ezekiel contrast bad shepherds vs. the Good Shepherd. The bad shepherds were destructive, motivated by selfishness, ruled harshly and allowed the vulnerable sheep to be scattered. V10 issues God’s indictment against these shepherds, “I now consider these shepherds my enemies, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to my flock.” In contrast, God sent the Messiah, the perfect shepherd, to lay down his life for the sheep and establish both justice and peace on earth. The one who would gather, not scatter or abandon the sheep, but would leave the 99 to find the one lost sheep. We are blessed beyond measure to be cared for by the Good Shepherd, and just as he cares for us, we are to do likewise and care for others to bring the lost, hurt and broken into his fold. There’s no greater calling on our lives than this.

  2. Discipleship as a follower of Jesus, we should be discipling those that we have shared the gospel with or that we invite to church. We have a role as a shepherd also. If you are telling about how Jesus is our shepherd then we need to be teaching how He is. Invite those over and get out your Bible. JP’s Sunday sermon, you took notes? Get those out go over what was taught, look at the scripture that was read, dig a little deeper, ask questions. Jesus is the ultimate Shepherd, the Good Shepherd but He expects us to help bring others into His fold and not just leave them but help along side the “church” to disciple them.

    God thank You for our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Thank You God that You love me so much You did not leave me but chased after me, to be in Your fold. God I thank You for HC and the team of leadership You have placed there. I pray for them to continue to be authentic, and for their minds as they study and learn more about You and Your Word to help Your flock. God grant them wisdom, knowledge and understanding to Your glory. Continue to help them be humble to Your Glory as they seek to feed Your sheep. God thank You for working in me to be all You have called me to be and to be bold in speaking about Jesus in Jesus name amen.

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