Christmas shepherds had a special position

Kaatje

My soul waits for the Lord, and in His Word I hope
Christmas shepherds had a special position
Rev. F. Maaijen Today 11:30 am

In Hadderech, the leaflet of the small group of Messianic Jews in our country, one sentence struck me: the shepherds of the Christmas Gospel were no ordinary shepherds. The sentence came from "The life and times of Jesus the Messiah" by Alfred Edersheim.

Based on data from Jewish sources, Edersheim states that the shepherds in the Christmas Gospel were not ordinary shepherds, but were employed by the priests in the temple. Those shepherds were specially trained and instructed. To the south of Jerusalem there was a special area in the fields of Ephratha in which the shepherds were feeding their sheep.

For a long time (since around 500) it has been reported in books that the shepherds belonged to a lower social class. In Jewish sources around the year 0, however, you can already find what Edersheim wrote. That is why it seems to me that the Jewish sources who say that the shepherds of Christmas were special shepherds are right.

Place

It was common for the shepherds to build a tower. There was also such a tower in the fields of Ephratha, along the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. The Migdal-Eder, as the sheep flock tower is called in Hebrew.

In Genesis 35 Jacob and his family are on their way to Bethlehem. Along the way, the birth of his heavily pregnant wife Rachel starts. Joseph and Mary later walked the same way.

After Rachel's funeral, Jacob pitched his tent in Migdal-Eder. This name also appears in Micah 4: 8, where it says salvation will come to the Sheep Tower. On the basis of Micah 4: 8, the Jewish commentary "Targum Pseudo-Jonathan" at Genesis 35:21 states that the coming of the Messiah at Migdal-Eder, the flock of sheep, will be announced, revealed. That insight into that commentary has proved to be true, for there the angel said: "Behold, I proclaim great joy to you."

Inn

The meaning of the original Greek word for inn (kataluma) is very broad. It is situated in the atmosphere of a guesthouse, resting place, guest room, camp site, convalescent home, upper room, hotel room, inn. Lukas consciously speaks of "the" inn. Involuntarily we read as if there was no place in "an" inn for Joseph and Mary.

That "cataluma" is the upper room in Luke 22:12 in which the Lord Jesus and his disciples held the Easter meal. We keep that in mind. Joseph and Mary were thus en route from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. Given the short distance, few or no other hostels will have been along that road. But along that road stood the Migdal-Eder, the sheep herd tower.

Along the way, Maria's birth starts. That sheep herd tower stands there. There was an upper room in the tower. Could Mary perhaps give birth in that upper room, that cataluma? No. There with Mary, there was no room for those priestly shepherds, among that holy company of men. Well below, on the ground floor in the tower. There was the sheep stable.

The ewes threw their lambs in that stable. Just like shepherds still have their sheep lambed in a stable. That ground floor was therefore the birthplace of the sheep herd. Then a very special Lamb was born.

Manger

The born baby Jesus was laid in the manger. But here too, we involuntarily read that the angel said that the shepherds would find the baby somewhere in a manger. But Lukas uses the article to indicate that it was a specific manger, the manger. There was such a stone manger in the maternity stable. It may have served as a food bowl, but also somewhere else for it.

The priestly shepherds bred the sheep for the sacrificial service. All those sacrificial animals had to be suitable as sacrificial lamb, without illness or lack. There was one special type: the first-born. The first lamb tossed by an ewe was intended as the firstborn for the Lord, consecrated to Him. If that firstborn lamb was born, it was rubbed clean by the shepherds. Then it was wrapped in cloths, so that it would remain clean and not become maimed or dirty! Then the shepherds put that lamb wrapped in cloths in the manger. Then they brought it to the temple in Jerusalem.

Maria did not give birth to child, a child, no, she gave birth to her firstborn Son. And she wound Him in cloths. Just like the herders did in the maternity stable. The shepherds knew immediately where they had to be. At the manger of course, in which they also laid the lambs wrapped in cloths themselves. They ran to the maternity stable. Meanwhile, a bright star was shining above the born Messiah.

City

Which city will they have gone to, to Bethlehem in the south or Jerusalem in the north? Would it not have been logical for these priestly shepherds to go to Jerusalem !? To tell the priests. Everywhere in Jerusalem they have blasted it. Their message buzzed about the temple square.

Forty days later, Mary walks into Jerusalem, onto the temple square. With her Child wrapped in cloths in her arms, she approached like a priest with a first-born lamb in his arms.


Translated from Dutch: https://www.rd.nl/opinie/herders-van-kerst-hadden-bijzondere-positie-1.1619852
 

ReadyOrNot

Well-Known Member
Christmas shepherds had a special position
Rev. F. Maaijen Today 11:30 am

In Hadderech, the leaflet of the small group of Messianic Jews in our country, one sentence struck me: the shepherds of the Christmas Gospel were no ordinary shepherds. The sentence came from "The life and times of Jesus the Messiah" by Alfred Edersheim.

Based on data from Jewish sources, Edersheim states that the shepherds in the Christmas Gospel were not ordinary shepherds, but were employed by the priests in the temple. Those shepherds were specially trained and instructed. To the south of Jerusalem there was a special area in the fields of Ephratha in which the shepherds were feeding their sheep.

For a long time (since around 500) it has been reported in books that the shepherds belonged to a lower social class. In Jewish sources around the year 0, however, you can already find what Edersheim wrote. That is why it seems to me that the Jewish sources who say that the shepherds of Christmas were special shepherds are right.

Place

It was common for the shepherds to build a tower. There was also such a tower in the fields of Ephratha, along the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. The Migdal-Eder, as the sheep flock tower is called in Hebrew.

In Genesis 35 Jacob and his family are on their way to Bethlehem. Along the way, the birth of his heavily pregnant wife Rachel starts. Joseph and Mary later walked the same way.

After Rachel's funeral, Jacob pitched his tent in Migdal-Eder. This name also appears in Micah 4: 8, where it says salvation will come to the Sheep Tower. On the basis of Micah 4: 8, the Jewish commentary "Targum Pseudo-Jonathan" at Genesis 35:21 states that the coming of the Messiah at Migdal-Eder, the flock of sheep, will be announced, revealed. That insight into that commentary has proved to be true, for there the angel said: "Behold, I proclaim great joy to you."

Inn

The meaning of the original Greek word for inn (kataluma) is very broad. It is situated in the atmosphere of a guesthouse, resting place, guest room, camp site, convalescent home, upper room, hotel room, inn. Lukas consciously speaks of "the" inn. Involuntarily we read as if there was no place in "an" inn for Joseph and Mary.

That "cataluma" is the upper room in Luke 22:12 in which the Lord Jesus and his disciples held the Easter meal. We keep that in mind. Joseph and Mary were thus en route from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. Given the short distance, few or no other hostels will have been along that road. But along that road stood the Migdal-Eder, the sheep herd tower.

Along the way, Maria's birth starts. That sheep herd tower stands there. There was an upper room in the tower. Could Mary perhaps give birth in that upper room, that cataluma? No. There with Mary, there was no room for those priestly shepherds, among that holy company of men. Well below, on the ground floor in the tower. There was the sheep stable.

The ewes threw their lambs in that stable. Just like shepherds still have their sheep lambed in a stable. That ground floor was therefore the birthplace of the sheep herd. Then a very special Lamb was born.

Manger

The born baby Jesus was laid in the manger. But here too, we involuntarily read that the angel said that the shepherds would find the baby somewhere in a manger. But Lukas uses the article to indicate that it was a specific manger, the manger. There was such a stone manger in the maternity stable. It may have served as a food bowl, but also somewhere else for it.

The priestly shepherds bred the sheep for the sacrificial service. All those sacrificial animals had to be suitable as sacrificial lamb, without illness or lack. There was one special type: the first-born. The first lamb tossed by an ewe was intended as the firstborn for the Lord, consecrated to Him. If that firstborn lamb was born, it was rubbed clean by the shepherds. Then it was wrapped in cloths, so that it would remain clean and not become maimed or dirty! Then the shepherds put that lamb wrapped in cloths in the manger. Then they brought it to the temple in Jerusalem.

Maria did not give birth to child, a child, no, she gave birth to her firstborn Son. And she wound Him in cloths. Just like the herders did in the maternity stable. The shepherds knew immediately where they had to be. At the manger of course, in which they also laid the lambs wrapped in cloths themselves. They ran to the maternity stable. Meanwhile, a bright star was shining above the born Messiah.

City

Which city will they have gone to, to Bethlehem in the south or Jerusalem in the north? Would it not have been logical for these priestly shepherds to go to Jerusalem !? To tell the priests. Everywhere in Jerusalem they have blasted it. Their message buzzed about the temple square.

Forty days later, Mary walks into Jerusalem, onto the temple square. With her Child wrapped in cloths in her arms, she approached like a priest with a first-born lamb in his arms.


Translated from Dutch: https://www.rd.nl/opinie/herders-van-kerst-hadden-bijzondere-positie-1.1619852
Thank you for detailing this fascinating account of the details of Jesus’ birth. I had read a similar account in a book on Jewish feasts that I enjoyed.
The other thing about the ‘swaddling cloths’: The special shepherd/priests usually used discarded old priest garments for swaddling of the 1st born lambs to prevent injury/blemish. Since Elizabeth’s husband, Zacharias was a priest, it’s very possible that Mary used borrowed old priest garments of Zacharias’s for Jesus first clothing/swaddling at birth!
 

LisaJoe1986

Well-Known Member
Christmas shepherds had a special position
Rev. F. Maaijen Today 11:30 am

In Hadderech, the leaflet of the small group of Messianic Jews in our country, one sentence struck me: the shepherds of the Christmas Gospel were no ordinary shepherds. The sentence came from "The life and times of Jesus the Messiah" by Alfred Edersheim.

Based on data from Jewish sources, Edersheim states that the shepherds in the Christmas Gospel were not ordinary shepherds, but were employed by the priests in the temple. Those shepherds were specially trained and instructed. To the south of Jerusalem there was a special area in the fields of Ephratha in which the shepherds were feeding their sheep.

For a long time (since around 500) it has been reported in books that the shepherds belonged to a lower social class. In Jewish sources around the year 0, however, you can already find what Edersheim wrote. That is why it seems to me that the Jewish sources who say that the shepherds of Christmas were special shepherds are right.

Place

It was common for the shepherds to build a tower. There was also such a tower in the fields of Ephratha, along the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. The Migdal-Eder, as the sheep flock tower is called in Hebrew.

In Genesis 35 Jacob and his family are on their way to Bethlehem. Along the way, the birth of his heavily pregnant wife Rachel starts. Joseph and Mary later walked the same way.

After Rachel's funeral, Jacob pitched his tent in Migdal-Eder. This name also appears in Micah 4: 8, where it says salvation will come to the Sheep Tower. On the basis of Micah 4: 8, the Jewish commentary "Targum Pseudo-Jonathan" at Genesis 35:21 states that the coming of the Messiah at Migdal-Eder, the flock of sheep, will be announced, revealed. That insight into that commentary has proved to be true, for there the angel said: "Behold, I proclaim great joy to you."

Inn

The meaning of the original Greek word for inn (kataluma) is very broad. It is situated in the atmosphere of a guesthouse, resting place, guest room, camp site, convalescent home, upper room, hotel room, inn. Lukas consciously speaks of "the" inn. Involuntarily we read as if there was no place in "an" inn for Joseph and Mary.

That "cataluma" is the upper room in Luke 22:12 in which the Lord Jesus and his disciples held the Easter meal. We keep that in mind. Joseph and Mary were thus en route from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. Given the short distance, few or no other hostels will have been along that road. But along that road stood the Migdal-Eder, the sheep herd tower.

Along the way, Maria's birth starts. That sheep herd tower stands there. There was an upper room in the tower. Could Mary perhaps give birth in that upper room, that cataluma? No. There with Mary, there was no room for those priestly shepherds, among that holy company of men. Well below, on the ground floor in the tower. There was the sheep stable.

The ewes threw their lambs in that stable. Just like shepherds still have their sheep lambed in a stable. That ground floor was therefore the birthplace of the sheep herd. Then a very special Lamb was born.

Manger

The born baby Jesus was laid in the manger. But here too, we involuntarily read that the angel said that the shepherds would find the baby somewhere in a manger. But Lukas uses the article to indicate that it was a specific manger, the manger. There was such a stone manger in the maternity stable. It may have served as a food bowl, but also somewhere else for it.

The priestly shepherds bred the sheep for the sacrificial service. All those sacrificial animals had to be suitable as sacrificial lamb, without illness or lack. There was one special type: the first-born. The first lamb tossed by an ewe was intended as the firstborn for the Lord, consecrated to Him. If that firstborn lamb was born, it was rubbed clean by the shepherds. Then it was wrapped in cloths, so that it would remain clean and not become maimed or dirty! Then the shepherds put that lamb wrapped in cloths in the manger. Then they brought it to the temple in Jerusalem.

Maria did not give birth to child, a child, no, she gave birth to her firstborn Son. And she wound Him in cloths. Just like the herders did in the maternity stable. The shepherds knew immediately where they had to be. At the manger of course, in which they also laid the lambs wrapped in cloths themselves. They ran to the maternity stable. Meanwhile, a bright star was shining above the born Messiah.

City

Which city will they have gone to, to Bethlehem in the south or Jerusalem in the north? Would it not have been logical for these priestly shepherds to go to Jerusalem !? To tell the priests. Everywhere in Jerusalem they have blasted it. Their message buzzed about the temple square.

Forty days later, Mary walks into Jerusalem, onto the temple square. With her Child wrapped in cloths in her arms, she approached like a priest with a first-born lamb in his arms.


Translated from Dutch: https://www.rd.nl/opinie/herders-van-kerst-hadden-bijzondere-positie-1.1619852
I have read this before and actually post this every year on Facebook, as Christmas approaches. It is absolutely amazing. Here is the article I post:

https://int.icej.org/news/commentary/tower-flock
 
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