Spiritual Meaning of

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 Shepherd, Flock

That a shepherd of the flock is one who exercises the good of charity, must be obvious to every one, for this is a familiar figure in the Word of both Old and New Testaments. He who leads and teaches is called a shepherd, and those who are led and taught are called the flock. He who does not lead to the good of charity and teach it, is not a true shepherd; and he who is not led to good, and does not learn what is good, is not of the flock. It is scarcely necessary to confirm this signification of shepherd and flock by quotations from the Word; but the following passages may be cited. In Isaiah:--

The Lord shall give the rain of thy seed, wherewith thou sowest the ground, and bread of the increase of the ground; in that day shall He feed thy cattle in a broad meadow (Isaiah 30:23),

where bread of the increase of the ground, denotes charity. Again:--

The Lord Jehovih shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs into His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young (Isaiah 40:11).

In David:--

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; Thou that sittest on the cherubim, shine forth (Ps. 80:1).

In Jeremiah:--

I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman; the shepherds and their flocks shall come unto her, they shall pitch tents near her round about, they shall feed every one his own space (Jeremiah 6:2, 3).

In Ezekiel:--

Thus saith the Lord Jehovih, I will multiply them as a flock of man, as a hallowed flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her appointed times; so shall the waste cities be filled with the flock of man (Ezekiel 36:37, 38).

In Isaiah:--

All the flocks of Arabia shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee (Isaiah 60:7).

They who lead the flock to the good of charity are they who gather the flock; but they who do not lead them to the good of charity scatter the flock; for all gathering together and union are of charity, and all dispersion and disunion are from want of charity.

from AC 343

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info