Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Coming of Israel’s Divine Shepherd King Pt. 1b

Sam Shamoun

We proceed with our discussion.


One Shepherd

On a related issue, the Old Testament also speaks of a time when Israel will have one shepherd over them who will protect and lead them:  

“And My servant David shall be king over them, and one shepherd shall be for them all, and they shall walk in My ordinances and observe My statutes and perform them.” Ezekiel 37:24-25


Messianic Son of David

Certain texts identify that shepherd as the Messiah, David’s Son:

“And I shall put up over them one shepherd and he will shepherd them, namely My servant David; he will shepherd them, and he will be for them as a shepherd. And I, the Lord, shall be to them for a God, and My servant David [will be] a prince in their midst; I, the Lord, have spoken. And I shall make with them a covenant of peace, and I shall abolish the wild beasts from the land, and they will dwell securely in the desert and grow old in the forests.” Ezekiel 34:23-25

My servant David: A king [who will come] from his descendants. (The Complete Jewish Bible With Rashi Commentary)


God Almighty

Other verses, however, claim that Yahweh is the shepherd who comes to save his sheepfold, and who shall also pass judgment upon his flock, specifically upon those who abuse and oppress his sheep:

“Upon a lofty mountain ascend, O herald of Zion, raise your voice with strength, O herald of Jerusalem; raise [your voice], fear not; say to the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God!’ Behold the Lord God shall come with a strong [hand], and His arm rules for Him; behold His reward is with Him, and His recompense is before Him. Like a shepherd [who] tends his flock, with his arm he gathers lambs, and in his bosom he carries [them], the nursing ones he leads.” Isaiah 40:9-11

“So said the Lord God: Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I shall demand My flocks from their hands, and I shall banish them from shepherding the flocks. The shepherds will no longer shepherd themselves, and I shall rescue My flocks from their mouth, and they will not be to them for food. For so said the Lord God: Behold I am here, and I shall search for My flocks and I shall seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his separated flocks, so will I seek out My flocks, and I will save them from all the places where they have scattered on a cloudy and dark day. I will take them out from among the nations, and I will gather them from the lands and bring them to their land, and I will shepherd them to the mountains of Israel, by the streams and in all the dwellings of the land. On good pasture I will pasture them, and on the mountains of the height of Israel will be their dwelling; there they will lie in a good fold and graze on fat pastureland upon the mountains of Israel. I will pasture My flocks and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost and I will retrieve the one astray; I will bind the broken and I will strengthen the ill, and the fat and the strong I will destroy; I will pasture it with justice. And you, My flocks, so said the Lord God: Behold I judge between one lamb and another, among the rams and among the he-goats. Is it little for you? The good pasture you graze, and the rest of your pasture you tread with your feet; you drink the clear water, and the rest you tread with your feet. And My flocks graze upon what you trod with your feet, and they drink what you trod with your feet. Therefore, so said the Lord God to them: Behold I am here, and I will judge between a strong lamb and a lean lamb. Because you push with flank and with shoulder, and with your horns you gore all the frail ones until you have scattered them abroad. I shall save My flocks, and they will no longer become a prey, and I shall judge between one lamb and another lamb.” Ezekiel 34:10-22

As Israel’s Shepherd who dwells between the cherubim, Yahweh provides for his flock in order to preserve them from ever perishing:

“A song of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He causes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even when I walk in the valley of darkness, I will fear no evil for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff-they comfort me. You set a table before me in the presence of my adversaries; You anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. May only goodness and kindness pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for length of days.” Psalm 23:1-6

O Shepherd of Israel, hearken, He Who leads Joseph like flocks, He Who dwells between the cherubim, appear.” Psalm 80:1

This now raises a dilemma since how can there be only one shepherd and king if the inspired Scriptures proclaim that both the Messiah and God are coming to assume these roles and functions? 

For the answer to this paradox please proceed to the next part of our discussion.