A Short Comment on Jude 12 and Ezekiel 34

Our college principal spoke in our chapel this week focusing on the first half or so of the little letter of Jude, second last letter in the New Testament, and I noticed and Old Testament link.

I noticed in v. 12 that the false teachers are accused of ‘shepherding [only] themselves’. The word behind ‘shepherding’ (or ‘pastoring’), ‘poimainontes’, reminds me of the ‘shepherds’ or false leaders of Judah in Ezekiel 34 who fed themselves on lamb instead of looking after the flock. It turns out from a BibleWorks search that the very word turns up in the LXX in that chapter, e.g.:

“ἀποστρέψω αὐτοὺς τοῦ μὴ ποιμαίνειν τὰ πρόβατά μου (Eze 34:10 BGT)”
“I will remove them from being shepherds of my sheep.”

For an audience probably pretty steeped in their Scriptures, Jude’s words would probably have awakened such echoes from the prophets.

There’s a warning in there for the person in spiritual or political leadership! Let’s not begin taking advantage of the power that comes with that role!


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