If you have read the Bible much, you know it often talks about shepherds. King David was a shepherd. When Jesus was born, angels visited the shepherds out in the fields. And Jesus calls Himself the “Good Shepherd” (John 10:11). What was a shepherd?
The easiest answer is that shepherds were people who took care of sheep. But even though that is easy to say, the job was often rather difficult. First, the shepherd had to make sure the sheep had plenty of grass to eat and water to drink. During times of the year when it was dry, shepherds may walk for days leading their sheep to new pastures and streams. Also, shepherds had to protect their sheep from wild animals. They would often use a sling and a staff as protection. In the Old Testament, we read that David killed a lion and a bear that attacked his sheep (1 Samuel 16:34-37). Shepherds were also responsible for keeping their sheep from getting lost, and finding them if they did get lost (see Luke 15:1-7).
Sheep were very important to people in Bible times. They were used as sacrifices to God. Sheep wool was often used to make clothing and blankets. And sheep were a good source of food. The job of a shepherd was sometimes hard, but it could be very rewarding as well.