The shepherds (Lk 2:8-2:8)

“In that region

There were shepherds

Camping out

In the fields.

They were

Keeping watch

Over their flock

At night.”

 

Καὶ ποιμένες ἦσαν ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ τῇ αὐτῇ ἀγραυλοῦντες καὶ φυλάσσοντες φυλακὰς τῆς νυκτὸς ἐπὶ τὴν ποίμνην αὐτῶν.

 

Luke had a special emphasis on these common shepherds in the fields, while Matthew had the important Magi get a special sign or star.  Luke said that in that same region of Bethlehem (ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ τῇ αὐτῇ), there were shepherds (Καὶ ποιμένες ἦσαν) living or camping out in the fields (ἀγραυλοῦντες).  They were keeping watch over their flock of sheep at night (καὶ φυλάσσοντες φυλακὰς τῆς νυκτὸς ἐπὶ τὴν ποίμνην αὐτῶν).  They were doing their jobs as shepherds watching their sheep at nighttime.  Perhaps there was a connection between these shepherds and the young shepherd David in the fields of Bethlehem in 1 Samuel, chapter 16:6-13.  This may have been Luke showing concern for the common people as expressed in these shepherds.

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The seven days of sin offerings (Ezek 43:25-43:27)

“‘For seven days,

You shall provide daily

A goat

For a sin offering.

Also,

A bull

With a ram

From the flock,

Without blemish,

Shall be provided.

Seven days

Shall they make atonement

For the altar.

They will cleanse it.

They will so consecrate it.

When these days

Are over,

Then from the eighth day

Onward,

The priests shall offer

Upon the altar

Your burnt offerings

With your peace offerings.

Then I will accept you.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh gave Ezekiel this first week of instructions about the altar. During this week, each day they had to provide an unblemished goat, bull, and ram from their flock. During these 7 days, they were to make atonement for the altar, by cleansing and consecrating it. After these 7 days were over, the priests would then be able to offer their burnt offerings and peace offerings on this altar at any time.  Yahweh said that he would then accept these offerings.