Feeding the Flock

Both the settled shepherds living along the fringes of the wilderness and the nomadic wilderness shepherds pastured their sheep on barren hillsides unsuitable for farming.

Visitors to the Near East wonder how sheep found food on these hillsides. Yet, ancient shepherds knew that small tufts of grass, watered by occasional rains or moist breezes, grew along the edges of the rocks. These barren hillsides were the green pastures where shepherds of the Bible led their sheep (Ps. 23).

In the more settled areas along the wilderness and during grazing seasons in the wilderness, shepherds fed the sheep with prepared fodder. They often used mangers, usually in the form of a stone or a metal box, to hold the fodder. Such mangers have been found in caves, stables, or typical Palestinian homes (where sheep were kept in the lower level).