View Full Version : Alas, 'tis true! Please forgive me!

08-22-2005, 10:23 AM
I would have NEVER believed it. I am not sure I believe it now!

"In His Land; Seeing is Believing" by Roy Gustafson. Roy Gustafson went to Israel and in 1980, completed his 91st trip to the Holy Land. He is a "contemporary Bible teacher" (um, whatever that is?)

pg. 46 --

It was on one trip down the ancient road that Abu Ali and I met a shepherd and his flock. There was nothing surprising about this. But the thing that caught our attention was this: the shepherd was carrying one of his sheep. It had a splint and a bandage on its leg, and it was quite evident the leg had been fractured. Was it struck by a stone? Did a dog bite it? Did it fall from one of those rugged rocks? How was this limb broken? The sight was nothing new to my friend, for he had lived for nearly half a century in this area. But I had never seen it before, or since. Abu Ali explained, "The shepherd broke the leg himself!" And this precipitated my question, "Why?"

The shepherd, talking in Arabic to my friend, explained how this particular sheep was always wandering off, and sometimes would lead other sheep astray in the process. There are unwritten rules to be obeyed without question when a sheep is a member of the flock. Even though the shepherd loves those animals, discipline is the only thing which will keep them together. This shepherd had broken the leg, and had hand-fed the sheep until the bones had mended. It was the lying down process which would ultimately bring the restoration of that self-willed sheep back to the flock.

Now, since he's not seen it before, or since, I expect that this was an aberration. I mean, he's been to the Holy Land 91 times, and had never seen it before. Also, the friend never did say he saw it all the time -- "The sight was nothing new to my friend, for he had lived for nearly half a century in this area" -- this was an objective phrase by the author. Also, the photograph that accompanied this story showed no evidence of a bandage or splint, just a shepherd carrying a black and white sheep. :shrug

However, to everyone I told that it wasn't true, and that a shepherd would never do that, please accept my sincere apology. I honestly didn't think it was logical, and, before this book, I had never found another source for this. I know we never did it on that ranch, and all the other sources (European, American, and Oriental (Arabic)) I had checked never did it. This is the one and only thing I've found that substantiates this claim. Oh, and btw, it was a full-grown sheep, not a lamb.

I'm so sorry. I should not have spoken so authoritatively on something I apparently didn't know enough about. :(

08-22-2005, 11:10 AM

I wouldn't have believed it, either. At any rate, it's a stupid and cruel thing to do to an animal, and IMO, it's a bad parenting analogy.

08-22-2005, 12:52 PM
As a rule, I'd like to see more than one source, especially if that source is a friend-of-a-friend story. The author here isn't claiming that he did it; he's claming that he once had a translator tell him somebody else had done it. This is a set-up that leads to bad information. If you really want to dig into this, do you have a big university nearby? An anthropology or Middle Eastern studies department could probably help you track down resources and experts. Academics are fond of the search for truth, and often help out random people with random queries, particularly interesting queries and open-minded people. Check their schedule first, or ask when you call if it's a good time; the first few
weeks of class and the weeks just before them it's going to be hard to find anybody with the time to help. If you're interested in going that route and don't have local resources, PM me, and I'll send out feelers -- I don't know anybody directly relevant, but I could pass queries along.

08-22-2005, 01:14 PM
I agree that this one source isn't enough for me to accept the teaching--nor is it enough for me to at all think that this is anything Scripture speaks to. We're not to model our parenting after abusive shepherds--but after the Good Shepherd! I also was struck by this was always wandering off This was not a baby lamb--so what this shepherd did was more akin to something done to an adult or near adult who should know better. I just don't buy it for parenting :shrug

08-22-2005, 01:31 PM
I'm join those who are still not convinced. How on earth does one research 'shepard-ology' - google, maybe?

08-22-2005, 01:44 PM
I don't buy it eaither, plus does a sheep really have enough intellengence to think gee I better not wonder off again because my leg really hurts :shrug or better yet do the other sheep watch and learn :shrug


08-22-2005, 02:17 PM
There was something else he said that I was wondering about. He talks about this encounter being on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Very few tourists can go on that road, because the buses are not allowed that way. He says, The visitors to the Bible lands miss seeing the Brook Cherith and the deep rugged gorge which some call "the valley of the shadow of death" to this very day. It's an old Roman road and he says Because of the plentiful water supply all year around, you can expect to see the shepherds and their flocks of sheep and goats. The shepherds' dogs', with clipped ears so that they will not be caught by a hyena or wolf, will let you know by no uncertain barking that you are not welcome around that flock.

I had NO idea that that area of Africa had plentiful water! And hyenas?

08-22-2005, 05:05 PM

Lilly_of the_ Fields
08-23-2005, 03:08 AM
Hmmm...if the sheep were tending to follow other sheep then it doesn;t fit with the model of shepherding we've been taught was the practise of the ancient Israelites where the sheep follow the shepherd. Could it be that shepherding practises have changed/ or this was simply not a very 'good' shepherd' (unlike our own - I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep - John 10:11 )? :shrug

I found this...scroll down and check out the pics titled Lead especially (there are 2)


08-23-2005, 10:27 AM

This is the one and only thing I've found that substantiates this claim.

Well, it's still just a claim....not everything everyone says or writes is a true report. I remain skeptical.

08-23-2005, 10:57 AM
Hmmm...if the sheep were tending to follow other sheep then it doesn;t fit with the model of shepherding we've been taught was the practise of the ancient Israelites where the sheep follow the shepherd.

That's another sticky place for me. The shepherd leads -- the flock follows. Sheep do not "step out of line". It would go against the whole reason they are led! The only time a sheep has occasion to wander is during the time they graze. :shrug

On the ranch, we periodically needed to load sheep on a truck. We had a specially trained goat for this purpose. This goat would walk over the backs of the sheep and get to the front of the group, and then walk into the truck. Until that goat walked into that truck, the sheep would mill around (as much as they could in the confined run), bumping into each other, baaing, complaining, whatever -- everything BUT GET INTO THE TRUCK! Not a SINGLE sheep would even move toward the truck until they saw that goat get into that truck. We called it the "lead goat". It was usually an orphaned goat that was hand-raised, and, therefore, acted very much like a pet dog. I had the privilege of raising such a "sancha" (sp?). He was full of personality and spunk, and a very pretty ginger and white color. *smiles in fond remembrance* And I remember teaching him how to lead the sheep into the trucks.

The whole thing just goes totally against what I know! Argh! It's annoying! Yes, it's REALLY bothering me, now. I simply MUST get to the bottom of this! It will bother me until my dying day if I don't! (Did I ever explain that I am a bit OCD? Where do you think my #2 ds and dd get it from?!)

08-23-2005, 04:58 PM
I'm still finding it hard to believe. There are skeptics at the Snopes discussion board, too:


The supposed Biblical reference to the practice is Psalms 51:8, "that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice."


08-23-2005, 07:14 PM
Not to be repetitive.. I know I said something similar to this on the other thread, but...

There's a difference between building our parenting around the truths in God's Word and using antedotes (true or false) or analogies as a BASIS for parenting philosophies and practices.

Even if it *is* true... even if someone wants to use the analogy... it DOES start to break down if you take it far enough. It just does. It's an A-N-A-L-O-G-Y..... a word picture or story that someone used to explain an idea or support what they already believe.

God is compared to our earthly fathers, to a brother, to a shepherd.... Christ is pictured as a lamb, as the light of the world, etc. There are many parables and OT practices which "picture" Christ or God in some way. These are comparisons which--when combined with all the other teachings in God's Word AND kept in proper perspective--can help us to understand something magnificent and amazing about our Lord. You could probably take just about any one of them to an inappropriate extreme, or over-emphasize it to the point of drawing imbalanced conclusions. :shrug