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Old 07-28-2012, 04:01 PM   #8
jenny_islander
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Default Breaking the Lamb's Leg

If it's OK, mods, I would like to add this specifically for the so-called parable about how shepherds break the legs of straying lambs or sheep in order to teach them to stay close. The earliest citation for this is in a sermon by William Marrion Branham. Here is the relevant passage: http://greenegem.wordpress.com/2011/...g-a-lambs-leg/

This sermon dates from 1957.

Now, Branham may have had an earlier source that has somehow been lost in the past 50 years. However, the existing evidence does not favor Branham's assertion. Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd (John 10), but note that nowhere in this passage does He describe Himself "breaking the lamb's leg." The Good Shepherd carrying the lamb across his shoulders is a very old Christian image, dating back at least to the 2nd century AD; however, the shepherd was historically understood to be carrying a lamb because it was tired, not because he swung a heavy stick at one of its legs. Modern shepherds do not break their lambs' legs. Besides the repellent cruelty of this act, there is the trouble and expense of hauling a lame animal around--an animal that may die anyway if its fractured limb becomes infected, an animal that may always be too slow to keep up with the flock even if it survives. A broken-legged sheep, unless there is a vet available and the sheep is extremely valuable, goes into the stew pot.

My personal observation is that this parable maps very well onto the lives of abused children. If someone who has complete power over a child does that child great harm, but insists that it's for their own good or done from love, the child may believe it--because the alternative is the bitter knowledge that they are trapped with a cruel master and there is no escape.

(This leads back to the inherent ridiculousness of inflicting great pain on an animal in order to make it stick close to you. Children love parents because they need to. Sheep don't need to love shepherds. If you maim your sheep, it's going to stay as far away from you as possible--or attack you if you get too close!)
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