Monday, 23 April 2012
Sheepdogs in the Bible
The other day I was reading a book about Palestine in Biblical times, where I found the information that, although the Bible contains a great many references to sheep and to shepherds, there is never any mention of sheepdogs. I suppose I should have noticed this for myself. Dogs are still regarded as unclean animals in parts of the Near East today, possibly because of the danger of rabies. (When dogs lick the sores of Lazarus the beggar in St. Luke's gospel, this is intended to show, not the kindness of the dogs, but the utter degradation of the man). The parables of Jesus do not include one single story about a faithful dog: something inconceivable in the modern West, where dogs are regarded in a much more sentimental spirit!