C The Flock of Yahweh

Notable also are the sheep and shepherd metaphors within the Jesus tradition — notable because they clearly evoked the popular image of Israel as Yahweh's flock.107 The allusions are rather diverse and more weakly attested than most of the evidence reviewed thus far. But Jesus is remembered as drawing on this imagery on several occasions: the parable of the lost sheep, used differently by Matthew and Luke (Matt. 18.12/Luke 15.4),108 the commission to go to 'the lost sheep of the house of Israel' (only in Matt. 10.6; 15.24),109 and the quotation of Zech. 13.7 in Mark 14.27/Matt. 26.31.110 Luke 12.32 also has Jesus encouraging

104. See also above, chapter 12 nn. 178, 205. W. Horbury, 'The Twelve and the Phylarchs', NTS 32 (1986) has reservations at this point.

105. See further above, chapter 12 n. 205. Again, as several have pointed out, it would be odd that a saying was subsequently attributed to Jesus which numbered Judas as one of Israel's judges (e.g., V. Hampel, Menschensohn und historischer Jesus: Ein Rätselwort als Schlüssel zum messianischen Selbstverständnis Jesu [Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener, 1990] 151; Meier, 'Circle of Twelve' 656).

106. Witherington justifiably warns against a simple identification of 'the twelve' with (all) 'the disciples'; 'Apparently the Twelve was formed not to be Israel, but rather to free Israel in light of what was to come' {Christology 127-28, 131).

107. Gen. 49.24; Pss. 28.9; 74.1; 77.20; 78.52; 79.13; 80.1; 100.3; Isa. 40.11; 49.9-10; Jer. 13.17, 20; Ezek. 34; Mic. 2.12; 5.4; 7.14; Zech. 10.2-3; 11.7, 15-17; Sir. 18.13; Pss. Sol. 17.40.

108. But also attested by GTh 107; Gos. Truth 31-32. For comparison of the four versions see Hultgren, Parables 49-52. The parable is regarded as probably going back to Jesus by both the Jesus Seminar (Funk, Five Gospels 214-15) and Lüdemann (Jesus 363), in both cases because such 'exaggerations' (leaving ninety-nine to look for one) are typical of Jesus; cf. also Becker, Jesus 139-40. The parable was also probably the basis for the Fourth Evangelist's more elaborate treatment of the theme (John 10.1-18). Note also Luke 19.10.

109. See above, chapter 12 n. 266.

110. On the text form see Davies and Allison, Matthew 3.485-86. As with most of the OT allusions in the Passion narrative, the reference to Zech. 13.7 here is usually seen as evidence of subsequent Christian reflection, though we can say that a Jesus who reflected on the sheep/shepherd imagery of Jewish thought might well have seen in Zech. 13.7 some foreshad his disciples: 'Do not be afraid, little flock; because your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom'111 — where again the allusion is evidently to Israel as the flock protected by its divine Elsewhere the image of Israel like scat tered sheep lacking direction, as in the wilderness (Num. 27.17) or under failing leadership,113 is evoked by the depiction/(memory?) of people straggling round the shore of the lake to hear more from Jesus (Mark 6.34). Matthew has moved the allusion to introduce his version of the commission of the twelve (Matt. 9.36). Both are the work of the narrator, but the fact that Jesus' mission evoked such imagery can count as a strengthening of the likelihood that the imagery was prompted by what Jesus himself said and did.

In short, the imagery of Israel as Yahweh's flock had an irregular role within the Jesus tradition, but it is more likely that the extent to which the imagery is played upon was prompted by memory of Jesus' own usage than otherwise.

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