Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Image result for Picture of sheep

The research continues...Sheep vs. Goats

Thanks to a former high school classmate of mine, whom I have not seen in over 50 years, I got a bit of insight on the Biblical difference of the two cute rumanants and why one is the more preferred. He picked up my plea for help from Face Book through a mutual friend.

I also had a discussion with a respected Biblical scholar who, while not giving me a definitive answer, pointed me in a good direction. I say good direction because my scholar-friend cautioned that the difference was probably culturally based on the belief system of 1st Century folk and could be either practical or spiritually based. You know, there may be more than one reason that sheep came out the preferred unit: scientific or mythological. A bit heavy, I agree, but it made me dig a bit deeper.

My first reference alluded to the behavior of the two animals; sheep being gregarious and likely to listen and follow the shepherd, while goats are headstrong and go in their own direction. There is some substance to this argument, in my view, because of the experience I have had principally with sheep and more vicariously with goats. Although I used to get pretty mad at my sheep when they escaped their about head-strong.

But I have to add here that in my very first Animal Husbandry class I was given a definitive clue by the professor. He was a cattle guy and did not want to talk too much about sheep and goats and did not want to be bogged down in a discussion about appearance when the breed characteristics might be very similar. At that point the instructor became very brusk and said, "Boys, (there were no women in that class) if you can't tell the difference any other way, look at their tails. Sheep tails (or what is left of them) turn down while goat tails turn up..."  And that was that.

So the development of the sermon continues...commentaries, dictionaries, and more interviews. It is starting to come together.

1 comment:

sheila schippers said...

Sheila and I observed sheep and goats in Israel on a tour and found it very true out in the desert where the sheep followed the trail and the shepherd while the goats wandered all around not caring where the shepherd went.