9 Come, all his field animals to eat all his forest animals! 10 His blind watchmen, none of them know what is happening. They are all dumb dogs; they are unable to bark, panting, lying down, loving to sleep. 11 And the dogs are voracious of soul — they do not know what it means to be full. And they are shepherds! They do not know understanding. They all turn to their way, each one for his purpose. 12 “Come, let me take wine, and let us party with an intoxicating drink, and tomorrow will be like today, only more so.
hungry, sleepy dogs
This passage took me a couple of days to mull over. I had a problem with the 3rd masculine singular suffix which appears twice on the noun chayah in verse 9. I finally found a way of expressing it. Here’s what I think Isaiah is getting at: While the LORD will be continually adding to his kingdom from other ethnic groups, the leaders of Israel will not know what is going on. They will turn the ethnic Israelites (his field animals) against the converts (his forest animals). The leaders are described as hungry, sleepy dogs, who only care for their own fulfilment. This text has a very practical application for today’s church. The LORD wants to gather new believers into his flock. But often we leaders are more interested in our own enjoyment, so we cause unnecessary divisions among those under our charge. That is not what our chief shepherd wants. He wants us to put aside our own appetites and to foster unity among the flock.
LORD, make us shepherds who truly care about building a unified flock.