SHEPHERD MOTIF IN THE OLD TESTAMENT AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR LEADERSHIP IN NIGERIA
Abstract This research examines the Shepherd Motif in the Old Testament which has been misunderstood, misinterpreted and subjected to criticism in recent times due to the varying degrees of methodologies by scholars. These scholar use terms like Military dictatorship, aristocracy, autocracy, democracy, kingship, and spiritual leadership to talk on the subject without closely examining the caring motif of the shepherd enshrined in the Old Testament. The objectives of this research are to justify the assertion that shepherd motif especially, Psalm 23 and other related texts encapsulates provision, protection and care as the basis for understanding and interpretation. In Psalm 23 some scholars posit that the shepherd motif reveals a caring and guiding shepherd, while others see the caring motif in vv 1- 4.
For others vv5-6 speaks of a host. Some of these scholars focus on the theological import at the expense of exegesis, while others make input from their common life and practical experiences. In the prophetic literatures most scholars examine the shepherd motif to convey leadership responsibilities of Israel’s leaders who were contrasted with God and his loving kindness. The gap which this thesis attempts to fill is the discovery of the motif of untiring desire for care by the shepherd, which Psalm 23 and other related texts in the Old Testament reveal. The methods used are grammatico-historical exegesis, canonical approach, syntactical-theological method, principles of syntagmatics and paradigmatics. The researcher has also made some modest recommendations to the Church and society in order to draw implications for pastoral care leadership in the Nigerian situation. The contribution of this research to knowledge is that, it has, for the first time fully laid bare the motif of untiring desire for care as the basis for understanding and interpreting shepherd motif in the Old Testament. This novel discovery which is informative, educative and transformative is not found in any of the materials reviewed by the researcher.