Shearing Sheep in Bible Times

An Illustration from the life of David

The wool from one sheep at shearing time. This photo was made in Syria near the ancient site of Kadesh where the famous battle between the Egyptians and the Hittites took place.

David is well known as a shepherd. An interesting episode from his life is recorded in 1 Samuel 25.

4 David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep.
5 So David sent ten young men. And David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, and go to Nabal and greet him in my name.
6 And thus you shall greet him: ‘Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have.
7 I hear that you have shearers. Now your shepherds have been with us, and we did them no harm, and they missed nothing all the time they were in Carmel. (1 Sam. 25:4-7 ESV)

A common expression among the Jews was that goats were kept for milk, hens for eggs, and sheep for wool. The wool could be converted into clothing for the family. I have seen Bedouin milking sheep.

Shepherd family living in tents in northwest Syria. Note the woman milking the sheep from the rear.

The wool was converted to yarn, primarily by the women of the village, to be used in the making of clothing for the family.

This yarn has been dyed to be used for making clothing by the women at Nazareth Village.

One response to “Shearing Sheep in Bible Times

  1. I have a photo from about 1983 of a sheep being killed and then skinned, for the Sacrifice Holiday in Turkey. Whenever I see that photo, I remember my children, 3 and 5 ½ looking over the balcony railing down just 1 meter or so, watching the sheep lying there so peacefully awaiting the knife at his throat! So many of your photos of Israel remind me of things we’ve seen and experienced in Turkey.

    Thank you for sending out your blog. I enjoy reading it.

    Mrs Tülin Munro https://bescribbler.com/blog/2022/03/15/selling-snails-in-istanbul/

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