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Herd


Herd (a collection of cattle), Herdsman. The herd was greatly regarded in both the patriarchal and the Mosaic period. The ox was the most precious stock next to horse and mule. The herd yielded the most esteemed sacrifice, Num. 7:3; Ps. 69:31; Isa. 66:3; also flesh meat, and milk, chiefly converted, probably, into butter and cheese. Deut. 32:14; 2 Sam. 17:29. The agricultural and general usefulness of the ox in ploughing, threshing, and as a beast of burden, 1 Chron. 12:40; Isa. 46:1, made a slaughtering of him seem wasteful. Herdsmen, etc., in Egypt were a low, perhaps the lowest, caste; but of the abundance of cattle in Egypt, and of the care there bestowed on them, there is no doubt. Gen. 47:6, 17; Ex. 9:4, 20. So the plague of hail was sent to smite especially the cattle, Ps. 78:48, the first-born of which also were smitten. Ex. 12:29. The Israelites departing stipulated for, Ex. 10:26, and took “much cattle” with them. ch. 12:38. Cattle formed thus one of the traditions of the Israelitish nation in its greatest period, and became almost a part of that greatness. The occupation of herdsman was honorable in early times. Gen. 47:6; 1 Sam. 11:5; 1 Chron. 27:29; 28:1. Saul himself resumed it in the interval of his cares as king; also Doeg was certainly high in his confidence. 1 Sam. 21:7. Pharaoh made some of Joseph’s brethren “rulers over his cattle.” David’s herdmasters were among his chief officers of state. The prophet Amos at first followed this occupation.