a word naturally of frequent occurence in Scripture. Sometimes
the word "pastor" is used instead (Jer. 2:8; 3:15; 10:21; 12:10;
17:16). This word is used figuratively to represent the relation
of rulers to their subjects and of God to his people (Ps. 23:1;
80:1; Isa. 40:11; 44:28; Jer. 25:34, 35; Nahum 3:18; John 10:11,
14; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 2:25; 5:4).

The duties of a shepherd in an unenclosed country like
Israel were very onerous. "In early morning he led forth the
flock from the fold, marching at its head to the spot where they
were to be pastured. Here he watched them all day, taking care
that none of the sheep strayed, and if any for a time eluded his
watch and wandered away from the rest, seeking diligently till
he found and brought it back. In those lands sheep require to be
supplied regularly with water, and the shepherd for this purpose
has to guide them either to some running stream or to wells dug
in the wilderness and furnished with troughs. At night he
brought the flock home to the fold, counting them as they passed
under the rod at the door to assure himself that none were
missing. Nor did his labors always end with sunset. Often he
had to guard the fold through the dark hours from the attack of
wild beasts, or the wily attempts of the prowling thief (see 1
Sam. 17:34).", Deane's David.