Watching Sheep at Night

Watching sheep at night. In weather that permits, the shepherds often keep their flocks in the open country. One group of shepherds provided simple sleeping places for themselves by placing "a number of oblong circles of stones, inside of which rushes were collected for bedding, according to the Bedouin fashion in the desert. These simple beds were arranged in a circle, and sticks and roots were collected at the center for a fire." With this arrangement they were able to keep watch over their sheep by night. It was in such a way as this that the Bethlehem shepherds took turns watching and sleeping on the hills outside Bethlehem, when the angels visited them announcing the Saviour's birth. "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night" (Luke 2:8). When Jacob cared for Laban's sheep, he spent many a night in the out-of-doors, looking after the flock. "Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes" (Genesis 31:40). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

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