Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves!
Should not shepherds take care of the flock?
I think the implication is that some sheep were taken care of and some were not. Apparently the shepherds took care of themselves and their families, however, there was a group of people who were ignored. Who were they specifically?
You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured.
You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost.
You have ruled them harshly and brutally.
The weak sick and injured were not strengthened, or healed or bound up. Additionally, they didn't bring back the strays (it seems the assumption is that they knew where the strays were) or search for the lost. Once again, it seems the assumption is that they knew they were lost. Instead, what did they do? They ruled them harshly and brutally. Now I don't know about brutality of the church persons with disability, but I have experienced and read about some harsh treatment on the part of the church towards persons with disability. Examples of that treatment are provided elsewhere in this blog.
So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals.
Persons with disability often live at or below the poverty line. When you are poor, you live where other poor people live. There are many nere do well people who live among the poor and like wild animals they take advantage of the poor, particularly the mentally disabled poor. But why were they scattered? Because there was no shepherd. You don't know how often I hear church leaders excuse themselves from responsibility for persons with disability because of the their lack of funds. There are funds for other programs, oftentimes for programs for people who are not scattered or weak or sick or injured.
My sheep wandered over the mountains and on every high hill.
They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.
I was floored to find out that 20% of the population of the United States are disabled. Not all are cognitively disabled, but disabled nontheless. Why isn't the church looking for these people to bring them in. One could take the idea of being scattered as being lost, but one could also take it as that they are everywhere. They are on every high hill. But no one is looking for them.
More on the rest of this section in part 2.
"Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away. I will save my flock and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another. I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them: he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken.
They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid.
I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations.
Then they will know that I, the Lord their God am with them and that they, the house of Israel are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord.
You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord."