John 10 centers on the singular suitability of Jesus to be the leader of God’s people on account of his self-giving actions. The climax of the discourse is obviously the ‘I am’ statements that ‘I am the Good Shepherd’ (10:11, 14). The shepherd metaphor concerns the intimate care and sacrificial protection that Jesus gives to the sheep as their leader. However, no one can escape the regal imagery because in the ancient near eastern sources and in Graeco-Roman traditions a ‘shepherd’ was primarily an image for kings. The Egyptian monarch Amenhotep III (1411-1374 BCE) was called: ‘The good shepherd, vigilant for all people, whom the maker thereof has placed under his authority’. The Homeric phrase ‘shepherd of the hosts’ referred to a commander of military forces. In the Old Testament, the metaphor of a shepherd is applied to both Yahweh and to ancient kings. To give a few examples, first, concerning Yahweh, Isaiah contains the words, ‘See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young’ (Isa 40:10-11). The Lord of the nations guides them into the pastures of a restored land like a shepherd directing a flock. Second, it is interesting that Cyrus is labeled as ‘my shepherd’ in Isa 44:28 and then ‘my anointed’ in Isa 45:1. He was the anointed shepherd used by Yahweh to end the exile of the remnant in Babylon. Third, the quintessential shepherd king was David, the shepherd boy who became a king. At Hebron the tribes reminded David that, ‘The LORD said to you: “It is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over Israel” (2 Sam 5:2). The hope for a new Davidic king was the hope for a new shepherd king to guide Israel into its day of restoration (Jer 23:1-6; Mic 5:1-9). In fact, Ezekiel 34 depicts of the coming of Yahweh as Shepherd in and through the raising up a new Davidic Shepherd-King (Ezek 34:16, 23-24).
 Chae, Jesus as the Eschatological Davidic Shepherd, 19-25 (esp. 21-22).
 Cf. survey of the OT imagery for shepherds in Chae, Jesus as the Eschatological Davidic Shepherd, 25-172.
 John A. Dennis, Jesus’ Death and the Gathering of True Israel (WUNT 2.217; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2006), 270-71.