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David the Shepherd

David the Shepherd

Ethics 2:1

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Rebbi said; “Look upon three things and you won’t come near a sin: An Eye that sees…” (Avot 2:1)

"Early each morning, David would go and open up the pen…"
"Early each morning, David would go and open up the pen…"

When King David was young, he took care of his father’s flocks and herds. Every day he took the goats and sheep to the desert areas, so they would not graze in other people’s fields.

He noticed that when the goats came to some fresh grass, the strong healthy goats would push in first, and eat up all the tender grass, leaving none for the weaker ones.

By the time the little goats got to eat, there was only hard stubble left.

“This is not right,” thought David. “The young goats should have the tender new grass. The bigger goats have strong teeth. They can eat the hard stubble.”

What did he do? He built fences and made three separate areas. One was for the little goats. One was for the aging goats. The third pen was for the strong young goats.

Early each morning, David would go and open up the pen of the youngest goats.

The little kids ran out happily and chewed the ends of the new soft grass until they had enough.

Then David would take the old goats from their pen. They ate the regular grass which was not too hard, and not too soft.

Last of all, he opened the pen of the sturdy young goats. They ate what was left--the hard stubble and the thick roots. They had strong teeth to chew the tough grasses. All the animals were satisfied.

There was no more pushing. All the goats got what they needed.

When G‑d saw this, He said, “Since David cares so well for each and every one of his flock, let him come and take care of My sheep—the Jewish people!”

And that is how G‑d chose David to be king over all Israel.

Courtesy of Tzivos Hashem and the archives of The Moshiach Times children's magazine. If you would like to subscribe to The Moshiach Times, click here to contact Tzivos Hashem.
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Ethics of the Fathers is a tractate of the Mishna that details the Torah's views on ethics and interpersonal relationships. Enjoy insights, audio classes and stories on these fascinating topics.
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