Green pastures

David, in describing the LORD as his shepherd, pictures himself as a sheep.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. (Psalm 23:1-2 ESV)

The picture below was made near Heshbon on the Transjordan plateau. It is rare in Israel or Jordan to see sheep in such an abundance of grass.

Sheep near Heshbon in Trans-Jordan. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sheep near Heshbon in Trans-Jordan. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Hebrew term mishor describes “level country, table-land, plain … specifically of the elevated plateau or table-land between the Arnon and Heshbon” (Brown, Driver, Briggs). Take a look at Joshua 13:17 in several English translations. Most of the popular English versions use the term plain. The NIV and the CSB use the term plateau.

We describe the area east of the Jordan Valley, now in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, as Transjordan (the area across the Jordan). There are many hills, even mountains, in Transjordan, but the entire area is a plateau. In Israel there is a central mountain range between coastal plains and the Jordan Valley.

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