(a collection of cattle), Herdsmen. The herd was greatly regarded in both the patriarchal and the Mosaic period. The ox was the most precious stock next to horse and mule. The herd yielded the most esteemed sacrifice, (Numbers 7:3; Psalms 69:31; Isaiah 66:3) also flesh meat, and milk, chiefly converted probably, into butter and cheese. (32:14; 2 Samuel 17:29) The agricultural and general usefulness of the ox in ploughing, threshing, and as a beast of burden, (1 Chronicles 12:40; Isaiah 46:1) made a slaughtering of him seem wasteful, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. Herdsmen, etc., in Egypt were a low, perhaps the lowest, caste; but of the abundance of cattle in Egypt, and of the care there bestowed on them, there is no doubt. (Genesis 47:6,17; Exodus 9:4,20) So the plague of hail was sent to smite especially the cattle, (Psalms 78:48) the firstborn of which also were smitten. (Exodus 12:29) The Israelites departing stipulated for, (Exodus 10:26) and took "much cattle" with them. ch. (Exodus 12:38) Cattle formed thus one of the traditions of the Israelitish nation in its greatest period, and became almost a part of that greatness. The occupation of herdsman was honorable in early times. (Genesis 47:6; 1 Samuel 11:5; 1 Chronicles 27:29; 28:1) Saul himself resumed it in the interval of his cares as king, also Doeg was certainly high in his confidence (1 Samuel 21:7) Pharaoh made some of Joseph's brethren "rulers over his cattle." David's herd-masters were among his chief officers of state. The prophet Amos at first followed this occupation.
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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