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Verse 3. To him the porter openeth. The porter is the doorkeeper. It seems that the more wealthy Jews who owned flocks employed some person to take charge of the flock. At first all shepherds attended their flocks personally by day and by night, and this continued to be commonly the practice, but not always.

The sheep hear his voice. The voice of the shepherd. A flock will readily discern the well-known voice of one who is accustomed to attend them. The meaning is, that the people of God will be found disposed to listen to the instructions of those who are appointed by Christ, who preach his pure doctrines, and who show a real love for the church of God. There is scarcely any better test of fidelity in the pastoral office than the approbation of the humble and obscure people of God, when they discern in the preacher the very manner and spirit of the doctrines of the Bible.

He calleth his own sheep by name. It was customary, and is still, we are told by travellers, for shepherds to give particular names to their sheep, by which they soon learned to regard the voice of the shepherd. By this our Saviour indicates, doubtless, that it is the duty of a minister of religion to seek an intimate and personal acquaintance with the people of his charge; to feel an interest in them as individuals, and not merely to address them together; to learn their private wants; to meet them in their individual trials, and to administer to them personally the consolations of the gospel.

Leadeth them out. He leads them from the fold to pasture or to water. Perhaps there is here intended the care of a faithful pastor to provide suitable instruction for the people of his charge, and to feed them with the bread of life. See a beautiful and touching description of the care of the Great Shepherd in Ps 23:1-6.

{c} "To him" Re 3:20 {d} "calleth his own sheep" Eze 34:11; Ro 8:30 {e} "leadeth them out" Eze 34:11; Ro 8:30

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