When we meet David, he’s watching over his family’s livelihood.  The Hebrew word for youngest, qatan, implies insignificant and unimportant. One translator even uses the word “runt.” Though David is the runt of the litter, God selects him to rule over Israel. “Does it surprise you that the youngest child was caring for the sheep?” “Not at all,” Lynne said. “In ancient societies, and even today in remote areas, the weakest members of a family are often the ones assigned to care for the sheep. When we were in Peru staying with a family, a five-year-old boy, a few women, and an old man took care of the family’s sheep. The shepherds were those who lacked the strength or skill to do more physically demanding labor.”

Margaret Feinberg discusses the surprising truth about shepherds in an excerpt from Scouting the Divine