This posting provides arguments of shepherds on Bethlehem pasture in December.
Four arguments support biblical story of shepherds on Bethlehem pasture in December night, in which Jesus was born.
1. Bethlehem is geographically located in Sub-Tropical Zone or Warm-Temperature Zone
Bethlehem is geographically located at 31° 42‘ 11” North Latitude and 35° 11‘ 44” East Longitude and at an altitude of 775 asl, suggesting that Bethlehem is located in the Sub–Tropical Zone or Warm-Temperature Zone.
In December, the highest and the lowest temperatures are 28° C and -1° C, respectively; while average temperature ranges from 6°C to 14° C. Snowfall is rare, drizzle is often.1
As long as geographical position of Bethlehem did not significantly shift in 24 last centuries, temperature range of Bethlehem in the time of Jesus Christ is similar to present.
2. Due to thick fleece, sheep naturally survive in the cold.
Sheep grows thick fleece covering its body, due to which, sheep naturally survive in the cold.
The thick fleece keeps sheep survive at low temperature up to -40° C.2 It implies that both average (6°C-14° C) and lowest (-1° C) temperatures allow sheep on Bethlehem pasture in December.
3. Shepherds use animal skins as supporting equipment
The shepherds in the fields did not sleep on the grasses in the open, facing stars in the sky.
They used a large tent, made of animal skin (see illustration above), so that temperature was warmer inside the tent.
In addition, the shepherds used animal skin/ hide/ fur for their clothing, mat, and blanket, as well.
4. Ritual of animal sacrifices needed 2 sacrificial lambs every day in any weather.
The pasture, on which the sacrificial sheeps were herded, has been located near the road leading to Jerusalem.
This sacrificial sheeps intended for daily ritual of animal sacrifice. Therefore, sheeps should be available in the pasture near Jerusalem (Bethlehem pasture), either in bad or good weather, because the ritual was held twice a day (morning and afternoon) in any weather. Biblical reason for this ritual is further discussed in the next posting under title “A reason for shepherds to be on Bethlehem pasture in December”
- Bethlehem climate and temperature in December still allow shepherds and their sheep were on pasture, even if it was night.
- The story, narrated by Gospel, of shepherds and sheeps on Bethlehem pasture in December synchronizes with Train of Thought about Christmas December 25.
- In any weather and any temperature, 2 sheeps had to available everyday on Bethlehem pasture to supply the daily animal sacrifice ritual in Jerusalem.
1. http://www.myweather2.com/City-Town/Israel/Bethlehem/climate-profile.aspx , December 29, 2014 , 9:00 WIB
2. http://www.ontariosheep.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=QaeULBxtXxw%3D&tabid=95, December 30, 2014, 15:58.
3. http://messianic-torah-truth-seeker.org/Scriptures/Brit-Hadashah/Yochanan/Yochanan10.htm , December 30, 2014, 16:30