Fold (properly גּדֵרָה, gederah', a place walled in, Nu 32:16,24,36; αὐλή, a court-yard, Joh 10:1,16; also מֵכלָה, miklah', a place shut up, Hab 3:17; Ps 50:9; Ps 78:70; whereas דֹּבֵר, dober', Isa 5:17; Mic 2:12; and נָוֶה, naveh' 2Sa 7:8; 1Ch 17:7; Isa 65:10; Jer 23:3; Eze 25:5; Eze 34:14, signify pasture, and ποίμνη, Joh 10:16, the flock itself) a small enclosure for flocks to rest together (Isa 13:20). It appears that, before the shearing the sheep were collected together into an uncovered enclosure (αὐλή), surrounded by a wall (Joh 10:11,16). The object of this is that the wool may be rendered finer by the sweating and evaporation which necessarily result from the flock being thus crowded together. These are the sheepfolds mentioned in Nu 30:16; Nu 24:25; 2Sa 7:8; Zep 2:6, etc. No other kind than this are used in the East (Jabs, Archaeol. § 46). SEE PASTURAGE. Such an enclosure, open above, was often made of hurdles, in which, during the summer months, the flocks are kept by night or at noon. They were usually divided into two parts for the different kinds of flocks, i.e., sheep and goats (Jg 5:16). SEE FLOCK. The gentlemen forming the Scotch Mission of Inquiry to the Jews in 1839, when at Eshtaol, observed, "Many large flocks of sheep and goats were coming into the village, and we followed the footsteps of the flocks in order to see where they were lodged all night. We found the dwellings to be merely cottages of mud with a door, and sometimes also a window, into a court-yard. In this yard the flocks were lying down, while the villagers, were spreading their mats to rest within. Small mud walls farmed rail partitions to keep separate the larger and smaller cattle, for, oxen, horses, and camels were in some of these enclosures." In the East it is common for shepherds to make use of ruined edifices to shelter their flocks from the heat of the middle of the day and from the dangers of the night. Thus it was prophesied of the cities of Ammon, Aroer, and Judea that they should be couching-places for flocks (Eze 25:5; Isa 17:2; Isa 32:14). But Babylon was to be visited with a far greater desolation, and to become unfit even for such a purpose (Isa 13:19). The peculiar expression in Ps 68:13, "Though ye have been among the pots," or, according to J.D. Michaelis, "drinking- troughs" or "water-troughs," would be better rendered, "Though ye have lien among the folds." See POT. To lie among the folds, says Gesenius, seems to be spoken proverbially of shepherds and husbandmen living in leisure and quiet. In Joh 10:16, the Jews and Gentiles are represented under the image of two different flocks enclosed in different folds. SEE SHEEP.

Definition of fold

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