The word of the Lord came to me: 2Mortal, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel: prophesy, and say to them—to the shepherds: Thus says the Lord God: Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep. 4You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed, you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and scattered, they became food for all the wild animals. 6My sheep were scattered, they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with no one to search or seek for them.
This was written around the early 570s B.C., but speaks to the problems we are having with leaders equally well in the twenty-first century. In fact, I would suggest we have here a standard to hold our leaders to as we head into the next presidential election season. We can ask ourselves which leaders are meeting the high standards of strengthening the weak, healing the sick, binding up the injured, bringing back the strays, seeking the lost, and foregoing the uses of harshness and force to get their way. Who among our future leaders are more concerned with drawing us together as a united people oriented toward love, hope, peace, and justice? Who would divide us that we might fall prey to the many voracious predators out there waiting for us?
It seems like a valuable standard for comparison to me.