And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: Ezekiel 20:37
A Christian missionary gives the following interesting explanation of this figurative expression:
" In Syria, just below my house, which stood facing the Mediterranean Sea, there was a sheepfold; a large area surrounded by high walls. It had but one entrance, a little gateway near the corner. It was low and narrow, and a man must stoop to get into it. Every night the shepherd brings home his flock from outside the city, or from the distant field, or the mountain side, to be gathered into this fold.
And as they pass into this narrow gateway, they must go one by one. No huddling, and crowding, and jostling, as boys do sometimes at play; and as they pass in, the shepherd stands by the gate and holds his crook over them, to count them one by one as they go in. Every night the shepherd does this, and so he knows if any are left out in the field or on the mountains.
And to this counting of the sheep as they pass under the rod, I wish to call attention. We have always supposed, and most people now think, that to pass under the rod means to pass under some affliction, to experience some great trial. Some one has written a touching piece of poetry, called, ' Passing under the Rod,' showing how one and another was afflicted, and made to pass under the rod of God's chastisement. It does not mean any such thing, as you will see by two passages of Scripture.
Leviticus 27: 32—' And concerning the tithe of the herd and of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.'
Jeremiah 33:13—'In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judca shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth (counteth) them.'
This is a work of restoration, and the fields there shall have flocks in great number, and they shall pass under the hand of the shepherd, who tells them one by one as he gathers them into the fold."