XXshep-kot, shep-kot, shep-fold (gedherah, mikhlah, mishpethayim, naweh; aule): At night the sheep are driven into a sheepfold if they are in a district where there is danger from robbers or wild beasts. These folds are simple walled enclosures (Nu 32:16; Jdg 5:16; 2 Ch 32:28; Ps 78:70; Zeph 2:6; Jn 10:1). On the top of the wall is heaped thorny brushwood as a further safeguard. Sometimes there is a covered hut in the corner for the shepherd. Where there is no danger the sheep huddle together in the open until daylight, while the shepherd watches over them (Gen 31:39; Lk 2:8). In the winter time caves are sought after (1 Sam 24:3; Zeph 2:6). The antiquity of the use of some of the caves for this purpose is indicated by the thick deposit of potassium nitrate formed from the decomposition of the sheep dung.
James A. Patch