Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
The prophet has yet to pronounce a judgment upon unfaithful rulers, whose punishment will further the good of those whom they have misguided. He shows what the rulers should have been, what they have been, and what in the coming times they shall be when the True King shall reign in the true kingdom. Hence, follows a description of Messiah's reign.
Shepherds - Not priests or prophets, but rulers and kings (see the Jer 2:8 note). The most ancient title for "ruler" is a monogram which occurs on the oldest monuments discovered in the cuneiform character. In the Assyrian language it became riu (compare Hebrew רעה râ‛âh =shepherd). In the traditions of Berosus we find that Alorus, the first king in the world, received from the Divinity the title of Shepherd. The title, as well as the monogram, was preserved to the latest times of the Assyrian monarchy. While the distress and misery of the people daily in creased, the last kings of Judah exacted more and more from their subjects and lavished more and more on personal luxury and show.
Yahweh is the shepherd of His people. He will do all which the shepherds should have done and did not. These promises - partially fulfilled in the return from Babylon, and in the subsequent prosperity under the Maccabees - point to the ingathering of all nations in the Church of Christ the Good Shepherd. Compare Mat 18:11 : John 10:1-18; Rom 9:25-33.
The cloudy and dark day - Contrasted with the day in which the Lord will be among them like a shepherd to gather them together again.
With judgment - It is characteristic of Yahweh as a shepherd that He judges between sheep and sheep, rejecting the proud and accepting the penitent and broken-hearted.
Yahweh having promised to be a Ruler of His people, the administration of the divine kingdom is now described, as carried on by One King, the representative of David, whose dominion should fulfill all the promises originally made to the man after God's own heart. Ezekiel does not so much add to, as explain and develope, the original promise; and as the complete fulfillment of the spiritual blessings, which the prophets were guided to proclaim, was manifestly never realized in any temporal prosperity of the Jews, and never could and never can be realized in any earthly kingdom, we recognize throughout the Sacred Volume the one subject of all prophecy - the Righteous King, the Anointed Prince, the Son and the Lord of David.
One shepherd - One, as ruling over an undivided people, the distinction between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah having been done away.
My servant David - David was a fit type of the True King because he was a true and faithful servant of Yahweh. That which David was partially and imperfectly, Christ is in full perfection (compare Mat 12:18; Joh 5:30; Heb 10:7.)
The blessings here foretold are especially those of the old covenant. The wilderness (or, pasture-country) and the woods, the places most exposed to beasts and birds of prey, become places of security. Under the new covenant Sion and the hills around are representative of God's Church; and temporal blessings are typical of the blessings showered down upon Christ's Church by Him who has vanquished the powers of evil.
A plant - Equivalent to the "Branch," under which name Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesy of the Messiah. The contrast in this verse to hunger seems to favor the idea that the "plant" was for food, i. e., spiritual food, and in this sense also, applicable to the Messiah (compare Joh 6:35.)
The shame of the pagan - The shameful reproaches with which the pagan assail them.
Translate "Ye are my flock, the flock of my pasture (compare Jer 23:1); ye are men, and I am your God."