The entire interview with the shepherds is below in this post. But I also made a read-a-loud version for you on YouTube. Here’s the link:
WHAT THE SHEPHERDS SAW IN BETHLEHEM
The Sanhedrim court in Jerusalem sent Jonathan, son of Heziel, to find out what really happened in Bethlehem, since so many reports had reached their ears. You can find Jonathan’s report in Sanhedrim 88B (like the Yoma 39b I did a video on a few years ago). The shepherds were outside and made the best witnesses. Here is what they saw…
“Jonathan, son Heziel, questions the shepherds and others at Bethlehem in regard to the strange circumstances reported to have occurred there, and reports to this court:
‘Jonathan, to the Masters of Israel, Servants of the True God:
In obedience to your order, I met with two men, who said they were shepherds, and were watching their flocks near Bethlehem. They told me that while attending their sheep, the night being cold and chilly, some of them had made fires to warm themselves, and some of them had laid down and were asleep; that they were awakened by those who were keeping watch with the questions: What does all this mean? and Behold, how light it is; that when they were aroused it was light as day. But they knew it was not daylight, for it was only the third watch.
All at once the air seemed to be filled with human voices, saying, Glory! Glory! Glory to the most high God! and Happy are thou, Bethlehem, for God hath fulfilled His promise to the fathers; for in thy chambers is born the King that shall rule in righteousness.
Their shoutings would rise up in the heavens, and then would sink down in mellow strains, and roll along at the foot of the mountains, and die away in the most soft and musical manner they had ever heard; then it would begin again high up in the heavens, in the very vaults of the sky, and descend in sweet and melodious strains, so that they could not refrain from shouting and weeping at the same time.
The light would seem to burst forth high up in the heavens, and then descend in softer rays and light up the hills and valleys, making everything more visible than the light of the sun, though it was no so brilliant, but clearer, like the brightest moon.
I asked them how they felt – if they were not afraid; they said at first they were; but after awhile it seemed to calm their spirits, and so fill their hearts with love and tranquility that they felt more like giving thanks than anything else. They said it was around the whole city, and some of the people were almost scared to death.
Some said the world was on fire; some said the gods were coming down to destroy them; others said a star had fallen; until Melker the priest came out shouting and clapping his hands, seeming to be frantic with joy. The people all came crowding around him, and he told them that it was the sign that God was coming to fulfill His promise made to their father Abraham.
He told us that fourteen hundred years before God had appeared to Abraham, and told him to put all Israel under bonds – sacred bonds of obedience; and if they would be faithful, he would give them a Saviour to redeem them from sin, and that he would give them eternal life, and that they should hunger no more; that the time of their suffering should cease forever; and that the sign of his coming would be that light would shine from on high, and the angels would announce his coming, and their voices should be heard in the city, and the people should rejoice: and a virgin that was pure should travail in pain and bring forth her first born, and he should rule all flesh by sanctifying it and making it obedient.
After Melker had addressed the people in a loud voice, he and all the old Jews went into the synagogue and remained there praising God and giving thanks.”
Translation from The Archko Volume: Archeological Writings of the Sandhedrim & Talmuds of the Jews, Chapter Four.