The Lord, Shepherd and Host
1A psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd;*
there is nothing I lack.a
2In green pastures he makes me lie down;
to still waters he leads me;
3bhe restores my soul.
He guides me along right paths*
for the sake of his name.
4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,c
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff comfort me.
5*You set a table before me
in front of my enemies;*
You anoint my head with oil;*d
my cup overflows.e
6Indeed, goodness and mercy* will pursue me
all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of the LORDf
for endless days.
* [Psalm 23] God’s loving care for the psalmist is portrayed under the figures of a shepherd for the flock (Ps 23:1–4) and a host’s generosity toward a guest (Ps 23:5–6). The imagery of both sections is drawn from traditions of the exodus (Is 40:11; 49:10; Jer 31:10).
* [23:1] My shepherd: God as good shepherd is common in both the Old Testament and the New Testament (Ez 34:11–16; Jn 10:11–18).
* [23:3] Right paths: connotes “right way” and “way of righteousness.”
* [23:5] You set a table before me: this expression occurs in an exodus context in Ps 78:19. In front of my enemies: my enemies see that I am God’s friend and guest. Oil: a perfumed ointment made from olive oil, used especially at banquets (Ps 104:15; Mt 26:7; Lk 7:37, 46; Jn 12:2).
* [23:6] Goodness and mercy: the blessings of God’s covenant with Israel.
a. [23:1] Ps 80:2; 95:7; 100:3; Dt 2:7.
c. [23:4] Jb 10:21–22; Is 50:10.