Psalms

PSALM 23*

The Lord, Shepherd and Host

1A psalm of David.

I

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.

II

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 23:14) and a host’s generosity toward a guest (Ps 23:56). 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 34:1116; Jn 10:1118).

* [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.

b. [23:3] Prv 4:11.

c. [23:4] Jb 10:2122; Is 50:10.

d. [23:5] Ps 92:11.

e. [23:5] Ps 16:5.

f. [23:6] Ps 27:4.

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