Psalms 23

The LORD, the Psalmist's Shepherd.


A Psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my 1shepherd, I shall 2not want.
2 He makes me lie down in 3green pastures; He 4leads me beside 5quiet waters.
3 He 6restores my soul; He 7guides me in the 8paths of righteousness For His name's sake.
4 Even though I 9walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I 10fear no evil, for 11You are with me; Your 12rod and Your staff, they comfort me
5 You 13prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have 14anointed my head with oil; My 15cup overflows.
6 Surely 16goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will 17dwell in the house of the LORD forever *.

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Psalms 23 Commentary

Chapter 23

Confidence in God's grace and care.

- "The Lord is my shepherd." In these words, the believer is taught to express his satisfaction in the care of the great Pastor of the universe, the Redeemer and Preserver of men. With joy he reflects that he has a shepherd, and that shepherd is Jehovah. A flock of sheep, gentle and harmless, feeding in verdant pastures, under the care of a skilful, watchful, and tender shepherd, forms an emblem of believers brought back to the Shepherd of their souls. The greatest abundance is but a dry pasture to a wicked man, who relishes in it only what pleases the senses; but to a godly man, who by faith tastes the goodness of God in all his enjoyments, though he has but little of the world, it is a green pasture. The Lord gives quiet and contentment in the mind, whatever the lot is. Are we blessed with the green pastures of the ordinances, let us not think it enough to pass through them, but let us abide in them. The consolations of the Holy Spirit are the still waters by which the saints are led; the streams which flow from the Fountain of living waters. Those only are led by the still waters of comfort, who walk in the paths of righteousness. The way of duty is the truly pleasant way. The work of righteousness in peace. In these paths we cannot walk, unless. God lead us into them, and lead us on in them. Discontent and distrust proceed from unbelief; an unsteady walk is the consequence: let us then simply trust our Shepherd's care, and hearken to his voice. The valley of the shadow of death may denote the most severe and terrible affliction, or dark dispensation of providence, that the psalmist ever could come under. Between the part of the flock on earth and that which is gone to heaven, death lies like a dark valley that must be passed in going from one to the other. But even in this there are words which lessen the terror. It is but the shadow of death: the shadow of a serpent will not sting, nor the shadow of a sword kill. It is a valley, deep indeed, and dark, and miry; but valleys are often fruitful, and so is death itself fruitful of comforts to God's people. It is a walk through it: they shall not be lost in this valley, but get safe to the mountain on the other side. Death is a king of terrors, but not to the sheep of Christ. When they come to die, God will rebuke the enemy; he will guide them with his rod, and sustain them with his staff. There is enough in the gospel to comfort the saints when dying, and underneath them are the everlasting arms. The Lord's people feast at his table, upon the provisions of his love. Satan and wicked men are not able to destroy their comforts, while they are anointed with the Holy Spirit, and drink of the cup of salvation which is ever full. Past experience teaches believers to trust that the goodness and mercy of God will follow them all the days of their lives, and it is their desire and determination, to seek their happiness in the service of God here, and they hope to enjoy his love for ever in heaven. While here, the Lord can make any situation pleasant, by the anointing of his Spirit and the joys of his salvation. But those that would be satisfied with the blessings of his house, must keep close to the duties of it.

Cross References 17

  • 1. Psalms 78:52; Psalms 80:1; Isaiah 40:11; Jeremiah 31:10; Ezekiel 34:11-13; John 10:11; 1 Peter 2:25
  • 2. Psalms 34:9, 10; Philippians 4:19
  • 3. Psalms 65:11-13; Ezekiel 34:14
  • 4. Revelation 7:17
  • 5. Psalms 36:8; Psalms 46:4
  • 6. Psalms 19:7
  • 7. Psalms 5:8; Psalms 31:3
  • 8. Psalms 85:13; Proverbs 4:11; Proverbs 8:20
  • 9. Job 10:21, 22; Psalms 107:14
  • 10. Psalms 3:6; Psalms 27:1
  • 11. Psalms 16:8; Isaiah 43:2
  • 12. Micah 7:14
  • 13. Psalms 78:19
  • 14. Psalms 92:10; Luke 7:46
  • 15. Psalms 16:5
  • 16. Psalms 25:7, 10
  • 17. Psalms 27:4-6

Footnotes 9

Chapter Summary


\\<>\\. Thus psalm was written by David, either when he was in distressed circumstances, being persecuted by Saul, and was in the forest of Hareth, 1Sa 22:5; as some think {r}; wherefore he comforts himself with the Lord's being his shepherd, so that he should not want; nor would he fear, was he in worse circumstances than he at present was; or rather, when he was settled upon the throne of Israel, and in the most prosperous and flourishing state of his reign, as the latter part of the psalm shows; he speaks not in his own person only, but in the name of all believers; for Christ, who is the shepherd spoken of, is a common shepherd to all the saints, who are all the sheep of his pasture, as well as David; and the prophet here makes use of similes very familiar with him; he having been a shepherd himself, and knew what it was to do all the parts of that office, which are herein expressed; and very pertinently does this psalm follow the former; for as there Christ is prophesied of as laying down his life for the sheep, as the good shepherd does; and of his being brought again from the dead, as the great shepherd of the sheep, as Christ has been; so here of his performing his office as such, in all its parts, to the great comfort, refreshment, and safety of his people. {r} Jarchi & Kimchi.

Psalms 23 Commentaries

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