Psalm 23 - One Of The Crown Jewels Of Scripture - Introduction.
Psa. 23: One Of The Crown Jewels Of Scripture - Introduction.
Psa 23:1 (KJV) A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I
shall not want.
Psa 23:2 (KJV) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he
leadeth me beside the still waters.
Psa 23:3 (KJV) He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths
of righteousness for his name's sake.
Psa 23:4 (KJV) Yea, though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and
thy staff they comfort me.
Psa 23:5 (KJV) Thou preparest a table before me in the presence
of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth
Psa 23:6 (KJV) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all
the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for
Psa 23:1 (CWR) The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I
Psa 23:2 (CWR) He lets me lie down in green meadows. He leads
me beside quiet waters.
Psa 23:3 (CWR) He restores the strength of my soul. He guides
me along paths of righteousness.
Psa 23:4 (CWR) Even when I walk through a valley of frightful
shadows facing death, I will fear no evil, because you are with me. Your
rod and staff comfort me.
Psa 23:5 (CWR) You spread out a banquet for me in the presence
of my enemies. You anoint my head with drops of oil. My heart
overflows with gratitude.
Psa 23:6 (CWR) Your goodness and mercy will be with me every
day of my life, and I will live with the Lord in His house forever.
Psa 23:1 (TLB) Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have
everything I need!
Psa 23:2 (TLB) He lets me rest in the meadow grass and leads me
beside the quiet streams.
Psa 23:3 (TLB) He gives me new strength. He helps me do what
honors him the most.
Psa 23:4 (TLB) Even when walking through the dark valley of
death I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, guarding,
guiding all the way.
Psa 23:5 (TLB) You provide delicious food for me in the
presence of my enemies. You have welcomed me as your guest; blessings
Psa 23:6 (TLB) Your goodness and unfailing kindness shall be
with me all of my life, and afterwards I will live with you forever
in your home.
INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW STATEMENTS
Psalms 22, 23, and 24 form a trilogy. In Ps 22 the
Shepherd gives His life for the sheep (John 10:11); in Ps 23 the
Shepherd, "brought again from the dead . . . through the blood of the
everlasting covenant" (Heb 13:20), tenderly cares for His sheep; in Ps 24
the Shepherd appears as King of glory to reward His sheep (1
Pet 5:4). [Scofield SB]
A Trinity of Shepherd Psalms: Psalms 22, 23, and 24 form a trio
of songs about the Lord our Shepherd. In Psalm 22 He is the Good
Shepherd who gives His life for the sheep (John 10:11); in Psalm 23 He is
the Great Shepherd who guides and provides (Hebrews 13:20); and in
Psalm 24 He is the Chief Shepherd, the sovereign Lord of the sheep (1
Peter 5:4). By the way, is He your Shepherd? [Your Daily Walk SB]
Psalm 23 is the best known psalm [Jamieson, Fausset, And Brown
Psalm 23 has always been one of the favorite, most quoted
passages in the Old Testament. The early Christian church sang this song
when people were baptized. [Youth SB]
Some think it was written by David in his exile, which is not
likely; others, that he penned it when he was finally delivered from the
persecution of Saul. I rather incline to the opinion that it was written
after the captivity. (Adam Clarke Commentary)
Each of the OT names for God is seen in this psalm:
Jehovah-Jireh, "The Lord will provide" (Gen. 22:13-14); Jehovah-Rapha, "The
Lord will heal or restore" (Ex. 15:26); Jehovah-Shalom, "The Lord our
peace" (Jud. 6:24); Jehovah-Tsidkenu, "The Lord our righteousness,"
(Jer. 23:6); Jehovah-Shammah, "The Lord is there," (Ezek. 48:35);
Jehovah-Nissi, "The Lord our banner" (Ex. 17:8-15); and Jehovah-Raah, "The Lord
my shepherd" (Ps. 23:1). In other words, Jesus Christ is to His
sheep all that they ever need. [Wiersbe Expository Outlines]
A profession of joyful trust in the Lord as the good
Shepherd-King. [NIV SB]
The psalm can be divided into two balanced stanzas, each having
four couplets (a couplet is one line of Hebrew poetry): [NIV SB]
Psalm 23 is a psalm of trust. Within the six verses there is a
development of the single theme of the first verse: .... no fear or concern,
for the Lord is his Shepherd. [Nelson SB]
The psalm has always been regarded as one of exquisite beauty.
The main subject is the watchful care which God had extended over
the author, and the consequent assurance which he felt that God
would still watch over him, and supply all his need. The leading
thought-- the essential idea-- is, his full belief that God would provide
for him, and that he would never be left to want. (Barnes' Notes)
The psalm may be regarded as consisting of two main parts: I.
The general subject of the psalm-- the confidence of the author in
God-- the assurance that he would always so provide for him that he
would not want, . II. The grounds or reasons for this
confidence, . (Barnes' Notes)
There are two principle metaphors of the Lord's goodness: he is
like a "shepherd" who is interested in each sheep (vv. 1-4), and he
is like a host who has prepared a lavish banquet (vv. 5-6).
[Expositors Bible Commentary]
David's most beautiful song of trust; pictures the Lord as the
great shepherd who provides for and protects His sheep (vv. 1-4) and
as the gracious host who protects and provides abundantly for His
guests (vv. 5-6). [Ryrie SB]
While some have pointed to the diversity of the two metaphoric
portrayals of God (shepherd, generous host), these two can be seen as one:
the kingship of God. In the ancient Near East kings often referred
to themselves as shepherds, and the meal of the generous host also
fits a royal banquet setting. God is seen as the good, generous, and
protective king. [Jamieson, Fausset, And Brown Commentary]
This psalm is one of the most beloved passages of the Bible, one
of the crown jewels of Scripture. Although it is customarily
thought of as the "Shepherd Psalm," and rightly so, this psalm of David
actually encompasses three distinct scenes: (1) the shepherd scene (vv.
1-4), (2) the host or banquet scene (v. 5), and (3) the home or
heavenly scene (v. 6). [Believer's SB]
Hebrews 13:20-21 informs us that today Jesus is the Great
Shepherd who cares for the sheep. We are His sheep, and as we follow Him
He ministers to us. Christ did not simply die for us; He rose again
and lives for us. He is the Great Shepherd, the Great High Priest.
"I shall not want" is the theme of Ps. 23. "I shall not want" for:
rest and refreshment (v. 2), restoration and righteousness (v. 3),
protection in trouble (v. 4), provision in the wilderness (v. 5), and a
home to go to at the end of the day (v. 6). [Wiersbe Expository
The psalm expresses confidence in God's goodness--in this life
and in the life to come. The personal way in which the psalmist
speaks of God, the imagery of God's soothing guidance, and the ensuing
confidence in God have all been factors in making this one of the most
charming and beloved of the Psalms. The universal appeal of this psalm
lies in the comfort it gives to those who have confronted the most
difficult periods of life:... [Expositors Bible Commentary]
As a song of trust, this psalm has no peer. It is impossible to
estimate its effect upon man through the centuries. Grief, sadness, and
doubt have been driven away by this strong affirmation of faith.
Peace, contentment, and trust have been the blessings upon those who
have come to share the psalmist's sublime confidence. While the
language is simple and the meaning clear, no one has been able to exhaust
the message of the poem or improve upon its quiet beauty. [Wycliffe
David has left no sweeter psalm than the short twenty-third
psalm!... it is the nightingale of the Psalms..... It has charmed more
griefs to rest than all the philosophy of the world. It has remanded to
their dungeon more felon thoughts, more black doubts, more thieving
sorrows, than there are sands on the sea-shore. It has comforted the
noble host of the poor. It has sung courage to the army of the
disappointed. It has poured balm and consolation into the heart of the sick,
of captives in dungeons, of widows in their pinching griefs, of
orphans in their loneliness. Dying soldiers have died easier as it was
read to them; ghastly hospitals have been illuminated; it has visited
the prisoner, and broken his chains, and, like Peter's angel, led
him forth in imagination and sung him back to his home again. It has
made the dying Christian slave freer than his master, and consoled
those whom, dying, he left behind mourning, not so much that he was
gone, as because they were left behind, and could not go too. Nor is
its work done. It will go singing to your children and my children,
and to their children, through all the generations of time; nor will
it fold its wings until the last pilgrim is safe, and time ended;
and then it shall fly back to the bosom of God, from where it was
issued, and sound on, mingled with all those sounds of celestial joy
which make heaven musical forever.-- Beecher's Life Thoughts. (Barnes'
It has been said that what the nightingale is among birds, that
is this divine ode among the Psalms, for it has sung sweetly in the
ear of many a mourner in his night of weeping, and has bidden him
hope for a morning of joy. I will venture to compare it also to the
lark, which sings as it mounts, and mounts as it sings, until it is
out of sight, and even then is not out of hearing. Note the last
words of the psalm-- "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever;"
these are celestial notes, more fitted for the eternal mansions than
for these dwelling-places below the clouds. Oh that we may enter
into the spirit of the psalm as we read it, and then we shall
experience the days of heaven upon the earth!-- Spurgeon. (Barnes' Notes)