Introduction & Background Most scholars agree that David (either as a shepherd boy or as King) wrote Psalm 23. This Psalm is written from a point of personal testimony ascribing honor and reverence to the Lord. Psalm 23 is also a praise or prayer directly to the Lord acknowledging all that He is doing and will do for the author/sheep. Psalm 23 out lines the benefits of having a relationship with the “Good Shepherd” Personal reflection, practical application, and hope for the future are all presented in this psalm.
Psalm 23 (KJV)The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake.4 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.5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Key Words The following are words and their meanings/interpretation to assist our understanding and to bring revelation of the author’s point of view.
Lord Hebrew: Y@hovah Jehovah = "the existing One" the proper name of the one true God The author (David) makes it clear who he is referring at the beginning of the text.
Shepherd Hebrew: Ra’ahAdapted from (Smith’s Bible Name Dictionary)- The ancestors of the Jews in the patriarchal age were nomads The office of the eastern shepherd was attended with much hardship, and even danger Shepherds were exposed to the extremes of heat and cold (Genesis 31:40) Shepherd had to encounter the attacks of wild beasts, occasionally of the larger species, such as lions, nerves, panthers and bears Nor was [The Shepherd] free from the risk of robbers or predators hordes (1 Samuel 17:34) Shepherds supplied the flock of sheep with water, either at a running stream or at troughs attached to wells At evening [The Shepherd] brought them back to the fold, and counted them to see that none were missing, and searched/fought for any stray. The shepherds office required great watchfulness, particularly by night It also required tenderness toward the young and feeble, (Isaiah 40:11) particularly in driving them to and from the pasturage
Soul Hebrew - nephesh Genesis 2:7 KJV- And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. –noun 1. the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part. 2. the spiritual part of humans regarded in its moral aspect, or as believed to survive death and be subject to happiness or misery in a life to come the emotional part of human nature; the seat of the feelings or sentiments shared ethnic awareness and pride among black people, especially black Americans.
RestoreHebrew: ShuwbSynonyms: repay, renew, refresh, requite recompense, reward, reactivate, mend, rebuild, reverse, reinstate (etc.)–verb (used with object), -stored, -stor·ing. to bring back into existence, use, or the like; reestablish: to restore order. 2. to bring back to a former, original, or normal condition, as a building, statue, or painting. 3. to bring back to a state of health, soundness, or vigor. 4. to put back to a former place, or to a former position, rank, etc.: to restore the king to his throne. 5. to give back; make return or restitution of (anything taken away or lost). 6. to reproduce or reconstruct (an ancient building, extinct animal, etc.) in the original state.
Leads Hebrew: Nahal Verb to lead, give rest, lead with care, guide to a watering place or station, cause to rest, bring to a station or place of rest, guide, refresh (Piel) to lead to a watering-place or station and cause to rest there to lead or bring to a station or goal to lead, guide to give rest to to refresh (with food) (Hithpael) to lead on to journey by stations or stages
Prepares Hebrew: `arak to arrange, set or put or lay in order, set in array, prepare, order, ordain, handle, furnish, esteem, equal, direct, compare (Qal) to arrange or set or lay in order, arrange, state in order, set forth (a legal case), set in place to compare, be comparable (Hiphil) to value, tax to put in proper condition or readiness to get (a meal) ready for eating, as by proper assembling, cooking, etc. to make ready beforehand for some approaching event, need, and the like
Anoints Hebrew: Dashen to be fat, grow fat, become fat, become prosperous, anoint –verb (used with object) 1. to rub or sprinkle on; apply an unguent, ointment, or oily liquid to. 2. to smear with any liquid. 3. to consecrate or make sacred in a ceremony that includes the token applying of oil: He anointed the new high priest. 4. to dedicate to the service of God/deity.
The Promises of Psalm 23 We have a “Shepherd” watching over us with great care [to feed, guide, and shield us] AMP . V-1 Our Shepherd will provide all that we need. V-1 He will lead us to places of prosperity where we can find rest. V-2 He faithfully refreshes and restores our soul (mind, emotions, will). V-3 He promises by His Name to lead us down the right path. V-3 In the darkest circumstances (even facing death) He will help us not to fear. V-4
The Promises of Psalm 23 (cont’d) We do not have to fear because He is with us and He equips us with a rod (protection) and a staff (guidance) to comfort us. V-4 He will bless us for all to see, especially our enemies. V-5 He will set us aside for His use over taking us with His Spirit. V-5 He guarantees that goodness, mercy, and unfailing love (AMP) will follow us all our days. V-6 Through the length of our days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be our dwelling place. V-6