Few people fail to realize psalm 23 the simplistic beauty and comfort contained inside the Twenty-third Psalm. Many of you understand it by heart. I sense incredibly like a traveller manual standing earlier than you within the shadow of a marvelous mountain height, attempting to describe its beauty—or like a guide in an artwork museum telling you of the magnificence of a priceless portray which has been universally seemed as a traditional work for decades. Perhaps Bernhard Anderson has high-quality expressed the price of the Twenty-0.33 Psalm while he wrote,
No single psalm has expressed greater powerfully man’s prayer of self belief ‘out of the depths’ to the God whose reason by myself gives which means to the span of lifestyles, from womb to tomb.74
While few of us understand the existence of the shepherd inside the historical Near East, maximum have been able to hold close the message of consolation and guarantee conveyed inside the psalm. Especially in times of misery, together with the death of a cherished one, we instinctively turn to the assuring words, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall no longer want.”
The purpose of this message is to help us extra truly understand the imagery used to carry consolation and calm to the soul of individuals who are a part of God’s flock by using religion in Jesus Christ. Additionally, we are able to explore new approaches in which the reality of this psalm may be applied to our lives. Furthermore, due to the fact that we are all to be shepherds of God’s flock inside the broadest experience, we are able to examine a superb deal no longer best about our Shepherd, however also about shepherding.
David is identified in the superscription as the writer of the psalm. We are hardly surprised. After all, David was a shepherd in his teens (1 Sam. 16:eleven; 17:15, 28, 34-36). David’s shepherding days (like the ones of his predecessor Moses, cf. Exod. 3:1) served to put together him for shepherding God’s flock, the kingdom Israel: “He also selected David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds; from the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He added him, to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance” (Ps. 78:70-seventy one).
It may appear at the beginning glance that David would have written this psalm as a boy whilst tending his flock. No doubt David did write psalms as he spent lonely hours together with his flocks within the field, however it’s far difficult to imagine that a psalm of such depth could have been written by a younger lad.Seventy five A younger lad is aware of little of the risks and disappointments of life or of the opposition which is noted in verses 4 and 5. If the “house of the Lord” in verse 6 is a connection with the temple, it become most effective a future wish later in David’s existence, not in his teens (cf. 2 Sam. 7).
There is a truthful quantity of disagreement about the structural divisions of Psalm 23, primarily based upon differences of opinion within the number of poetic pics hired. Some see best one photo—the shepherd’s, which underlies the whole psalm. Others believe there may be also the photo of the hospitable host or the friend in verses 5 and six. Some even see the imagery of a guide in verses 3 and 4. I am willing to see two photographs inside the psalm, that of the shepherd (vv. 1-4) and that of the host (vv. Five-6).Seventy six With this background in thoughts, allow us to begin our look at of Psalm 23.
The Sheep and the Shepherd
1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall no longer want. 2 He makes me lie down in inexperienced pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. Three He restores my soul; He guides me within the paths of righteousness For His call’s sake. Four Even though I stroll through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou artwork with me; Thy rod and Thy workforce, they consolation me. (NASB)
Knowing David turned into a shepherd in his early years, we may be willing to interpret this psalm from the attitude of the shepherd. Phillip Keller has written a e-book on Psalm 23 entitled A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, which has many helpful insights. He writes from the historical past of growing up in East Africa and later making his residing as a sheep rancher for about eight years. However as Keller points out,77 the vantage point of the psalm is from the attitude of the sheep, not that of the shepherd. I am tempted to entitle those verses, “A Sheep Looks at his Shepherd in Psalm 23.” Let us then remember our Great Shepherd from the perspective of the sheep.
The shepherd subject is introduced in the first verse: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not need.”
The shepherd picture became very common in the historic Near East78 and very obviously based totally upon one of the main occupations of that day. The Israelites, especially, have been known as shepherds (cf. Gen. 46:28-34). The time period “shepherd” came to be used in a far broader manner,seventy nine describing management either of an individual or a group. Jacob talked about God as “The God who has been my shepherd all my existence …” (Gen. 48:15; cf. Forty nine:24). The title of shepherd turned into given to kings, mainly David (2 Sam. 5:2; 7:7; Ps. 78:71), and the Messiah who became to come, of whom David turned into a kind (Ezek. 34:23-24; Mic. Five:four). Thus the Lord Jesus diagnosed himself because the Good Shepherd (John 10:eleven; cf. Heb. Thirteen:20; 1 Pet. 2:25; five:4).
When David stated Yahweh as his shepherd, he thought of Him not simplest as his issuer and protector but also as his king. He notion of God as his shepherd with the breadth of that means this term conveyed inside the historic Near East (in standard) and in the Law (specially). Because God changed into David’s shepherd, he lacked (desired) not anything. A true shepherd is all a sheep desires considering that an awesome shepherd, with the aid of his very nature will usually supply all of the sheep’s needs. In a similar way, a great father will provide for every need of his child.
As a younger boy I became troubled by the language of this verse and concept the expression, “I shall no longer want,” supposed that David didn’t want the shepherd. Now I take into account that David supposed that considering the fact that he had the Lord as his shepherd, he had no other need; he became lacking not anything. The significance of this announcement can infrequently be overemphasized. All thru the a while Satan has attempted to portray God as a begrudging giver who handiest provides while He need to. Satan desires to mislead individuals who consider in God, and needs them to consider they’re missing and disadvantaged of the great things in life. This is the photograph Satan tried to paint in suggesting that God had withheld the fruit of every tree of the lawn from Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:1). God is also portrayed as a begrudging giver in the temptation of our Lord (Matt. 4:1-11) and in the caution of Paul regarding the doctrine of demons (1 Tim. Four:1-4).
The mentality in the back of David’s phrases is absolutely opposed to the Madison Avenue propaganda wherein we are constantly being told that we have many desires, all of which can be met via shopping for a few new (or antique) product. We want “intercourse attraction” so we have to buy a new toothpaste, a new form of mouthwash and a new emblem of soap. We need self-confidence and a better self-photograph, therefore we should wear stylish clothing determined by the garment industry. Our whole mode of thinking is “need-focused.” David tells us that to have God as our shepherd is certainly to have the whole lot we need. He who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-worrying, is sufficient; He is sufficient. With Him we want not anything else (cf. Ps. Seventy three:25-26).
Israel had discovered God to be a faithful company of their wishes throughout their years inside the wilderness: “For the Lord your God has blessed you in all that you have done; He has recognised your wanderings thru this splendid wasteland. These 40 years the Lord your God has been with you; you haven’t lacked a thing” (Deut. 2:7).
The Israelites additionally had God’s assurance that they could lack nothing after they possessed the land of Canaan:
For the Lord your God is bringing you into an excellent land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig timber and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you shall eat meals without scarcity, in which you shall now not lack whatever; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you could dig copper (Deut. Eight:7-nine).
We must be very cautious here, however, that we do not pass too some distance. We need to no longer understand David to mean that with God as his shepherd he had the whole lot one may want to likely choice or possess; this would be as incorrect as to suppose that Israel by no means did with out something whilst within the desolate tract (cf. Deut. 2:7, above). In Deuteronomy 8 Moses advised the Israelites that God “allow them to be hungry” to check them and to teach them (vv. 2-3). The clear implication of David’s announcement in Psalm 23:1 is that as certainly one of God’s sheep he’ll lack not anything which is important for his exceptional hobby. Verses four and five confirm this as properly. As David wrote someplace else: The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall no longer be in want of any desirable factor (Ps. 34:10, emphasis mine; cf. Additionally Ps. 84:11).
In verses 2-four David describes the ones things for which he, as God’s sheep, will by no means lack. It is vital to offer a phrase of warning as we method those verses packed with poetic imagery and therefore vulnerable to abuse. David is describing God’s dating to him in terms of a kindly shepherd’s courting to one in all his sheep. It is to be predicted that he’s going to talk of God’s care in sheep-like phrases. We should be cautious, but, no longer to limit David’s which means most effective to a literal, non-spiritual feel. Conversely, we ought to no longer allow the imagery be carried too far so that we start to see an excessive amount of. There is a completely delicate balance required whilst we strive to interpret this sort of poetic imagery.80
I am inclined to assume that the emphasis of verses 2-3a falls upon the rest which the Good Shepherd offers for his sheep. This appears to be the factor of the important thing terms in every line. The expression “lie down” speaks of rest (cf. The usage of the same time period in Gen. 29:2; Isa. 17:2; Ezek. 34:15). Leupold81 reminds us that sheep do now not graze mendacity down. From Ezekiel 34:15 I keep in mind that the sheep might lie right down to relaxation after having been fed. The good enough provision of lush pasture land, or “grassy meadows”eighty two and “quiet waters” (literally, “waters of rest,” margin, NASB)eighty three to which the shepherd has led his sheep, reasons them to lie down in rest.
The first line of verse three, “He restores my soul,” continues this identical notion of the relaxation which God presents for his sheep. Taken in its most literal and restrained experience, this expression conveys David’s thought that God “renews and sustains my existence.”84 As David’s shepherd, God gives him with relaxation and recuperation. He does this with the aid of supplying him with the vital provisions of meals and water, which sheep require. Rest is in reality related to the desired bodily provisions of meals and water, but relaxation is likewise related to recovery. In order to be refreshed and renewed in spirit, rest is a prerequisite.
Psalm 23 can not be completely preferred aside from the word of God spoken to Israel via the prophet Ezekiel. Against the backdrop of the fake shepherds who had abused and oppressed God’s flock, God promised to return to His people as their shepherd and to give them rest:
For consequently says the Lord God, “Behold, I Myself will look for My sheep and are seeking them out. As a shepherd cares for his herd within the day whilst he is among his scattered sheep, so I will take care of My sheep and will deliver them from all of the locations to which they had been scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. And I will deliver them out from the peoples and acquire them from the countries and bring them to their very own land; and I will feed them at the mountains of Israel, by means of the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground may be at the mountain heights of Israel. There they’ll lie down in proper grazing floor, and they will feed in wealthy pasture at the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock and I will cause them to rest,” proclaims the Lord God (Ezek. 34:eleven-15).
It appears that there may be a spiritual meaning implied in Psalm 23:2-3a85 which presses beyond the literal that means of physical nourishment and rest. This is strongly advised by way of David’s use of the identical expression “to restore the soul” in Psalm 19: “The law of the Lord is best, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is positive, making wise the simple” (Ps. 19:7).
While a shepherd presents his sheep with meals, rest, and restoration, God offers His sheep with His Word, that’s the precept way of giving non secular nourishment, relaxation, and recuperation.
The second and 0.33 strains of verse 3 remind us that as a shepherd leads his flock, so God courses His people: “He guides me inside the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
Guidance86 is identified as one of the principle tasks of the shepherd. He leads his sheep to locations of nourishment and rest (v. 2), but he additionally leads them in the proper paths. Often it’s miles essential for the shepherd to guide his flock amazing distances to discover each pasture and water. Some paths are dangerous and have to be avoided. The correct shepherd leads his sheep inside the right paths.
God’s guidance in the existence of a believer is greater than only a rely of leading us inside the “proper route”; it involves His main us in “paths of righteousness.”87 What a extremely good phrase of comfort for those who appear to suppose that God’s will is some sort of thriller, regarded handiest to the few who’re so lucky to locate it. One of the assurances the psalmist is confident he’s going to by no means lack is the main of God in his life. Let us examine from David that we can be confident of God’s leading in our lives when the Lord is our Shepherd, for the shepherd continually leads his flock.
Verse 4 gives us yet another motive why God can be relied on to guide His sheep. He courses us “for His name’s sake.” A. A. Anderson has effectively caught the pressure of this expression while he renders it, “he acts for the sake of his popularity.”88 The degree of a shepherd is the situation of his flock. God’s reputation rests upon His potential to manual and take care of His human beings. Just as parents are evaluated by way of the manner they care for their youngsters, shepherds are judged by using the condition of their flocks. God’s reputation as seen by means of His care of His humans is the premise of Moses’ enchantment for mercy when God threatened to wipe out the country for the incident related to the golden calf (Exod. 32:1-14, esp. Vv. 11-12). Paul tells us that God’s work of saving guys via grace changed into for the purpose of bringing reward “to the distinction of his grace” (cf. Eph. 1:5-6, 12, 14). We can be confident that God will guide His people because their lives mirror on Him as their Shepherd. What a extremely good warranty!
Verse four in addition qualifies the “I shall not need” of verse 1b. The reality that God changed into David’s shepherd did not preserve him from many trials and tribulations. His existence was sought without reason by way of king Saul, who became jealous of David’s achievement (cf. 1 Sam. 18:6-nine). In addition David sinned and suffered the painful results (cf. 2 Sam. Eleven–12; 1 Chron. 21). David changed into truely a “man of sorrows.” Nowhere did God promise David (or any other saint) freedom from the struggling and trials of existence. Even although God is our shepherd we are able to nonetheless go through attempting instances, however we are able to never “need” for the comfort which comes from His presence and His power.
In order for God’s sheep to be caused grassy meadows and restful streams, they must bypass via darkish and dangerous locations.89 The “paths of righteousness” (v. 3) are not usually non violent paths.Ninety While we’re never promised there will be no evil, we can be assured that we need “worry no evil” (v. Four), for we can constantly be within the Shepherd’s presence if we comply with Him in His paths.
There is a subtle however huge alternate which takes place in verse 4. Did you be aware the exchange of pronouns? The extra impersonal “he” of verses 2 and three is now the tons extra intimate “Thou” in verse 4.Ninety one As someone has discovered, God goes before us when the route is clean, but He stands beside us whilst the way is dangerous and horrifying. It is His presence which dispels our fears. Furthermore, His “rod” and “workforce” (v. 4c) supply us consolation. Whether there are two awesome gadgets indicated by using these two terms92 or simply one93 is open to discussion. The “rod” and the “personnel” serve here as contraptions of safety and assistance. They have been used each to push back enemies and to rescue straying sheep. Perhaps the disciplinary use of the “rod” is implied as well. Discipline may additionally appear unpleasant in the interim, but it is a comfort within the long time (cf. Heb. 12:5-12) and a motivation for us to “make our paths immediately” (Heb. 12:13). While God won’t always use His power to preserve us out of trials, His presence and His electricity will always be with us to preserve us through our trials. As He Himself said, “I will in no way wilderness you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb. 13:5; cf. Deut. 31:6; Josh. 1:5).
The Guest and the Hospitable Host
5 Thou dost prepare a desk before me in the presence of my enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will observe me all the days of my life, And I will stay within the residence of the LORD forever. (NASB)
David has described his relationship to God the usage of the imagery of the shepherd and his sheep. He now describes this identical dating employing the imagery of a hospitable host. The dating of a number together with his guest is even nearer than that of a shepherd along with his sheep.94 The shepherd motif want not be prolonged as a few endorse. Just as widely known in the ancient Near East turned into the importance of the hospitality offered to a traveler:
According to the Bedouin regulation of hospitality, as soon as a tourist is acquired into the shepherd’s tent, and especially as soon as his host has unfold food before him, he’s guaranteed immunity from enemies who can be trying to overhaul him. In pastoral circles no human safety is greater than that afforded by way of the hospitality of a Bedouin chief.95
No more safety or comfort may be acquired through a vacationer inside the ancient Near East than to be offered the hospitality of a domestic. It turned into understood that this became a provision of refuge and meals, however even more it turned into a assure of protection from damage. We can feel this from Old Testament passages along with Genesis 18:1-8, wherein Abram graciously entertained 3 “men” who surpassed with the aid of as strangers. More enlightening (and distressing!) is the passage inside the 19th chapter of Genesis, where Lot took the 2 “guys” (angels) into his house as visitors when the men of Sodom threatened to assault them:
But Lot went out to them at the entrance, and shut the door at the back of him, and said, “Please, my brothers, do now not act wickedly. Now behold, I actually have two daughters who have now not had members of the family with guy; please let me convey them out to you, and do to them some thing you want; most effective do nothing to those men, inasmuch as they have got come under the refuge of my roof” (Gen. 19:6-8).
Whether or now not we’re able to draw close how a father ought to offer his virgin daughters to any such mob, we should at least benefit some appreciation for the strong sense of obligation Lot felt to the two men in view of his hospitality.Ninety six Psalm 23:five describes this sort of defensive hospitality.
To take a seat as a guest at the table of a bunch become to be confident of food, housing, fellowship and protection. The desk prepared within the presence of David’s enemies changed into the host’s public assertion to them now not to try and molest David in any manner. This supplied high-quality safety, particularly for the reason that host was a person of impact and generosity. The amount of protection which any host may want to offer depended upon his status and power. The abundance of his provisions indicated that he become a rich, powerful, and generous guy. To have the hospitality of one of these host was to be comfortable certainly!
The psalmist’s head changed into anointed with oil, a beneficiant gesture97 which bestowed honor on him as an esteemed guest. The cup changed into likewise a gesture of generosity. It become not half-crammed, but going for walks over. David became not served “leftovers,” but become abundantly given the finest provisions within the house. Satisfaction, significance, and security are all abundantly provided to the believer by way of God, as indicated through the imagery of the hospitable host.Ninety eight An even extra fellowship and graciousness is suggested by means of the hospitality motif than through that of the pastoral imagery.
As a end result of the provisions of verse five David can optimistically summarize his protection in the phrases of verse 6: “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will comply with me all the days of my life, and I will live inside the house of the Lord forever.”
Goodness and lovingkindness are in all likelihood the 2 maximum comforting attributes of God’s character for the Christian. They are particularly consoling in times of misery. These characteristics of God are related to His covenant with Israel.99 In assessment with the depraved guy, who’s beset by way of judgment and calamity (Ps. 35:6; one hundred forty:11), the righteous guy isn’t always just followed through goodness and kindness, however pursued by it.One hundred As a guest at God’s desk, his enemies not stalk David; rather God’s goodness pursues him.One hundred and one God now not only walks earlier than us, main us to locations of rest and refreshment, however His goodness follows us from behind as nicely.
Most drastically, David is not a visitor for a few days at the house of his gracious host; he’s a everlasting a part of this family. There is an vintage Greek announcing that is going something like this: “A visitor is like a fish … After three days, he stinks.” To be a visitor in God’s house isn’t limited to a few days. David is assured that he’s going to “reside inside the residence of the Lord”102 for all time.103
The temple changed into now not yet built in David’s day. Although he favored to build the temple, this task became left to his son Solomon (2 Sam. 7). David can also have been looking ahead to that destiny day in eternity while he may want to fellowship with God within the temple. It may be, however, that David is in reality looking ahead to persevered fellowship and communion with God as he has already skilled it in his existence. God’s care within the beyond is but a pattern, a sort of first-fruits of what is but ahead.
The advantages and the calmness of soul which David experienced in his lifestyles and expressed on this psalm would be a pleasure to anyone, but how can we be assured of them in our lives? The answer is almost too easy to trust: a good way to enjoy the advantages of the care of the Good Shepherd we ought to be one of His sheep. In the phrases of the Good Shepherd Himself: ““My sheep pay attention My voice, and I realize them, and they comply with Me; and I supply eternal lifestyles to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall clutch them out of My hand” (John 10:27-28).
Those who revel in the advantages of being cared for by the Good Shepherd (John 10:14) are individuals who understand the Shepherd’s voice and who follow Him. They understand that He has laid down His lifestyles for them (John 10:15). They enter into everlasting blessings via Jesus Christ who is the door to the sheepfold (John 10:1ff.). Those who do no longer agree with in Jesus Christ as their Shepherd aren’t sheep, but “dogs” and “hogs” (cf. 2 Pet. 2:22).
It is first rate to contemplate that so that it will grow to be the Good Shepherd our Lord first had to turn out to be a sheep—the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the sector (cf. John 1:29). If you would experience the comfort and comfort of Psalm 23, you may best accomplish that as a sheep, as a guest who has been invited to take a seat on the Lord’s table. Christian comfort is best for Christians.
One of the instructions of Psalm 23 is that anyone who’s certainly one of God’s flock (by using private religion in Christ) is in my opinion cared for as one in all God’s sheep. In our church we emphasize “body existence,” and I consider this is rightly so. Never neglect that at the same time as you also are one among God’s flock, His take care of you is an person kind of care, now not simply as a range of or as a chain of perforations in a computer card. David by no means misplaced his experience of man or woman pastoral care from the hand of his Shepherd.
Two doubts tend to make us query this kind of non-public and individual care. The first is tribulation. Some appear to experience that God cares about them handiest whilst the whole thing goes properly. In sheep-like phrases, they suppose God is with them simplest whilst they’re mendacity in grassy meadows alongside restful waters. However, after they discover themselves in a dark valley they question the presence and the pastoral care of their Shepherd. David never lost his assurance of God’s care and His retaining. In fact, in instances of distress, God’s care and retaining become more positive than ever. The 2d purpose of doubt is while our “under-shepherds” fail us. God cares for us personally, however He additionally cares for us thru others. When human shepherds fail us, we may additionally begin to question the priority of the Good Shepherd. Let us study that God Himself by no means fails us, never leaves us, and never will forsake us.
While this message does no longer live on this place of software, permit me to indicate that Psalm 23 not handiest describes the Good Shepherd, however additionally top shepherding. Let us see this psalm no longer simplest as a notable text at the Shepherd, but as a version for all shepherds. That which makes God a Good Shepherd also serves as a model to us of proper shepherding. Let us are trying to find to examine God’s shepherding and to try to shepherd others as God shepherds us.
In conclusion, allow me notice also the providence of God within the lifestyles of David. How insignificant it must have seemed to David to be a “mere” shepherd boy. That seems to be the inference of his older brothers who have been off doing extra crucial work along with fighting wars (cf. 1 Sam. 17:28). Yet David’s turned into a totally essential task. It readied him for conflict (cf. 1 Sam. 17:33-37) and even extra, helped put together David to be a shepherd of God’s flock (Ps. 78:70-seventy one) and to put in writing about the Good Shepherd. The apparently insignificant tasks and studies of our lives are of tremendous importance. Let us do them well.
74 Bernhard W. Anderson, Out of the Depths: The Psalms Speak for Us Today (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1974), p. A hundred and forty four.
75 I am inclined to trust Leupold, who writes, “Yet it is a long way much less possibly that ‘the candy psalmist of Israel’ (II Sa. 23.1) wrote this piece in his younger days even as he changed into nevertheless tending his father’s flock. Romantic as that concept can also appear, it might be a ways more in keeping with what the Scriptures monitor somewhere else concerning him, once they tell us that once his anointing the spirit of God got here upon him (I Sam. 16:13), to count on that the spirit-crammed servant of the Lord composed such beneficial songs as those. Details determined in v. 2 in particular imply that it was, perhaps, even the older David who composed the psalm.” H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Psalms (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House [reprint], 1969), p. 209.
76 This is the view of Bernhard Anderson, who writes, “The principal problem in decoding this psalm is that it presents two pics which appear to be inconsistent. In verses 1-4 Yahweh is portrayed because the Good Shepherd who cares for his flock; in verses 5 and 6, then again, Yahweh is the Host who offers hospitality to a visitor and protects him from enemies. … The shepherd may be portrayed from standpoints. He is the protector of the sheep as they wander in search of grazing land. Yet he is likewise the protector of the traveler who finds hospitality in his tent from the dangers and enemies of the barren region.” Anderson, Out of the Depths, p. One hundred forty five. Cf. Also A. A. Anderson, Psalms 1-72 (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1972), I, p. 195, who outlines three perspectives, of which he sees the second (Bernhard Anderson’s view) as the most probable. Cf. Additionally, Leupold, pp. 208-209, who’s inclined closer to simply the only parent of a shepherd.
77 “Obviously, David, on this Psalm, is speaking no longer because the shepherd, though he became one, however as a sheep; one of the flock.” Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970), p. 17.
Seventy eight A. A. Anderson writes, “This terminology isn’t always, however, peculiar to Israel, but it is also found among other nations of the historical Near East; e.G. Hammurabi is called ‘the shepherd’ (ANET, p. 164b) or ‘the shepherd of the people’ (ANET, p. 165b; cf. Also p. 177b). In the Hymn to the Sun-God (ANET, p. 387b, line 26), Shamash is exact as ‘shepherd of (the people of the arena).’” A. A. Anderson, I, p. 196.
79 “In the word shepherd, David makes use of the maximum comprehensive and intimate metaphor yet encountered in the Psalms, who prefer normally the extra remote ‘king’ or ‘deliverer,’ or the impersonal ‘rock,’ ‘guard,’ etc.; while the shepherd lives with his flock and is everything to it: manual, medical doctor and protector.” Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-seventy two (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1973), pp. 109-one hundred ten.
80 It is my private opinion that Phillip Keller (A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23), at times, we could his information of sheep deliver him past David’s supposed meaning. I worry that Leupold does the identical in his interpretation of verse 5. Instead of taking the “desk” which is ready via a gracious host as a one of a kind picture, Leupold appears obliged to stick to the “shepherd” imagery and for that reason to say of the “table” and the “oil” of verse 5: “For, within the first location, the ‘desk’ (shalchan), as dictionaries factor out, turned into in days of old a large piece of leather on which meals became set or, in this case, on which a few supplementary reserve fodder might be unfold by the shepherd on days while forage changed into scarce. In like way shepherds are nonetheless acknowledged to carry a little flask of oil to anoint the scratched face of the sheep that become obliged to are looking for its food among thorns and brambles.” Leupold, pp. 213, 214.
I do, but, believe Leupold when he warns us of taking those distinctly figurative phrases routinely, thereby missing their spiritual implications: “… it isn’t handiest bodily nicely-being that the authentic Shepherd gives for His own. It savors of pedantry to press this declaration, ‘He restores my soul,’ to the level of what sheep can revel in and to strain, what is actual sufficient that nephesh can also suggest ‘existence,’ and so arrive on the meaning: He revives me or my existence. One need to permit for deeper values and now not insist on merely mechanical processes.” Leupold, pp. 211-212.
81 Ibid, p. 211.
Eighty three “The quiet waters”: “Lit. Waters of rest: not gently-flowing streams, however streams wherein they m