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Psalm 23[a]

The Lord, Shepherd and Host

A psalm of David.

I

The Lord is my shepherd;[b]
    there is nothing I lack.(A)
In green pastures he makes me lie down;
    to still waters he leads me;
    (B)he restores my soul.
He guides me along right paths[c]
    for the sake of his name.
Even 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

[d]You set a table before me
    in front of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;(D)
    my cup overflows.(E)
Indeed, goodness and mercy[e] will pursue me
    all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of the Lord(F)
    for endless days.

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 23 God’s loving care for the psalmist is portrayed under the figures of a shepherd for the flock (Ps 23:1–4) and a host’s generosity toward a guest (Ps 23:5–6). The imagery of both sections is drawn from traditions of the exodus (Is 40:11; 49:10; Jer 31:10).
  2. 23:1 My shepherd: God as good shepherd is common in both the Old Testament and the New Testament (Ez 34:11–16; Jn 10:11–18).
  3. 23:3 Right paths: connotes “right way” and “way of righteousness.”
  4. 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).
  5. 23:6 Goodness and mercy: the blessings of God’s covenant with Israel.

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