New American Bible (Revised Edition)
The Lord, Shepherd and Host
1 A psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd;[b]
there is nothing I lack.(A)
2 In green pastures he makes me lie down;
to still waters he leads me;
3 (B)he restores my soul.
He guides me along right paths[c]
for the sake of his name.
4 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.
5 [d]You set a table before me
in front of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;(D)
my cup overflows.(E)
6 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.
- 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).
- 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).
- 23:3 Right paths: connotes “right way” and “way of righteousness.”
- 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).
- 23:6 Goodness and mercy: the blessings of God’s covenant with Israel.