Psalm 23

The Word Made Fresh

(A psalm of David.)

1The LORD is my shepherd; I want for nothing.
2The LORD makes me lie down in grassy fields,
leads me safely to quiet pools of water,
3and revives me. The LORD leads me down paths
that will honor the name of the LORD.
4Even when my path is through the dark, I need not be afraid,
for the LORD is with me, protecting me with rod and staff.
5You invite me to your table while my enemies are watching,
and you have anointed me with oil. My cup overflows!
6I know that you are good and kind, and will be with me all my life,
until I come to dwell in the LORD’s house forever.


Superscription: this is the 20th of the psalms to be ascribed to David.

1-2: This is the best-known passage in the Old Testament. The “shepherd’s psalm” has provided the faithful with beautiful images of God’s loving care for nearly 3 millennia. The imagery in the first 4 verses has the psalmist looking at his relationship with God as though it were the relationship of a sheep depending on the shepherd. The shepherd leads the sheep into green pastures and still waters and down all the right paths.

3-4: When danger threatens the shepherd provides protection.

5: This verse is probably responsible for the belief that the psalm is one of David’s, for it speaks of events in David’s life. The table prepared in the presence of enemies fits a number of occasions, from his service in Saul’s household to his sojourn among the Philistines of Gath. The anointing is of course a reference to his elevation to the royal throne.

6: Given all the ways in which God has blessed us and watched over us, we can be assured that the future is assured.


Hasn’t God blessed you? Of course, all of us have difficult times as well, but we can be certain that God is with us and shares our hurt when we hurt. And when we are blessed, we can be certain God’s hand is in it. Just as the shepherd in David’s time watched over the flock, God watches over God’s people.