Psalm 23, Psalms 23 – The 23rd Psalm – Psalm 23 Meaning

Psalm 23, Psalms 23 – The 23rd Psalm – Psalm 23 Meaning

The LORD is my shepherd, and I love Him very much, and my heart lacks nothing, as long as I can love the Lord and He love me. - Inspired by Psalm 23

Psalm 23

King James Version (KJV)

Psalms 23

 1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

 3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

 4Yea, 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.

 5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.


Psalm 23

English Standard Version (ESV)

Psalms 23

The LORD Is My Shepherd
A Psalm of David.

 1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
 2He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
 3He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
   for his name’s sake.

 4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
   I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
   your rod and your staff,
   they comfort me.

 5You prepare a table before me
   in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
   my cup overflows.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
   all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
    forever.


Psalm 23

New International Version (NIV)

Psalms 23

A psalm of David.

 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
 3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
   for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
   through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
   for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
   they comfort me.

 5 You prepare a table before me
   in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
   my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
   all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
   forever.


Psalm 22 (Psalm 23)

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

Psalms 22 (Psalms 23)

 God's spiritual benefits to faithful souls.

 1A psalm for David. The Lord ruleth me: and I shall want nothing.

    2He hath set me in a place of pasture. He hath brought me up, on the water of refreshment:

    3he hath converted my soul. He hath led me on the paths of justice, for his own name's sake.

    4For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they have comforted me.

    5Thou hast prepared a table before me against them that afflict me. Thou hast anointed my head with oil; and my chalice which inebriateth me, how goodly is it!

    6And thy mercy will follow me all the days of my life. And that I may dwell in the house of the Lord unto length of days.


Exposition on Psalm 23 (St. Augustine)

A psalm of David himself.

1. The Church speaks to Christ: “The Lord feeds me, and I shall lack nothing (Psalm 22:1). The Lord Jesus Christ is my Shepherd, “and I shall lack nothing”.

2. “In a place of pasture there has He placed me (Psalm 22:2). In a place of fresh pasture, leading me to faith, there has He placed me to be nourished. “By the water of refreshing has He brought me up.” By the water of baptism, whereby they are refreshed who have lost health and strength, has He brought me up.

3. “He has converted my soul: He has led me forth in the paths of righteousness, for His Name's sake (Psalm 22:3). He has brought me forth in the narrow ways, wherein few walk, of His righteousness; not for my merit's sake, but for His Name's sake.

4. “Yea, though I walk in the midst of the shadow of death (Psalm 22:4). Yea, though I walk in the midst of this life, which is the shadow of death. “I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” I will fear no evil, for You dwell in my heart by faith: and You are now with me, that after the shadow of death I too may be with You. “Your rod and Your staff, they have comforted me.” Your discipline, like a rod for a flock of sheep, and like a staff for children of some size, and growing out of the natural into spiritual life, they have not been grievous to me; rather have they comforted me: because You are mindful of me.

5. “You have prepared a table in my sight, against them that trouble me (Psalm 22:5). Now after the rod, whereby, while a little one, and living the natural life, I was brought up among the flock in the pastures; after that rod, I say, when I began to be under the staff, You have prepared a table in my sight, that I should no more be fed as a babe with milk, (1 Corinthians 3:2) but being older should take meat, strengthened against them that trouble me. “You have fattened my head with oil.” You have gladdened my mind with spiritual joy. “And Your inebriating cup, how excellent is it! And Your cup yielding forgetfulness of former vain delights, how excellent is it!

6. “And Your mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: that is, as long as I live in this mortal life, not Yours, but mine. “That I may dwell in the house of the Lord for length of days (Psalm 22:6). Now Your mercy shall follow me not here only, but also that I may dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.


Notes & Commentary on Psalm 23 (Psalm 22 in Douay-Rheims Version)

Haydock Bible Commentary:

Ver. 1. David. This psalm most beautifully describes the consolation which the just find in God's protection. (Haydock) --- It may be applied to the Israelites in the desert, (Chaldean) to David persecuted by Saul, or rather (Calmet) settled quietly upon the throne, (Muis) or to the Jews returned from Babylon. (St. Athanasius) (Calmet) --- The Fathers explain it mystically of Jesus Christ, the Shepherd of our souls. (Didymus, St. Augustine, &c.) The allegories of a shepherd and of a person giving a feast to his guests, are well supported. (Calmet) --- Ruleth, in Hebrew. Is my shepherd; viz., to feed, guide, and govern me. (Challoner) --- Septuagint Greek: poimainei, pascit, as St. Augustine and St. Jerome read. St. Gregory Thaumaturgus understands this of the angel guardian. (Paneg. in Orig.) --- Jesus Christ conducts us into the pastures of his Church, and feeds us (Worthington) with his own body, &c. (Calmet) --- The saints never complain of want. (Berthier)

Ver. 2. Place. Mont.[Montanus?], in the huts of grass, (or of young trees, germinis) he will make me lie down." See Canticle of Canticles i. 6., and Ezechiel xxxiv. 15. (Haydock) --- Shepherds were accustomed to conduct their flocks to shady places, during the heat of the day. --- Refreshment. Hebrew, "still waters," like the pond of Siloe, (Isaias viii. 6.) in opposition to the great streams of the Euphrates, &c. The fathers understand it of baptism; (St. Chrysostom, &c.) or of the truths of salvation. (Eusebius) (Calmet) --- Baptism is the first justification. (Worthington)

Ver. 3. Converted. Protestants, "restoreth my soul" (Haydock) to her former tranquility, or bringeth me back from my wanderings. (Berthier) --- Justice. Those who have received baptism, must observe the law of Christ, (Worthington) as all indeed are bound to do. (Haydock) --- Sake. Not on account of man's deserving (Calmet) by the force of nature. God must begin and carry on the work of our conversion, by his grace; with which we must co-operate. (Haydock) --- The captives had been in the greatest distress among idolaters. They rejoice at the sight of the promised land, where they will fear no dangers. (Calmet)

Ver. 4. Walk. In the greatest temptations, we may resist by God's grace. (Worthington) --- Midst. Hebrew, "in the valley." The greatest darkness, and the most horrible precipices, give no alarm to those who are under God's protection. --- Comforted me, as they have kept all enemies at a distance. The shepherd's staff or crook is designed for that purpose; and though it may be used to bring back the wandering sheep by beating them, yet it is not under that idea an object of consolation, but rather of terror. (Calmet) --- The effects of timely correction are, however, comfortable; and it is a great mercy of God to chastise the sinner, lest he should run astray to his eternal ruin. (Haydock) --- Some distinguish the rod from the staff, and say that the former is to punish, and the latter to support. (St. Jerome; Muis) --- We are generally too backward in having recourse to God in our distresses, though he invites us so pressingly, Isaias xli. 10, &c.

Ver. 5. Thou. Here the allegory of a shepherd seems less discernible, though it may allude to the provisions for winter; (Berthier) or rather it ceases, as feasts are made for men; (Menochius) and the second allegory of a guest here commences. (Haydock) --- The enemy had reduced me to the greatest misery. (Calmet) --- But God has admitted me to his table. (Menochius) --- This may be explained of the sacred mysteries received in the Church, (St. Ambrose) or of the Scriptures, which nourish our souls. (St. Jerome) --- No mention is made of the ancient sacrifices; and as this psalm must be understood in the spiritual sense, the prophet speaks of the blessed Eucharist, which imparts the unction of grace, &c. The enemy strives to make us keep at a distance from it. (Berthier) --- Christ has himself prepared this table (St. Cyprian, ep. 63.; Euthymius) against all spiritual adversaries. --- Oil. Christians are also strengthened by the sacraments of confirmation, penance, holy orders, matrimony, and extreme unction. (Worthington) --- Three of these are administered with oil. (Haydock) --- It was customary to anoint the head of guests with perfumes, (Matthew xxvi. 6., and Luke vii. 46.) both among the Jews and Gentiles. But the Fathers explain this text of chrism, used in confirmation. (St. Athanasius; Theodoret) (Calmet) --- Chalice. The blessed sacrament and sacrifice of Christ's body and blood. (Worthington) --- Inebriateth. Hebrew, "overflowing;" being constantly replenished (Canticle of Canticles vii. 2.; Homer, Iliad iv.) with wine; as people are not inebriated with water. This term, however, only means to take as much as is requisite, Genesis xliii. 34. "Thy chalice inebriating me," occurs in most copies of the Septuagint, in Sixtus V., &c. But the more correct editions of the Septuagint and all the Greek interpreters, (St. Jerome, ep. ad Sun.) agree with the Hebrew and Vulgate. --- How, &c., is added by way of explanation; or rather, the Septuagint have taken two words from the following verse, ac tob, verumtamen bonum. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "surely goodness and mercy," &c. (Haydock) --- Theodotion and Symmachus were not acquainted with this division, which seems less accurate, though the sense be much the same. (Berthier)

Ver. 6. Follow me, like provisions from the king's table, 2 Kings xi. 8. (Calmet) --- "The grace of God prevents the unwilling to make him willing; and it follows the person who is in good dispositions, that they may not be in vain." (St. Augustine, Ench. 32.) --- Prævenit per fidem, subsequitur in custodiendo mandata Dei. (St. Jerome) Continual and final perseverance is a special grace of God. (Worthington) --- And that. Hebrew, "and I shall." The Vulgate expresses the effect of worthy participation of God's table, which leads to a happy eternity. (Berthier) --- This is particularly applicable to priests, both of the old and of the new law. (Calmet) --- Only those who remain in the house of God, in his church on earth, can expect felicity. (Haydock) --- Days, in eternal life. (Worthington) --- David always desired to be near the ark, (Psalm xxvi., and lxxxiii.; Menochius) as the figure of heaven. (Haydock)

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