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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Psalms 23

Verses 1-6

This is a Ps. of simple and unclouded confidence in God, who is described first as a shepherd (Psalms 23:1-4) and next as an host (Psalms 23:5-6). The beautiful imagery of the first part would be natural on the lips of the king who was a shepherd in his youth. The reference to ’the house of the Lord’ in Psalms 23:6 may be a continuation of the figure of the host, and need not indicate a date after the building of the Temple.

3. Leadeth] RV ’guideth.’ An Eastern shepherd goes before his flock. For his name’s sake] in consistency with the character which He has already made known.

4. Shadow of death] rather, ’deep darkness’: see Jeremiah 13:16; Amos 5:8. The rod was a short oaken club for defence; the staff a longer pole for use in climbing, or for leaning upon. An Eastern shepherd still carries both.

5. In the presence of mine enemies] as when David enjoyed the hospitality of Barzillai (2 Samuel 17:27-29). Anointest] RV ’hast anointed,’ as a host anoints an honoured guest: see Luke 7:46. Runneth over] God’s hospitality is lavish and generous.

6. Goodness and mercy, like two angels, ’pursue’ the Psalmist, determined, as it were, to run him down. For ever] lit. ’for length of days,’ referring to prolonged earthly life rather than to life beyond the grave.

Verses 1-6

This is a Ps. of simple and unclouded confidence in God, who is described first as a shepherd (Psalms 23:1-4) and next as an host (Psalms 23:5-6). The beautiful imagery of the first part would be natural on the lips of the king who was a shepherd in his youth. The reference to ’the house of the Lord’ in Psalms 23:6 may be a continuation of the figure of the host, and need not indicate a date after the building of the Temple.

3. Leadeth] RV ’guideth.’ An Eastern shepherd goes before his flock. For his name’s sake] in consistency with the character which He has already made known.

4. Shadow of death] rather, ’deep darkness’: see Jeremiah 13:16; Amos 5:8. The rod was a short oaken club for defence; the staff a longer pole for use in climbing, or for leaning upon. An Eastern shepherd still carries both.

5. In the presence of mine enemies] as when David enjoyed the hospitality of Barzillai (2 Samuel 17:27-29). Anointest] RV ’hast anointed,’ as a host anoints an honoured guest: see Luke 7:46. Runneth over] God’s hospitality is lavish and generous.

6. Goodness and mercy, like two angels, ’pursue’ the Psalmist, determined, as it were, to run him down. For ever] lit. ’for length of days,’ referring to prolonged earthly life rather than to life beyond the grave.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 23". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/psalms-23.html. 1909.