Psalm 23


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psalm 23 verse 1


An Analysis of Psalm 23 verse 1 by Adam Clarke


Verse 1. The Lord is my shepherd] There are two allegories in
this Psalm which are admirably well adapted to the purpose for
which they are produced, and supported both with art and elegance.
The first is that of a shepherd; the second, that of a great
feast, set out by a host the most kind and the most liberal As a
flock, they have the most excellent pasture; as guests, they
have the most nutritive and abundant fare. God condescends to call
himself the Shepherd of his people, and his followers are
considered as a flock under his guidance and direction. 1. He
leads them out and in, so that they find pasture and safety. 2. He
knows where to feed them, and in the course of his grace and
providence leads them in the way in which they should go. 3. He
watches over them and keeps them from being destroyed by ravenous
beasts. 4. If any have strayed, he brings them back. 5. He brings
them to the shade in times of scorching heat; in times of
persecution and affliction, he finds out an asylum for them. 6. He
takes care that they shall lack no manner of thing that is good.

But who are his flock? All real penitents, all true believers;
all who obediently follow his example, abstaining from every
appearance of evil, and in a holy life and conversation showing
forth the virtues of Him who called them from darkness into his
marvellous light. "My sheep hear my voice, and follow me."

But who are not his flock! Neither the backslider in heart, nor
the vile Antinomian, who thinks the more he sins, the more the
grace of God shall be magnified in saving him; nor those who
fondly suppose they are covered with the righteousness of Christ
while living in sin; nor the crowd of the indifferent and the
careless, nor the immense herd of Laodicean loiterers; nor the
fiery bigots who would exclude all from heaven but themselves, and
the party who believe as they do. These the Scripture resembles to
swine, dogs, wandering stars, foxes, lions, wells without water,
feed on this
pasture, or take of the children's bread. Jesus Christ is the
good Shepherd; the Shepherd who, to save his flock, laid down
his own life.

I shall not want.] How can they? He who is their Shepherd has
all power in heaven and earth; therefore he can protect them. The
silver and gold are his, and the cattle on a thousand hills; and
therefore he can sustain them. He has all that they need, and his
heart is full of love to mankind; and therefore he will withhold
from them no manner of thing that is good. The old Psalter both
translates and paraphrases this clause well: Lord governs me, and
nathing sal want to me. In stede of pastour thare he me sett. "The
voice of a rightwis man: Lord Crist es my kyng, and for thi
(therefore) nathyng sal me want: that es, in hym I sal be siker,
and suffisand, for I hope in hymn gastly gude and endles. And he
ledes me in stede of pastoure, that es, understandyng of his worde,
and delyte in his luf. Qwar I am siker to be fild, thar in that
stede (place) he sett me, to be nurysht til perfectioun." Who can
say more, who need say less, than this?