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Topics The Psalms

The Poetry of Psalm 23

By Christine Miller


Psa 23 Hebrew paragraph divisions:

Psa 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Psa 23:2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
Psa 23:3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.
Psa 23:4a Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; {n}
Psa 23:4b Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Psa 23:5a You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; {n}
Psa 23:5b You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Psa 23:6a Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; {n}
Psa 23:6b And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. {p}


Psa 23 chiastic structure:

1a) Psa 23:1, The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want;

1b) Psa 23:2, He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters;

1c) Psa 23:3a, He restores my soul;

1d) Psa 23:3b, He leads me in the paths of righteousness;

central axis) Psa 23:3c, For His name's sake;

2d) Psa 23:4a {n} Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me;

2c) Psa 23:4b, Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me;

2b) Psa 23:5, You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies {n} anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over;

2a) Psa 23:6 {p} Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life {n} I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


Who is our shepherd? Who is the one we listen to for guidance and direction? Who is the one we follow as sheep? Who is the one we trust to do good for us?

If we order our lives according to the wisdom of the world, or of men, or of "experts," then it is the world or men or "experts" who are our shepherd, no matter who our mouths say is our shepherd. Sometimes it is our own wisdom or desires which is our shepherd. Sometimes fear is our shepherd. Our shepherd is whoever we obey when the rubber meets the road.

You see, the Great Shepherd has given us wisdom, guidance, direction, and instruction in His word. It is His Shepherd's rod of correction and staff of instruction and authority. When we disregard it, we are not following our Shepherd. It is no wonder we find ourselves caught in thorn thickets, or stuck on the cliff edges.

When we make the Lord our Shepherd, and and allow Him to lead, guide, and direct us, then we find green pastures and still waters.


For further reading:

psalm 23, I shall not want
psalm 23, green pastures and still waters
psalm 23, paths of righteousness
psalm 23, I will fear no evil




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