Old Testament Psalm 23
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, 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.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Summary of Old Testament Psalm 23
- Popularity of “Old Testament Psalm 23”: This is the 23rd psalm in the Book of Psalms in the King James Version of the Bible. In Latin, it occurs as Dominus reget me. This is one of the books of the Old Testament. The psalm has total six verses about God, His protection, blessings, love, and mercy. The popularity of the psalm lies in the presentation of God as the shepherd with connotative shades of protection for mankind.
- “Old Testament Psalm 23” As a Representative of God’s Blessings”: The verses present the Lord as the shepherd Who has the power to protect every individual living in this world. This Shepherd is associated with protection, care, and guard. The prayer seeker states that God makes him lie down in the pastures, drink water from the stream, restore his soul, and guide him to the right path. He also states that despite walking with death or through the valley of death, he does not fear anything, let alone evil, because he thinks that God is with him. He is of the view that he always finds God’s mercy and goodness accompanying him and that he will always be in the house of the Lord.
- Major Themes in “Old Testament Psalm 23”: Protection of the Lord and his role of care, belief in the guidance of the Lord, and His overall protection are some of the major themes of these verses of Psalm 23. The very first verse makes it clear that the role of the Lord is that of a good and caring shepherd who leads His herd to food and water. The prayer seeker knows it very well and goes on to pray for his righteousness, believing that God always leads a person to the right path. As God is always there, therefore, there is little left to do except to seek guidance from him. Therefore, this holistic protection and seeking guidance is the sign of the perfect obedience of a man to the Lord.
Analysis of Literary Devices Used in Old Testament Psalm 23
The Bible shows the use of various literary devices intended to enhance the impact of this psalm. Some of the major literary devices used in this psalm are as follows.
- Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /a/ and /o/ in “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” and the sound of /o/ in “thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.”
- Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /f/ in “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” and the sound of /s/ in “He restoreth my soul.”
- Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. This psalm shows imagery, such as “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures”, “he leadeth me beside the still waters” and “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.”
- Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between objects that are different in nature. This psalm compares God to a shepherd Who takes care of humanity.
- Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. This psalm shows symbols, such as pastures, water, righteousness, and death, are blessings of the Lord.
Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in Old Testament Psalm 23
Although poetic devices are part of literary devices, they differ in functions. The analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this psalm is as follows.
- Diction: It means the type of language. The poem shows very good use of formal and theological diction.
- Narrative Poetry: Although this is a religious text, it shows narrative, and poetic language due to the rhythm. However, it has no metrical pattern or rhyme scheme.
- Tone: It means the voice of the text. The poem shows a didactic, obedient, and loving tone.
Quotes to be Used
The following lines are useful to quote when counting the blessings of God and feeling thankful to Him.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.