Psalms 23 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The grateful praise of Jehovah (i) as the Good Shepherd who tends ( Psa 23:1-2), and guides ( Psa 23:3-4) the Psalmist, providing for every want, and protecting him in every danger: (ii) as the bountiful host ( Psa 23:5-6), who entertains the Psalmist as his guest with gracious liberality.
The Psalm is unrivalled for calm serenity and perfect faith. Under Jehovah’s loving care the Psalmist knows neither want nor fear. His words admit of the most universal application to all needs, temporal and spiritual, in every age. Their meaning grows in depth as the love of God is more fully revealed through the teaching of the Spirit in the experience of life (Eph 3:17-19; Rom 8:35 ff.).
The Targum explains the Psalm of God’s care for the nation of Israel. This however, though justifiable as a secondary application, can hardly be the original meaning. Its tone is strongly personal. It is an individual realisation and appropriation of the blessings involved in the covenant-relation of Jehovah to His people. Each sheep can claim the care which is promised to the whole flock (Luk 15:4 ff.).
Was David the author? Many have thought that Psa 23:1-4 are based on the recollections of his early shepherd life; and that Psa 23:5 reflects his entertainment by Barzillai (2Sa 17:27-29). Nor is Psa 23:6 decisive against the Davidic authorship. The language is figurative, and the phrase ‘house of the Lord’ does not necessarily imply the existence of the temple (Exo 23:19; Jdg 18:31; 1Sa 1:7), though it must be admitted that it seems to point to it.
The kindred Psalms 27 should be carefully compared.
Consult other comments:
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".