The Meaning of Psalms 23:1 Explained

Psalms 23:1

KJV: {A Psalm of David.} The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

YLT: A Psalm of David. Jehovah is my shepherd, I do not lack,

Darby: {A Psalm of David.} Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not want.

ASV: Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not want.

What does Psalms 23:1 Mean?

Verse Meaning

David compared Yahweh to a shepherd as he reviewed His blessings on his life (cf. Psalm 28:9; Psalm 80:1). This was a familiar role for David who had been a shepherd of sheep as a youth and who later became a shepherd of God"s people as their king. Other ancient Near Eastern kings also described themselves as the shepherds of their nations. [1] Even some pagan gods were spoken of as shepherds. [2] Isaiah later referred to Messiah as a shepherd ( Isaiah 40:11). This title was one that Jesus Christ claimed for Himself ( John 10:14) and that the New Testament writers used for Him ( Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 5:4). As David"s shepherd, the Lord provided all David needed. [3]

Context Summary

Psalm 23:1-6 - The Song Of The Good Shepherd
A sabbatic rest breathes through this psalm, the children's favorite; while the oldest and holiest confess that it touches an experience which still lies before them. Here is no strife, no fear, no denunciation, and no self-vindication.
Jehovah is represented as the Shepherd, the Guide, and the Host of His people. We are taught to think less of our attitude toward Him and more of His responsibility for us. The flock does not keep the shepherd, but the shepherd keeps the flock. Look away from yourself and trust Him with all, in all, and for all.
Let God see to your wants. You need nothing outside of Him. His pastures are "tender grass;" His waters, "waters of rest." He refreshes us when exhausted; heals when diseased; restores from wandering; leads in right paths, though steep; accompanies us into the valley with club for our foes and crook for the pits; spreads our table amid hatred; and protects our rear with the twin-angels, goodness and mercy! [source]

Chapter Summary: Psalm 23

1  David's confidence in God's grace

What do the individual words in Psalms 23:1 mean?

A Psalm of David Yahweh [is] my shepherd not I shall want
מִזְמ֥וֹר לְדָוִ֑ד יְהוָ֥ה רֹ֝עִ֗י לֹ֣א אֶחְסָֽר

מִזְמ֥וֹר  A  Psalm 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: מִזְמֹור  
Sense: melody, psalm.
לְדָוִ֑ד  of  David 
Parse: Preposition-l, Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: דָּוִד  
Sense: youngest son of Jesse and second king of Israel.
יְהוָ֥ה  Yahweh  [is] 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
רֹ֝עִ֗י  my  shepherd 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine singular construct, first person common singular
Root: רָעָה 
Sense: to pasture, tend, graze, feed.
אֶחְסָֽר  I  shall  want 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, first person common singular
Root: חָסֵר  
Sense: to lack, be without, decrease, be lacking, have a need.