Psalm 23:4
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

King James Bible
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.

Darby Bible Translation
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.

World English Bible
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Young's Literal Translation
Also -- when I walk in a valley of death-shade, I fear no evil, for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff -- they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death - The meaning of this in the connection in which it occurs is this: "God will lead and guide me in the path of righteousness, even though that path lies through the darkest and most gloomy vale - through deep and dismal shades - in regions where there is no light, as if death had cast his dark and baleful shadow there. It is still a right path; it is a path of safety; and it will conduct me to bright regions beyond. In that dark and gloomy valley, though I could not guide myself, I will not be alarmed; I will not be afraid of wandering or of being lost; I will not fear any enemies there - for my Shepherd is there to guide me still." On the word here rendered "shadow of death" - צלמות tsalmâveth - see Job 3:5, note; and Isaiah 9:2, note. The word occurs besides only in the following places, in all of which it is rendered "shadow of death:" Job 10:21-22; Job 12:22; Job 16:16; Job 24:17 (twice); Job 28:3; Job 34:22; Job 38:17; Psalm 44:19; Psalm 107:10, Psalm 107:14; Jeremiah 2:6; Jeremiah 13:16; Amos 5:8. The idea is that of death casting his gloomy shadow over that valley - the valley of the dead. Hence, the word is applicable to any path of gloom or sadness; any scene of trouble or sorrow; any dark and dangerous way. Thus understood, it is applicable not merely to death itself - though it embraces that - but to any or all the dark, the dangerous, and the gloomy paths which we tread in life: to ways of sadness, solitude, and sorrow. All along those paths God will be a safe and certain guide.

I will fear no evil - Dark, cheerless, dismal as it seems, I will dread nothing. The true friend of God has nothing to fear in that dark valley. His great Shepherd will accompany him there, and can lead him safely through, however dark it may appear. The true believer has nothing to fear in the most gloomy scenes of life; he has nothing to fear in the valley of death; he has nothing to fear in the grave; he has nothing to fear in the world beyond.

For thou art with me - Thou wilt be with me. Though invisible, thou wilt attend me. I shall not go alone; I shall not be alone. The psalmist felt assured that if God was with him he had nothing to dread there. God would be his companion, his comforter, his protector, his guide. How applicable is this to death! The dying man seems to go into the dark valley alone. His friends accompany him as far as they can, and then they must give him the parting hand. They cheer him with their voice until he becomes deaf to all sounds; they cheer him with their looks until his eye becomes dim, and he can see no more; they cheer him with the fond embrace until he becomes insensible to every expression of earthly affection, and then he seems to be alone. But the dying believer is not alone. His Saviour God is with him in that valley, and will never leave him. Upon His arm he can lean, and by His presence he will be comforted, until he emerges from the gloom into the bright world beyond. All that is needful to dissipate the terrors of the valley of death is to be able to say, "Thou art with me."

Thy rod and thy staff - It may not be easy to mark the difference between these two words; but they would seem probably to refer, the latter to the "staff" which the shepherd used in walking, and the former to the "crook" which a shepherd used for guiding his flock. The image is that of a shepherd in attendance on his flock, with a staff on which he leans with one hand; in the other hand the "crook" or rod which was the symbol of his office. Either of these also might be used to guard the flock, or to drive off the enemies of the flock. The "crook" is said (see Rosenmuller, in loc.) to have been used to seize the legs of the sheep or goats when they were disposed to run away, and thus to keep them with the flock. "The shepherd invariably carries a rod or staff with him when he goes forth to feed his flock. It is often bent or hooked at one end, which gave rise to the shepherd's crook in the hand of the Christian bishop. With this staff he rules and guides the flock to their green pastures, and defends them from their enemies. With it also he corrects them when disobedient, and brings them back when wandering." (The land and the book, vol. i., p. 305.)

They comfort me - The sight of them consoles me. They show that the Shepherd is there. As significant of his presence and his office, they impart confidence, showing that he will not leave me alone, and that he will defend me.

Psalm 23:4 Parallel Commentaries

Library
The Kingdom Undivided
THE POETICAL BOOKS: Psalms Page Song of Solomon Page Proverbs Page THE PSALMS I. The Collection and Divisions: In all probability the book of one hundred and fifty psalms, as it now stands, was compiled by Ezra about 450 B.C. They are divided into five books, each closing with a benediction, evidently added to mark the end of the book. Note the number of psalms in Books 1 and 2. II. The Purposes: 1. They were originally used as songs in the Jewish Temple Worship.
Frank Nelson Palmer—A Bird's-Eye View of the Bible

The Wayside Feast
S. B. Ps. xxiii. 5 Bread that camest down from Heaven, Fruit of the eternal tree; Banquet which my God has given Even unto me; Lo, before the world that scorneth, I give thanks and eat, At the table in the desert, Spread with heavenly meat; Wine of the divinest gladness, Milk and honey sweet. In the wilderness unwatered, In the lonely land, This the feast of God made ready By His mighty Hand; Thither came I, spent and weary, Hungry and athirst, From the wastes of thorn and thistle Of the land accursed,
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others

Out of the Deep of Death.
My heart is disquieted within me, and the fear of death has fallen upon me.--Ps. iv. 4. My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart.--Ps. lxiii. 25. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.--Ps. xxiii. 4. Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.--Ps. cxvi. 8. What will become of us after we die? What will the next world be like? What is heaven like? Shall I be able
Charles Kingsley—Out of the Deep

Letters of St. Bernard
I To Malachy. 1141.[924] (Epistle 341.) To the venerable lord and most blessed father, Malachy, by the grace of God archbishop of the Irish, legate of the Apostolic See, Brother Bernard called to be abbot of Clairvaux, [desiring] to find grace with the Lord. 1. Amid the manifold anxieties and cares of my heart,[925] by the multitude of which my soul is sore vexed,[926] the brothers coming from a far country[927] that they may serve the Lord,[928] thy letter, and thy staff, they comfort
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh

Cross References
Deuteronomy 20:1
"When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you.

2 Samuel 22:19
"They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the LORD was my support.

Job 10:21
Before I go-- and I shall not return-- To the land of darkness and deep shadow,

Job 10:22
The land of utter gloom as darkness itself, Of deep shadow without order, And which shines as the darkness."

Psalm 3:6
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me round about.

Psalm 16:8
I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 27:1
A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?

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