Psalm 23:4
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

New Living Translation
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

English Standard Version
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.

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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff--they comfort me.

International Standard Version
Even when I walk through a valley of deep darkness, I will not be afraid because you are with me. Your rod and your staff—they comfort me.

NET Bible
Even when I must walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff reassure me.

New Heart 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.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Even if I shall walk in the valleys of the shadows of death, I will not be afraid of evil, because you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, because you are with me, I fear no harm. Your rod and your staff give me courage.

JPS Tanakh 1917
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.

New American Standard 1977
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
            I fear no evil; for Thou art with me;
            Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.

Jubilee Bible 2000
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 shall comfort me.

King James 2000 Bible
Yea, 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.

American King James Version
Yes, 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.

American Standard Version
Yea, thou 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.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they have comforted 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.

English Revised Version
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.

Webster's Bible Translation
Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shades 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.
Study Bible
The Lord is My Shepherd
3He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. 4Even 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. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.…
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?

Psalm 44:19
Yet You have crushed us in a place of jackals And covered us with the shadow of death.

Psalm 46:2
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;

Psalm 48:14
For such is God, Our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death.
Treasury of Scripture

Yes, 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.

through

Psalm 44:19 Though you have sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered …

Job 3:5 Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell …

Job 10:21,22 Before I go from where I shall not return, even to the land of darkness …

Job 24:17 For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one know …

Jeremiah 2:6 Neither said they, Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the …

Luke 1:79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, …

I will

Psalm 3:6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves …

Psalm 27:1-4 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD …

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…

Psalm 118:6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do to me?

Psalm 138:7 Though I walk in the middle of trouble, you will revive me: you shall …

Isaiah 41:10 Fear you not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: …

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory…

for thou

Psalm 14:5 There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous.

Psalm 46:11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Isaiah 8:9,10 Associate yourselves, O you people, and you shall be broken in pieces; …

Isaiah 43:1,2 But now thus said the LORD that created you, O Jacob, and he that …

Zechariah 8:23 Thus said the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, …

Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, …

Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: …

Acts 18:9,10 Then spoke the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, …

2 Timothy 4:22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.

thy rod

Psalm 110:2 The LORD shall send the rod of your strength out of Zion: rule you …

Micah 7:14 Feed your people with your rod, the flock of your heritage, which …

Zechariah 11:10,14 And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might …

(4) The valley of the shadow of death . . .--This striking expression, to which the genius of Bunyan has given such reality, was probably on Hebrew lips nothing more than a forcible synonym for a dark, gloomy place. Indeed, the probability is that instead of tsal-mveth (shadow of death), should be read, tsalmth (shadow, darkness), the general signification being all that is required in any one of the fifteen places where it occurs. It is true it is used of the "grave" or "underworld" (Job 10:21-22). But it is also used of the "darkness of a dungeon" (Psalm 107:10), of "the pathless desert" (Jeremiah 2:6); or, possibly, since it is there parallel with drought, of "the blinding darkness of a sandstorm," and metaphorically of "affliction" (Isaiah 9:2), and of the "dull heavy look" that grief wears (Job 16:16).

By valley we must understand a deep ravine. Palestine abounds in wild and gloomy valleys, and shepherd life experiences the actual peril of them. Addison's paraphrase catches the true feeling of the original--

"Though in the path of death I tread,

With gloomy horrors overhead."

Thy rod and thy staff.--Used both for guiding and defending the flock.

Verse 4. - Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. A sudden transition and contrast, such as David loved. The quiet paths of righteousness and peace remind the poet of the exact opposite - the dark and dismal way through the valley of the shadow of death. Even when so situated, he does not, he will not, fear. I will fear no evil, he says. And why? For thou art with me. The same Protector, the same gracious and merciful God, will be still with him - leading him, guiding his steps, shepherding him, keeping him from evil. Thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff - i.e. thy shepherd's crook, and thy staff of defence - they comfort me. They make me feel that, however long and however dreary the way through the dark vale, I shall still have thy guidance and thy protection. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,.... Which designs not a state of spiritual darkness and ignorance, as sitting in the shadow of death sometimes does, since the psalmist cannot be supposed to be at this time or after in such a condition; see Isaiah 9:2; nor desertion or the hidings of God's face, which is sometimes the case of the people of God, and was the case of the psalmist at times; but now he expressly says the Lord was with him; but rather, since the grave is called the land of the shadow of death, and the distresses persons are usually in, under apprehensions of immediate death, are called the terrors of the shadow of death; see Job 10:21; the case supposed is, that should his soul draw nigh to the grave, and the sorrows of death compass him about, and he should be upon the brink and borders of eternity, he should be fearless of evil, and sing, "O death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory?" 1 Corinthians 15:55, though it seems best of all to interpret it of the most severe and terrible affliction or dark dispensation of Providence it could be thought he should ever come under, Psalm 44:19. The Targum interprets it of captivity, and Jarchi and Kimchi of the wilderness of Ziph, in which David was when pursued by Saul; and the latter also, together with Ben Melech, of the grave, and of a place of danger and of distress, which is like unto the grave, that is, a place of darkness; and Aben Ezra of some grievous calamity, which God had decreed to bring into the world. Suidas (w) interprets this phrase of danger leading to death; afflictions attend the people of God in this life; there is a continued series of them, so that they may be said to walk in them; these are the way in which they walk heaven, and through which they enter the kingdom; for though they continue long, and one affliction comes after another, yet there will be an end at last; they will walk and wade through them, and come out of great tribulations; and in the midst of such dark dispensations, comparable to a dark and gloomy valley, covered with the shadow of death, the psalmist intimates what would be the inward disposition of his mind, and what his conduct and behaviour:

I will fear no evil; neither the evil one Satan, who is the wolf that comes to the flock to kill and to destroy, and the roaring lion that seeks whom he may devour, since the Lord was his shepherd, and on his side: nor evil men, who kill the body and can do no more, Psalm 27:1; nor any evil thing, the worst calamity that could befall him, since everything of this kind is determined by God, and comes not without his knowledge and will, and works for good, and cannot separate from the love of Christ; see Psalm 46:1;

for thou art with me; sheep are timorous creatures, and so are Christ's people; but when he the shepherd is them, to sympathize with them under all their afflictions, to revive and comfort them with the cordials of his love and promises of his grace, to bear them up and support them with his mighty arm of power, to teach and instruct them by every providence, and sanctify all unto them; their fears are driven away, and they pass through the dark valley, the deep waters, and fiery trials, with courage and cheerfulness; see Isaiah 41:10;

thy rod and thy staff they comfort me; not the rod of afflictions and chastisements, which is the sense of some Jewish (x) as well as Christian interpreters; though these are in love, and the saints have often much consolation under them; but these are designed by the valley of the shadow of death, and cannot have a place here, but rather the rod of the word, called the rod of Christ's strength, and the staff of the promises and the provisions of God's house, the whole staff and stay of bread and water, which are sure unto the saints, and refresh and comfort them. The Targum interprets the rod and staff of the word and law of God; and those interpreters who explain the rod of afflictions, yet by the staff understand the law; and Jarchi expounds it, of the mercy of God in the remission of sin, in which the psalmist trusted: the allusion is to the shepherd's crook or staff, as in other places; see Micah 7:14; which was made use of for the telling and numbering of the sheep, Leviticus 27:32; and it is no small comfort to the sheep of Christ that they have passed under his rod, who has told them, and that they are all numbered by him; not only their persons, but the very hairs of their head; and that they are under his care and protection: the shepherd with his rod, staff, or crook, directs the sheep where to go, pushes forward those that are behind, and fetches back those that go astray; as well as drives away dogs, wolves, bears, &c. that would make a prey of the flock; and of such use is the word of God, attended with the power of Christ and his Spirit; it points out the path of faith, truth, and holiness, the saints should walk in; it urges and stirs up those that are negligent to the discharge of their duty, and is the means of reclaiming backsliders, and of preserving the flock from the ravenous wolves of false teachers: in a word, the presence, power, and protection of Christ, in and by is Gospel and ordinances, are what are here intended, and which are the comfort and safety of his people, in the worst of times and cases.

(w) In voce (x) Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 9. 2. Jarchi & Kimchi in loc. 4. In the darkest and most trying hour God is near.

the valley of the shadow of death—is a ravine overhung by high precipitous cliffs, filled with dense forests, and well calculated to inspire dread to the timid, and afford a covert to beasts of prey. While expressive of any great danger or cause of terror, it does not exclude the greatest of all, to which it is most popularly applied, and which its terms suggest.

thy rod and thy staff—are symbols of a shepherd's office. By them he guides his sheep.23:1-6 Confidence in God's grace and care. - "The Lord is my shepherd." In these words, the believer is taught to express his satisfaction in the care of the great Pastor of the universe, the Redeemer and Preserver of men. With joy he reflects that he has a shepherd, and that shepherd is Jehovah. A flock of sheep, gentle and harmless, feeding in verdant pastures, under the care of a skilful, watchful, and tender shepherd, forms an emblem of believers brought back to the Shepherd of their souls. The greatest abundance is but a dry pasture to a wicked man, who relishes in it only what pleases the senses; but to a godly man, who by faith tastes the goodness of God in all his enjoyments, though he has but little of the world, it is a green pasture. The Lord gives quiet and contentment in the mind, whatever the lot is. Are we blessed with the green pastures of the ordinances, let us not think it enough to pass through them, but let us abide in them. The consolations of the Holy Spirit are the still waters by which the saints are led; the streams which flow from the Fountain of living waters. Those only are led by the still waters of comfort, who walk in the paths of righteousness. The way of duty is the truly pleasant way. The work of righteousness in peace. In these paths we cannot walk, unless. God lead us into them, and lead us on in them. Discontent and distrust proceed from unbelief; an unsteady walk is the consequence: let us then simply trust our Shepherd's care, and hearken to his voice. The valley of the shadow of death may denote the most severe and terrible affliction, or dark dispensation of providence, that the psalmist ever could come under. Between the part of the flock on earth and that which is gone to heaven, death lies like a dark valley that must be passed in going from one to the other. But even in this there are words which lessen the terror. It is but the shadow of death: the shadow of a serpent will not sting, nor the shadow of a sword kill. It is a valley, deep indeed, and dark, and miry; but valleys are often fruitful, and so is death itself fruitful of comforts to God's people. It is a walk through it: they shall not be lost in this valley, but get safe to the mountain on the other side. Death is a king of terrors, but not to the sheep of Christ. When they come to die, God will rebuke the enemy; he will guide them with his rod, and sustain them with his staff. There is enough in the gospel to comfort the saints when dying, and underneath them are the everlasting arms. The Lord's people feast at his table, upon the provisions of his love. Satan and wicked men are not able to destroy their comforts, while they are anointed with the Holy Spirit, and drink of the cup of salvation which is ever full. Past experience teaches believers to trust that the goodness and mercy of God will follow them all the days of their lives, and it is their desire and determination, to seek their happiness in the service of God here, and they hope to enjoy his love for ever in heaven. While here, the Lord can make any situation pleasant, by the anointing of his Spirit and the joys of his salvation. But those that would be satisfied with the blessings of his house, must keep close to the duties of it.
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