|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 5. - Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. Another transition. The danger of death is past. David reverts to the thought of the tranquil, happy, joyous time which God has vouchsafed to grant him. He has "adversaries," indeed, but they are powerless to effect anything against hint They have to look on with ill-concealed annoyance at his prosperity, to see his table amply spread; his condition such as men generally envy; his wealth typified by abundant oil - thou anointest (or, makest fat, marginal rendering) my head with oil - great, his whole life full to overflowing with blessedness. My cup runneth over, he declares - is not only full to the brim, but runs over the brim - an expressive metaphor, indicative of a state of bliss rarely experienced in this life.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thou preparest a table before me,.... In a providential way granting a sufficiency, and even an affluence of temporal good things; the providence of God lays and spreads a table for his people in the wilderness, and sets them down at it, and bids them welcome to it; see Psalm 78:19; and in a way of grace, the Lord making large provisions in his house for them, called the goodness and fatness of his house, and a feast of fat things; and under the Gospel dispensation, the table of the Lord, on which are set his flesh and blood for faith to feed upon; see Proverbs 9:2; and also in heaven, the joys of which are compared to a feast, and the enjoyment of them to sitting at a table, and which are prepared by the Lord for his people, from the foundation of the world; and of which they have some foresight and foretaste in this world; see Luke 22:30; and all this
in the presence of my enemies; they seeing and envying the outward prosperity of the saints, whenever they enjoy it, and their liberty of worshipping God, hearing his word, and attending on his ordinances, none making them afraid; as they will see, and envy, and be distressed at a more glorious state of the church yet to come, Revelation 11:12; and even, as it should seem from the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the glory and happiness of the saints in the other world will be seen, or by some way or other known, by wicked men; which will be an affliction to them, and an aggravation of their misery; though here it seems chiefly to regard the present life. Some have thought there is an allusion to princes, who, having conquered others, eat and feast at a well spread table in the presence of the conquered, and they being under it; see Judges 1:7;
thou anointest my head with oil; giving him an abundance of good things, not only for necessity, but for pleasure and delight; especially pouring out largely upon him the oil of gladness, the Spirit of God and his graces, the anointing which teaches all things, and filling him with spiritual joy and comfort; for this refers not to the anointing of David with material oil for the kingdom, by Samuel, while Saul was living, or by the men of Judah, and afterwards by all the tribes of Israel, when Saul was dead. The allusion is to the custom of the eastern countries, at feasts, to anoint the heads of the guests with oil; see Ecclesiastes 9:7. It was usual to anoint the head, as well as other parts of the body, on certain occasions; hence that of Propertius (y): and in the times before Homer (z) it was usual both to wash and anoint before meals, and not the head only, but the feet also; which, though Pliny (a) represents as luxurious, was in use in Christ's time, Luke 7:38; and spoken of as an ancient custom by Aristophanes (b) his Scholiast for daughters to anoint the feet of their parents after they had washed them; which may serve to illustrate the passage in the Gospel; see Ecclesiastes 9:8;
my cup runneth over; denoting an affluence of temporal good things, and especially of spiritual ones, which was David's case. Such who are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ, to whom the grace of the Lord has been exceeding abundant, and the Lord himself is the portion of their cup, their cup may be said to run over indeed.
(y) "Terque lavet nostras spica cilissa comas", l. 4. eleg. 6. v. 74. (z) Iliad. 10. v. 577, 578. Odyss. l. 3. v. 466. & l. 8. v. 454. & l. 10. v. 450. (a) Nat. Hist. l. 13. c. 3.((b) Vespes, p. 473, 516, 517.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5, 6. Another figure expresses God's provided care.
a table—or, "food," anointing
oil—the symbol of gladness, and the overflowing
cup—which represents abundance—are prepared for the child of God, who may feast in spite of his enemies, confident that this favor will ever attend him. This beautiful Psalm most admirably sets before us, in its chief figure, that of a shepherd, the gentle, kind, and sure care extended to God's people, who, as a shepherd, both rules and feeds them. The closing verse shows that the blessings mentioned are spiritual.
Psalm 23:5 Parallel Commentaries
Psalm 23:5 NIV
Psalm 23:5 NLT
Psalm 23:5 ESV
Psalm 23:5 NASB
Psalm 23:5 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible