1 sn Psalm 23. In vv. 1-4 the psalmist pictures the Lord as a shepherd who provides for his needs and protects him from danger. The psalmist declares, “The Lord is my shepherd,” and then extends and develops that metaphor, speaking as if he were a sheep. In vv. 5-6 the metaphor changes as the psalmist depicts a great royal banquet hosted by the Lord. The psalmist is a guest of honor and recipient of divine favor, who enjoys unlimited access to the divine palace and the divine presence.
2 sn The LORD is my shepherd. The opening metaphor suggests the psalmist is assuming the role of a sheep. In vv. 1b-4 the psalmist extends the metaphor and explains exactly how the LORD is like a shepherd to him. At the surface level the language can be understood in terms of a shepherd’s relationship to his sheep. The translation of vv. 1-4 reflects this level. But, of course, each statement also points to an underlying reality.
3 tn The imperfect verbal form is best understood as generalizing; the psalmist highlights his typical or ongoing experience as a result of having the LORD as his shepherd (habitual present use). The next verse explains more specifically what he means by this statement.