Psalms 23

Study the Inner Meaning

English: King James Version         

← Psalms 22   Psalms 24 →

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 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.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

← Psalms 22   Psalms 24 →
   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 273


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 57, 650, 3384, 3696, 4715, 4876, 5120, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 50, 383, 485, 672


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 71, 220, 375, 482, 662, 727, 960

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 15:27

Psalms 27:4, 31:4, 34:10, 11, 92:11, 106:8, 109:21

Proverbs 4:11

Isaiah 40:11, 43:2

Jeremiah 31:25

Ezekiel 34:14

John 10:11, 14

Revelation 7:17

Word/Phrase Explanations

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

shepherd
The Writings tell us that shepherds represent those who lead and teach others, using knowledge and true ideas to help people reach the goodness of...

Want
'Want of spiritual nourishment,' denotes a lack of knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom.

lie down
To “lie down” in the Bible represents a state of spiritual serenity, a time when temptations are distant and we are not in spiritual conflict....

lie
When people lie or speak falsely in the Bible, It represents what Swedenborg calls "falsity of faith" and the resulting "evil of faith." This is...

green
The color green is almost exclusively used in connection with plants in the Bible (the exceptions include two stomach-turning references to moldy plagues in Leviticus),...

pastures
Plants in the Bible generally represent facts, knowledge that can be gleaned from the world. Plants that can serve animals as food represent facts that...

leadeth
The meaning of "leading" people in the Bible is pretty straightforward, though obviously it is about leading people in spiritual things, not natural ones. When...

still
When something is described as quiet, still or calm in the Bible, it represents the state of peace that comes with being aligned with the...

Waters
'Waters,' 'rivers,' and 'depths,' as in Psalm 78:15-16, signify truths from the Lord.

restoreth
Everyone knows the phrase "the natural order of things." It means that everything is in its proper place, occupying the niche it is meant to...

soul
The nature of the soul is a deep and complicated topic, but it can be summarized as "spiritual life," who we are in terms of...

paths
These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

righteousness
The word "righteous" has taken on a bit of negative shading in modern language. That may be because we hear it most often as part...

name
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

walk
To walk in the Bible represents living, and usually means living according to the true things taught to us by the Lord -- to "walk...

valley
Mountains in the Bible represent people's highest points, where we are closest to the Lord - our love of the Lord and the state of...

valley of
'The valley of Siddim' signifies the uncleanness of lust, and the falsities derived from them.

Shadow
'The shadow is good' of the oak, poplar and elm means complacence.

Shadow of death
'The shadow of death' has respect to the states of people in hell, who are in the falsities of evil.

Fear
Fear has various significations according to the thing which causes it. Fear signifies love. Fear, as in Gen 28:17, signifies a holy change.

rod
To ask counsel at their stocks,' as in Hosea 4:12, signifies the good of the delight that comes from some lusts.

comfort
When the Bible talks about someone being comforted or consoled, it generally means that they are being offered ideas that will help bring them to...

preparest
In general, when something is "prepared" in the Bible it means that it is in the proper spiritual order, which happens when our hearts and...

table
Food and drink in the Bible represent the desire to be loving and the understanding of how to be loving, gifts that flow from the...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

enemies
An enemy in the Bible refers to people who are in the love of evil and the false thinking that springs from evil. On a...

anointest
Oil in the Bible represents the Lord’s love, so anointing someone (or something) with oil was a way to make that person (or object) a...

head
The head is the part of us that is highest, which means in a representative sense that it is what is closest to the Lord....

oil
In Revelation 18:13, 'wine, oil, flour, and wheat' signify celestial principles of worship.

cup
"Cup" in the Bible is often used as synonym for wine, and the meaning is essentially the same: Cups represent true ideas on the spiritual...

over
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

follow
The basic meaning of "follow" in the Bible is pretty obvious if we consider what it means to "follow the Lord." That obviously doesn't mean...

days
"Day" describes a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, and are receiving light (which is truth) and heat (which is a desire...

life
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

dwell
Many people were nomadic in Biblical times, especially the times of the Old Testament, and lived in tents that could be struck, moved and re-raised...

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

house of the
'The house of the prison' denotes the vastation of falsity, and also falsity itself.

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 A Shepherd and His Sheep
Use oil pastels or wax crayons to make a picture of shepherd, then use a sponge (cut into the shape of a lamb) to make little lambs around him.
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Blessings: Good Tidings of Great Joy
Blessings to say at mealtime.
Activity | Ages over 7

 Blessings: Unto Us a Child Is Born
Blessings to say at mealtime.
Activity | Ages over 7

 Experiencing the Twenty-third Psalm
Explore the meaning of each phrase in Psalm 23, then help children experience it using their five senses.
Activity | Ages up to 10

 Following the Lord Our Shepherd
Use magnets to picture members of a family following the Lord as the shepherd.
Project | Ages up to 10

 Lord Is My Shepherd Diorama
Make a simple diorama to help remember the Lord's unceasing care.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Memory Verse: God Meant It for Good
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Out of the Forest
A story showing how the Lord leads as described in the 23rd Psalm.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Quotes: The Lord Is My Shepherd
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Rainbow Method of Learning the 23rd Psalm
Use the colors of the rainbow to help you learn the sequence of this psalm. 
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

 Ribbon Bookmark to Embroider
Embroider a satin ribbon with the words: "The Lord is my Shepherd" and pictures of a shepherd's staff and a little lamb.
Project | Ages over 7

 Shepherd and His Sheep Diorama
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 Talking with Your Child About the Twenty-Third Psalm
Article | Ages over 18

 The Good Shepherd
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 7

 The Good Shepherd
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 The Lord Is My Shepherd
The Lord with His flock all around Him.
Coloring Page | All Ages

 The Lord Is My Shepherd
Print and display this lovely poster of the Twenty-third Psalm with an illustrative color border.
Picture | Ages over 7

 The Lord Is My Shepherd
"The teaching that the Lord is our Shepherd is a powerful and comforting one. The relationship between the sheep and their shepherd involves a sense of trust and security.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Lord Is Our Shepherd
Color picture of the Lord our Shepherd.
Picture | Ages up to 14

 The Lord’s Rod and Staff
This family talk explains what the Lord's rod and staff are in our lives, and how He uses them to comfort us. 
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Shepherd Rescuing His Sheep
Project | Ages 11 - 17

 The Stream of Providence Game
This game is about the Lord leading us toward His heavenly sheepfold. 
Activity | Ages 11 - 14

 The Twenty-third Psalm
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Twenty-third Psalm Book
Illustrate the literal meaning of the psalm or its application to life. 
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 The Twenty-third Psalm Calligraphy with Illustrations
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Twenty Third Psalm
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Two Roads
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Understanding the Twenty-third Psalm
An outline showing parts of the Psalm 23 with suggestions for explaining them to children.
Activity | Ages 4 - 10


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