Psalm 23 The Lord Is My Shepherd
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters;
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.
4 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.
5 Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
Thou anointest my head with oil,
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
– Psalm 23
Commentary based on St. Thomas Aquinas
Psalm 23 seems to describe those walking upon a path: it can signify the return of the people from Babylon, and the return of Christ to heaven from earth.
Here, David brings past kindnesses to mind, and then future ones. He brings to mind those kindnesses which consist, first, in the comfort of goods, and secondly in aid against evils. He calls to mind, first, the sufficiency of the divine promise, second, its fullness and third, its effect, at, He restores my soul.
He who shepherds, rules. And this is understood on the part of the Church, (and is) to be said of Christ who is our shepherd.
David describes every abundance metaphorically through an abundance of food and drink. For if He pastures us, He is related to us as a shepherd to (His) sheep, who are nourished in two ways, namely by grass and water.
These abundances are the sacred writings of divine scripture and spiritual things: Ezekiel 34:14: …on green grass, and be fed in fat pastures…
Or it is the water of the wisdom of holy scripture; which is certainly food and water, because it strengthens much and refreshes respectively: Ecclesiasticus 15:3: The water of wholesome wisdom to drink.
The shadow of death signifies the deeds of heretics bearing within themselves the likeness of a devil.
The table refers to the altar.
Thou anointest my head with oil, that is with joy.
I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, that is, within the Church.