Just as Psalm 8 is an oasis amid laments that focus our attention on the glorious creation, so Psalm 23 is another oasis focusing our attention on the paths of righteousness that are the goodness and grace of God, which cannot be broken through by adversity.  This perspective casts further light on the ambiguous preposition, “neged,” of 23.5.  If the oil and the wine of the table prepared is the righteous path of life that God lays down for the sake of His name, “neged” truly means “against” the adversary of fear – that is, against the fear of losing one’s moral and spiritual grounding in the face of adversity.  This is the fear that is stilled by the care-taking shepherd.  The “sheep” lack nothing (23.1) because God supplies the need that truly enables them to dwell in His house throughout their lives.  The tracks for a morally strong life are secure.  This reading carries us back to Psalm 1, which links happiness to God’s teaching.  Considered in light of Psalm 23, that happiness is the freedom from the fear that one might become one of the evil ones whose deeds and malevolent aspirations haunt the lament psalms.

From: Psalms 1-50: Sighs and Songs of Israel by Ellen T. Charry; Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible series (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2015), pp. 120-121.

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