While no more inspired than any other Scripture, Psalms 23 is, indeed, one of its crown jewels. “Using common ancient near-eastern images,” writes one expositor, “David progressively unveils his personal relationship with the LORD.” David refers to the LORD as his Shepherd (Jehovah-Rā‘â,), and then in beautiful poetry speaks of what he receives from his Shepherd: protection (Psa_23:1-4), provision (Psa_23:5), and permanence (Psa_23:6).
Let us consider the nameDavid. While the etymology is uncertain, it is commonly believed that Dāwiḏ (H1732) is derived from the root dôḏ (H1730), meaning “beloved, loved one, and even uncle” (e.g., Lev_20:20). Most of its fifty-eight occurrences refer to “the beloved” in Song of Solomon. As David prefigures Messiah (Eze_34:23-24; Eze_37:24-25; Hos_3:5; Jer_30:9), who in turn was spoken of as the Father’s “beloved Son” (Mat_3:17), this etymology seems at least possible.
While there is much detail about this pivotal character—his name appears more than 1,000 times—we can briefly summarize David with seven words:
(1) Son. The youngest of eight brothers, David was the son of Jesse of Bethlehem, grandson of Ruth and Boaz, tracing his heritage back to Abraham and then forward to Messiah (Mat_1:1-17). Anointed secretly by Samuel as the next king (1Sa_16:1-13), this young man was infused with the Spirit and destined for true greatness. (2) Shepherd. Oh, the lessons he learned as a shepherd! Courage, compassion, care, and much more helped mold a leader. (3) Singer. A musician and poet without equal, David penned most of the Psalms, providing unprecedented praise to God. (4) Soldier. Facing Goliath in his youth and later entire armies, David was a true warrior who received his power from God. (5) Sovereign. In a forty-year reign (1010–970 BC), the Hebrew nation reached the peak of its unity and power under King David’s leadership. (6) Sinner. As no one is perfect, David fell into sin, the most grievous of which was adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. The consequences of sin are great, and untold misery came to David’s household. (7) Savior. Not David himself, of course, but the “Son of David,” Jesus Christ, who would save His people from their sins and sit on David’s throne.
Scriptures for Study:Read Psalms 51, David’s great psalm of repentance.