- Psalm 23 portrays God as a shepherd, feeding (verse 1) and leading (verse 3) his flock. The "rod and staff" (verse 4) are also the implements of a shepherd. Some commentators see the shepherd imagery pervading the entire psalm. J. Douglas MacMillan argues that "you prepare a table for me" in verse 5 refers to the "old oriental shepherding practice" of using little raised tables to feed sheep. Similarly, "you anoint my head with oil" may refer to an ancient form of backliner—the oil is poured on wounds, and repels flies. MacMillan also notes that "Goodness and mercy" in verse 6 remind him of two sheepdogs coming behind the flock.
In Jewish tradition
- Divine Shepherd