Verse 6. "Goodness and mercy shall follow me " - As I pass on through the vale of life, thy goodness and mercy shall follow my every step; as I proceed, so shall they. There seems to be an allusion here to the waters of the rock smitten by the rod of Moses, which followed the Israelites all the way through the wilderness, till they came to the Promised Land. God never leaves his true followers providential mercies gracious influences, and miraculous interferences, shall never be wanting when they are necessary. I will dwell in the house, ytbw veshabti, "and I shall RETURN to the house of the Lord," for ever, µymy ūral leorech yamim, "for length of days." During the rest of my life, I shall not be separated from God's house, nor from God's ordinances; and shall at last dwell with him in glory. These two last verses seem to be the language of a priest returned from captivity to live in the temple, and to serve God the rest of his life.
ANALYSIS OF THE TWENTY-THIRD PSALM
The scope of this Psalms is to show the happiness of that man who has God for his protector, and is under his care and tuition.
To illustrate this protection, &c., David proposes two allegories: the one of a shepherd; the other of a free- hearted man given to hospitality, and entertaining his guests bountifully. It has two parts: the first sets forth, 1.
God's care in providing him with all necessaries, ver. 1-4. 2. His liberality in supplying him with all that he needed, ver. 5.
The second part shows his confidence in God's grace, and his thankfulness, ver. 6.
I. He begins the first with this position, "God is my shepherd;" and upon it infers, "Therefore I shall not want." He will do for me what a good shepherd will do for his sheep.
1. He will feed me in green pastures, ver. 2.
2. He will there provide for my safety: "He makes me to lie down." 3. He will provide waters of comfort for me.
4. These waters shall be gently-flowing streams, still waters-not turbulent and violent.
5. He will take care to preserve me in health; if sick, he will restore me.
6. He goes before and leads me, that I may not mistake my way: "He leads me in paths of righteousness," which is his love; for it is "for his name's sake." 7. He restores. If I err and go astray, and vu;alk through the valley of the shadow of death, (for a sheep is a straggling creature,) I will fear no evil: for his rod and staff comfort me, his law and his Gospel both contribute to my correction and support.
Thus, as a good Shepherd, he supplies me with necessaries, that I want nothing: but over and above, as a bountiful Lord, he has furnished me copiously with varieties which may be both for ornament and honour.
1. He has prepared a table for me-and that in the presence of my enemies.
2. He hath anointed my head with oil, to refresh my spirits, and cheer my countenance.
3. And my cup runneth over-with the choicest wine he gladdens my heart.
II. The last verse, 1. Sets out David's confidence that it shall be no worse with him: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life." 2. Then he expresses his thankfulness: "I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." In thy house, among the faithful, I will praise thy name as long as I live.
On each point in this analysis the reader is requested to consult the notes.