Background I was reading about the Hebrew version of Psalm 23 (www.theisraelbible) drawn to the intriguing title “Since when do sheep sit at a table?” It isn’t unusual to have a poet use more than one analogy for the same thing, but in the second part of Psalm 23, it can be argued that there is an analogy for a different thing. Sheep are passively receiving the care of the shepherd. But in today’s reading there is at transition from us being sheep protected by God, to sitting at a table. The table is prepared “before” our enemies using a Hebrew word “in front of” with the connotation of opposition- as in to stand before a Judge or to stand up before your enemies. And the word translated as “anointed” is not the Hebrew word for anointed used elsewhere, but more of a cleansing or healing. So one way to think of this is that we have matured from a from passive role with God to being prepared and given all we need and to stand before our enemies- to go to battle for God.
Reading Psalm 23:4-5 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Reflection. Remember, we can have different perspectives on the Psalms without being wrong. How do you see this part of the Psalm? Does it resonate with you as being a peace and protected? At rest and comforted? Or do you see it as being promised that we have been given all we need, and more, to go forth and bring God’s will? What seems like a bigger truth in your life- or does it change?