This post is excerpted from the new book Psalms: An Honor-Shame Paraphrase of 15 Psalms.
Psalm 23 is a popular hymn that speaks about God’s generous, honoring patronage. David uses two common metaphors to convey God’s protection and provision for his people—God is both a shepherd and a host. These images worshipfully portray Yahweh’s patron-client relationship with his people. God is always faithful and benevolent.
Honor-Shame Paraphrase of Psalm 23
My patron is Yahweh.
He generously provides for my every need.
He gifts me the finest.
He brings me to the best places.
His perfect care delights my heart.
He gives wise guidance so that I’m never lost.
This lavish generosity makes his name great.1–3
Even when the clouds of shame and despair gather,
I do not worry,
because you, O God, have my back.
Your strong hand gives me complete assurance.4
You welcome me to a lavish banquet,
so everyone sees I’m your honored guest.
You exalt me to prominence;
your favor towards me reaches to the heavens.
Without any doubt, you faithfully provide for me every day.
You always extend hospitality and honor me with your presence.5–6