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A Psalm of David


The Psalm before us is sung in the person[1] of the nations as they rejoice that the Lord shepherds them. And indeed they expound the sumptuous feast that the One who shepherds them sets before them.

The Lord shepherds me. Those who are shepherded by him take pride in the Lord.

On a place of green pasture he has settled me. He has settled me in the beauty of a summer meadow, means the meadow of the spirit.

By the water of rest he has nurtured me. Water of rest is to be thought of as that of holy Baptism, which wipes away the burden of sins.

He has turned my soul back. When he had turned my soul back from the captivity of the devil, he guided me towards his commandments from death to life. It means the doctrines of the Gospel.

Your rod and your staff have comforted me. It means Christ himself. And ‘the Lord will send you a rod of power out of Sion’[2]. And ‘a glorious rod and a rod of majesty’[3]. The power that corrects is a rod and the help that comes through consolation is a staff.

You have anointed my head with oil. This is the mystical anointing. And your cup inebriates me. Again it means mystical joy.

And your mercy will pursue me all my days. For those who have shared in the things already mentioned will be at all times in God’s mercy; and they will truly dwell in his house.

[1] In Greek ek prosopou. The word prosopon means the mask worn by an actor. Another translation, then, might be ‘in the character of’.

[2] Psalm 109:2.

[3] Jeremias 31:17.


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Archimandrite Ephrem ©

This page was last updated on 03 November 2008