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A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller

Drawing upon his years of experience as a sheep rancher, Keller reveals depths of meaning in this well-known but imperfectly-understood Psalm unimagined by people living in modern non-agricultural societies. His intimate knowledge of the terminology of sheepherding, the common habits and maladies of sheep, and the concerns and practices of conscientious shepherds enables the author to explain the symbolism behind virtually every phrase of the poem, which he interprets as a recounting of the cycle of the year for sheep and shepherd. Additionally, Keller pulls into his exposition the threads of Jesus' descriptions of Himself in the gospel of John, weaving a rich tapestry portrait of the Good Shepherd.

I was amazed and humbled to discover the parallels between the life of sheep and our journey of faith. Reflection on the principles presented here will serve to both broaden and deepen the comfort so many derive from these familiar verses. I encourage the reader to take time to savor each phrase and its underlying significance.

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