The 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is My Shepherd I shall Not Want” Is the best known Psalm of the old Testament.
Like all the psalms, Psalm 23 was used in worship of the ancient Hebrew. The theme of God as a shepherd was common in ancient Palestine and Mesopotamia. For example, King Hammurabi, in the conclusion to his famous legal code, wrote: “I am the shepherd who brings well-being and abundant prosperity; my rule is just…. so that the strong might not oppress the weak, and that even the orphan and the widow might be treated with justice.” This imagery and language was well-known to the community that created the Psalm, and was easily imported into its worship.
For Christians the image of God as a shepherd evokes connections not only with David but with Jesus, described as “Good Shepherd” in the Gospel of John. The phrase about “the valley of the shadow of death” is often taken as an allusion to the eternal life given by Jesus.