“These things I have spoken to you in parables, but the hour is coming when I will no more speak to you in proverbs, but will announce to you plainly concerning the Father.” - John 16:25
Kempton New Church

Week 5
Day 2


Psalms about the New Church

The Lord Teaches, Leads and Guards the Church

Psalm 23


A psalm of David.

Jehovah is my Shepherd;

I shall not want2.


He makes me to lie down in pastures of tender herb;

He guides me by waters of rest.


He restores my soul;

He leads me in paths of justice for the sake of His name.


Yea, though I walk in 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 arrangest a table before me

In the presence of my adversaries;

Thou anointest3 my head with oil;

My cup runs over4.


Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

And I shall dwell in the house of Jehovah for length of days.

versestopicSummary of the Spiritual Sense
12He teaches and leads to the truths and goods of heaven and the church;
512hence there will be no fear of the hells, for He guards, and imparts good and truth in abundance,
612in heaven with the Lord to eternity.

He makes me to lie down in pastures (v. 2).

AC 6078:4. “Pasture” in the internal sense is that which sustains the spiritual life, and especially it is the truth of memory-knowledge, for the soul of man desires this as the body desires food. This truth nourishes, and therefore “to feed” is to be instructed.... That memory-knowledges and truths sustain the soul of man is very evident from man’s longing to know things, and also from the correspondence of food with memory-knowledges.... This correspondence also shows itself in man when he is partaking of food, for if this is done while he is speaking and listening, the vessels which receive the nourishment are opened, and he is more fully nourished than if he is alone. Spiritual truths and instruction in them would have the same effect with men if they were in the affection of good.

That truths nourish the spiritual life is especially manifest with good spirits and with the angels in heaven, for both good spirits and angels have a constant longing to know things and to be wise. And when they lack this spiritual food they feel desolate, their life is languid, and they are hungry; and they are not restored and raised into the bliss of their life until their longing is satisfied.

But in order that memory-knowledges may yield healthful nourishment to the soul, there must be life in them from the goods of truth. If there is no life from this source, the memory-knowledges do indeed sustain the man’s interior life, but only his natural life, and not his spiritual life.

My Shepherd (v. 1-2, 5).

AE 375:34. This means, in the internal sense, that he who trusts in the Lord is led into all the goods and truths of heaven, and overflows with the enjoyments of them. “My Shepherd” means the Lord. “The pastures of tender herb” signify the knowledges of truth and good. “The waters of rest” signify the truths of heaven from them. “A table” signifies spiritual nourishment. “To make fat the head with oil” signifies wisdom which is from good. “My cup will overflow” signifies intelligence which is from truths, “cup” signifying the like as “wine.” “The pastures of the tender herb” and “the waters of rest” seem to be mentioned as if they were comparisons, because the Lord is called a shepherd, and the flock of the shepherd is led into pastures of herbs and to limpid waters; but still these are correspondences.

2be in want

3Literally, “makest fat”

4Literally, “has abundance”

Questions and Comments
  1. AC 6078:4 explains that “a ‘pasture’ in the internal sense is that which sustains the spiritual life.” How does the 23 rd Psalm sustain our spiritual life?
  2. At the end of AE 375:34, comparisons and correspondences are mentioned. What is the difference and why does it matter?
  3. Why does this psalm have such universal appeal?
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