8. The Lord Our Provider and Shepherd

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Audio (34:59) |

Good Shepherd Sarcophagus, Catacombs, Rome
Sarcophagus of the Good Shepherd, marble, bas relief, Praetexta Catacomb, Rome, c. 390 AD. Larger picture.

In this chapter we'll examine the LORD our Provider (Yahewh-jireh), explore the metaphors of God which demonstrate his willingness to help, assist, and provide for his people. One of the best known of these is the Lord Our Shepherd (Yahweh-rohi, Psalm 23), who leads us and supplies our needs. In addition we'll explore the God Who Sees (´El-roi) and the LORD is our Healer (Yawheh-rapha).

God Tests Abraham on Mt. Moriah (Genesis 22:1-14)

Let's begin with the familiar story of Abraham preparing to sacrifice Isaac on Mt. Moriah. It's a wonderful story. (There's a detailed exposition of this passage, "Abraham Offers Isaac on Mt. Moriah," in my Faith of Abraham Bible Study series.) Here we're focusing on how God provides. But let's sketch the outlines of the story. Abraham and Sarah have been childless until he at the age of 100 and she at 90 become the proud parents of Isaac. Now the elderly couple is enjoying parenthood. I'm guessing that Isaac is 8 or 9 when God speaks to Abraham again:

"1Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, 'Abraham!'
'Here I am,' he replied.
2Then God said, 'Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.'" (Genesis 22:1-2)

Abraham is in Beersheba in the Negev desert to the south of Palestine. Mt. Moriah may refer to the temple site in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 3:1). Child sacrifice was practiced during some periods by the Canaanites and Phoenicians, and Abraham didn't know that the God who had revealed himself to him didn't require child sacrifice. So he obeyed -- immediately -- a pretty clear indicator of Abraham's faith in and devotion to God, and to the clarity of God's words to him.

"3Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5He said to his servants, 'Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.'" (Genesis 22:3-5)

Now the boy begins to realize that something is missing -- the sacrifice.

"6Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, 'Father?'
'Yes, my son?' Abraham replied.
'The fire and wood are here,' Isaac said, 'but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?'
8Abraham answered, 'God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.' And the two of them went on together." (Genesis 22:6-8)

The father reassures his young son with his own faith in the God he has come to trust. "Provide" is rā´eh, which here and in verse 14 carries the idea "to provide, furnish."1

"9When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!'
Here I am,' he replied.
12'Do not lay a hand on the boy,' he said. 'Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.'" (Genesis 22:9-12)

Abraham's faith and commitment are clear. Of course, God knew how Abraham would respond, but this was a test of faith, much like tests we sometimes face. And God sees us through our tests, too.

The LORD Will Provide (Yahweh-yir´eh, Genesis 22:13-14)

Jan Lievens, Abraham's Offering
"Abraham's Offering" by Jan Lievens (Dutch painter, 1607-1674), Herzog Anton-Ulrich Museum, Germany.

Now let's look at the key text that relates to God's provision:

13Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide (Yahweh-yir´eh). And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." (Genesis 22:13-14)

In this case Abraham doesn't call God a different name, but he names the place with a compound, "Yahweh Provides" (New Jerusalem Bible). The King James Version transliterates the Hebrew words as "Jehovah-jireh." A better pronunciation here is Yahweh-yir´eh.2

This was the first time we know of that Abraham had to trust God to provide. Later, as God reveals himself to Moses and the people of Israel, they begin to understand that this is part of God's responsibility as King and part of his role as Father and part of his character as the Loving God. In the New Testament we see two clear statements:

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33, KJV)
"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)

From that day forward, Abraham remembered the name he had given that mountain top -- Jehovah-jireh, Yahweh-yir´eh, "The LORD Will Provide."

Q1. (Genesis 22:1-14) Do you think Abraham was really expecting God to provide a sacrifice, or that was just what he told Isaac? What support do you have for your position? Did you ever receive a last-minute provision from God? In what circumstances can we expect God to supply our needs? Any conditions?





Abraham's experience of the Lord Who Provides on Mt. Moriah was just the beginning. In a number of ways, God revealed himself to Israel as their Provider.

The Analogy of the Shepherd

The Israelites were sheep and cattle herders from their very beginnings with Abraham, who possessed vast herds, so many sheep that he and Lot had to separate in order to have enough pastureland for both (Genesis 13:6). When they settled in the promised land after the exodus, most Israelites became subsistence farmers, growing their own food. But most families would have a few cattle and sheep, and some, like David's father Jesse, had larger herds that required the services of a shepherd.

In this agricultural economy, the care that a shepherd provides his sheep offers a wonderful analogy of the care that God provides his people. The shepherd was often a younger family member, though sometimes individuals were employed to shepherd an owner's flock. This is what a shepherd would do:

  1. Lead the sheep to watering holes and fresh green pasture when they had eaten off the grass in one place. Shepherds today use sheepdogs to drive the herd, but in Biblical days the shepherd would lead the flock personally. One day when I was driving north along the Jordan River to Galilee I saw a Palestinian shepherd leading a flock of 30 to 40 sheep along a path on a hillside. Shepherds had a personal relationship with the sheep, naming them, talking to them, calling them. As Jesus explained in a parable: "... The sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out" (John 10:5).
  2. Protect the sheep from dangers such as wolves, lions, and bears. David's confidence in the face of Goliath was gained killing a lion and bear (1 Samuel 17:34-36; see also Isaiah 31:4). In a parable pointing to his own crucifixion, Jesus pointed out that a hireling would run away from danger, while the owner (or his children) would stay to protect and defend the sheep, to the point of laying down his life (John 10:12-15)
  3. Heal the sheep when they were injured. Shepherds would bind up their wounds and help them during birthing, as they do today.
  4. Rescue the lost sheep. If a sheep wandered off, it was the job of the shepherd to look for it until he found it. Jesus' Parable of the Lost Sheep made the point that a good shepherd wasn't satisfied with just the needs of the larger group, but also sought out the wandering sheep and rejoiced when he had found it (Luke 15:3-7).

The analogy of the shepherd was not only used to describe God, but also secular and religious leaders. (Of course, the word "pastor" in English and in Spanish means "shepherd.") Prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel were sharply critical of the leaders of Israel in his day who neglected their responsibility to care for the people (Jeremiah 23:1-4; 50:6; Ezekiel 34:1-10).

God our Shepherd

Consider these references to God as Shepherd of his people:

"The God before whom my ancestors Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd3 all my life to this day." (Genesis 48:15)
"He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young." (Isaiah 40:11)
"Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock;
you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth." (Psalm 80:1)

In one passage Yahweh is called "the true pasture" (Jeremiah 50:7). "Pasture" (NIV, NRSV) is nāweh, which means "pasture, abode of a shepherd, habitation ... where the herd lies down, a place of safety and protection."4 "True" is tsedeq, "justice, righteousness"5 or "rightness, what is right."6 Israel had strayed like lost sheep and had forgotten their own resting place,7 Yahweh, their true pasture.

The LORD our Shepherd (Yahweh-rohi, Psalm 23)

The best known and loved passage about God the Shepherd is the Twenty-Third Psalm. It begins identifying Yahweh as "my shepherd." Let's use this psalm to examine some of the ways in which God cares for us:

"1The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

The basic premise is that since Yahweh is my shepherd, then I shall never be in need for anything. "Be in want" is chāsēr, "lack, have a need, be lacking."8

The Shepherd Provides Food (Psalm 23:2)

The Shepherd is a servant leader, leading to help the sheep find rest, pasture, and water to meet their physical needs.

"He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters." (Psalm 23:2)

"Leads" is nāhal, "lead with care, guide to a watering-place or station, and cause to rest there, lead, guide, refresh."9 Shepherd leadership was Jesus' leadership model. Secular leaders often lead for their own gain and benefit, Jesus said, but Christian leaders must be servants, slaves of those they lead (Mark 10:42-44). Jesus said: "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).

The Shepherd Provides Restoration and Refreshing (Psalm 23:3a)

"He restores my soul" (Psalm 23:3a). "Restore" is shûb, which here means figuratively, "refresh, restore," literally, "repair."10 For a sheep, this might include rescue from danger and then getting the animal back into good health through rest and recuperation. For a person, it might include rescue from a messed up life, and the gradual restoration to wholeness through loving care. God is in the restoration and wholeness business. He wants you to be refreshed as you rest in him.

The Shepherd Guides in Righteous Ways (Psalm 23:3b)

"He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake" (Psalm 23:3b). "Guide" (NIV) and "lead" (KJV, NRSV) here is nāchā, "lead, guide," with the idea of conducting of one along the right path.11 Notice the reason that he leads us in these particular paths -- "for his name's sake," that is, because the Lord's reputation and character require that he lead in righteous ways. We are tempted get off the trail by taking moral short-cuts, but our Shepherd leads us in paths of righteousness.

Protection and Assurance in Fear (Psalm 23:4)

"Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4)

The shepherd will sometimes need to lead the flock through uncomfortable places to get them to the next pasture. John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club and father of the American national park movement, was a shepherd when he was young. Early in the summer he would be given a flock and take it higher and higher into the Sierra to bring it to fresh, green pasture. Sometimes the trail between pasture in Yosemite Valley and Toulumne Meadows might be terrifying to the sheep. They wouldn't know where he was going. If they had been people they would have second-guessed their shepherd: "Do you know where in the world you are going?" they might ask -- as we sometimes ask of God.

The "valley of the shadow of death" could be rendered "darkest valley" (NRSV, NIV margin). Tsalmāwet, means "deep darkness," sometimes translated "thick darkness," "thick gloom," from tsalāmu or tsālal, "to be dark."12

What encourages and comforts the sheep in the fearful darkness of this mountain canyon is the sight of the shepherd's rod and staff. They are the elements of protection that will ward off the wolf. The sheep see the rod and they know that the shepherd will use it to protect them, even to the extent of putting his life at risk -- and they are comforted. Your Shepherd is committed to delivering you from your enemies and has indeed laid down his life for you in the battle for your soul.

Q2. (Psalm 23) Can you remember any times when God has cared for you as a Shepherd -- in times of blessing and in times of trouble? What are you facing right now where you realize your need to rely on God as your Shepherd?





The Gracious Host (Psalm 23:5)

The psalmist now strays from the sheep analogy, but Yahweh is still the subject of his thoughts:

"You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows." (Psalm 23:5)

The word for "table" (shūlchān) means properly "skin or leather mat" spread on the ground.13 I imagine a sumptuous picnic set by a gracious host. Enemies are hiding in rocks around about, spying on the feast set for the guest by the host. But their malevolence doesn't ruin the party because of the host's loving attention.

When guests were welcomed in a Near East home it was polite to provide a basin for them to wash their feet, they would receive a kiss, and the host would pour fragrant olive oil on their hair (Luke 7:44-46).

"My cup overflows," is a symbol of abundance. The host doesn't just pour it almost full, but overfull -- it's figurative, of course, not literal. God's love for us and provision for us is not meager or stingy, but liberal and abundant.

Eternal Life (Psalm 23:6)

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever" (Psalm 23:6).

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me," is the psalmist's firm assurance, since Yahweh is his Shepherd and Host. "Follow" is rādap, "be behind, follow after, pursue, persecute."14 In this context, enemies will not chase after him, but he will be pursued by goodness and mercy. What a positive, hopeful, wonderful promise. The psalmist is not a bitter pessimist, but a faith-filled, in-awe-of-God optimist.

"Forever" (NIV, KJV, NASB), "my whole life long" (NRSV), "for all time to come" (New Jerusalem Bible) translate two words: ´ōrek, "length" (from ´ārak, "to be long") and yôm, "day, time, year." Hebrew really has no synonym for "eternity" and "forever." But the phrase "to the length of days" found here can be used to express "a protracted period of time" and "in some contexts signify the everlasting afterlife."15

One of the hallmarks of Hebrew poetry is parallelism -- synonymous parallelism, antithetic parallelism, and sometimes synthetic parallelism. Sometimes a pair of lines seems to have similarity and progression. While the NRSV sees these two lines as parallel in time, most modern translations see the second line as moving beyond the first. The first line describes the psalmist's experience during his natural life ("all the days of my life"), and the second line ventures into the life beyond -- what Christians call eternal life ("I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever").

God of Seeing (El-roi)

The metaphors of God the Provider and Helper abound in scripture. Another appears in the story of Hagar in the wilderness (Genesis 16). (You can see a full exposition of this story in "God Speaks to Hagar, Abraham's Other Wife," in my Faith of Abraham series.)

Since Sarah can't bear children, she gives her slave Hagar to Abraham to bear children by him. But when she becomes pregnant, Hagar gets uppity, making Sarah intensely jealous and Sarah mistreats her. Pregnant Hagar runs away into the wilderness around Beersheba, trying to find her way home to Egypt. There the Angel of the Lord meets her, tells her about her son Ishmael to be born, and directs her to return and submit to her mistress Sarah. When the Angel (or an appearance of the Lord) leaves, Hagar is in awe:

"So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, "Thou art a God of seeing"; for she said, "Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing him?" (Genesis 16:13)

"Seeing" is the noun ro´î, "looking, seeing, sight." With ´El, the generic term for God, the phrase means "God of seeing" or "God who sees."16 It is variously translated as "the God who sees me" (NIV, the Message), "a God who sees" (NASB), and "Thou God seest me" (KJV). The Jerusalem Bible and NRSV don't attempt a translation, but transliterate the Hebrew, "You are El-roi."

Wherever we are, whatever trouble we are in -- even through our own mistakes and impulsive actions -- God sees us. He saw Hagar for Abraham's sake, since she was bearing Abraham's child. He sees us for Jesus' sake, since we are not our own, we have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

The LORD Your Healer (Yahweh-rapha)

Early in their wilderness journey, just after singing the Song of Moses and of Miriam, the Lord made a conditional promise to the Israelites:

"If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in his sight, and give heed to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will not bring upon you any of the diseases that I brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you." (Exodus 15:26, NRSV)

It is variously translated: "I am Yahweh your Healer." (NJB), "I, the LORD, am your healer" (NASB), and "I am GOD your healer" (The Message). The verb is rāpā´, "heal, make healthful."17 You can see several other mentions of God as healer:

"I will take sickness away from among you." (Exodus 23:25)
"Bless the LORD, O my soul ...
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases." (Psalm 103:3)
"The LORD ... heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds." (Psalm 147:3)

Of course, one of the important functions of a shepherd was to be a physician and healer to the sheep, binding up their wounds and helping them in birthing.

God our Light and Sun

There were many sun gods. The Israelites didn't worship sun, rather saw the light and warmth of the sun as a metaphor of God's supply.

"For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the LORD withhold
from those who walk uprightly." (Psalm 84:11)
"The LORD is my light and my salvation...." (Psalm 27:1a)
"... The LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory." (Isaiah 60:19b)
"And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb." (Revelation 21:23)

Other Provider Metaphors for God

A couple of miscellaneous metaphors: Ezekiel's vision of Jerusalem is focused on God's presence there:

"And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The LORD is There (Yahweh-Shammah)." (Ezekiel 48:35)

The Lord supplies strength and joy. "The LORD is my strength and my song (Exodus 15:2; Psalm 118:14, Isaiah 12:2). "Song" is zimrâ, "song, music". Perhaps this is a way of saying, God, you are the music of my life!

In a number of passages God is related to a particular place. But in this one case God identifies himself as the God of Bethel, that is the God who revealed himself to Jacob and reassured him at Bethel (which means "House of God," Genesis 31:13; 35:7).

The LORD is my Portion

A number of times God is spoken of as the "Portion" of his people. "Portion" is chēleq, "share, part, territory," from chālaq, "to share, divide, allot, apportion, assign." A related concept is inheritance. The main idea here is that God is his people's sufficiency. Yahweh himself is the possession of his people.18

"My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever." (Psalm 73:26)

Similar expressions are found in Psalm 119:57; 142:5; and Lamentations 3:24. Jeremiah calls him "the Portion of Jacob" (Jeremiah 10:16 = 51:19). The priests and Levites weren't given land as their inheritance. Instead, "I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites" (Numbers 18:20). And, conversely, his people are the Lord's portion, as well (Deuteronomy 32:9).

What an exciting idea! I am a share-holder in God himself. He is my share, my allotted portion. Most of the Israelites received land as their apportionment when the land was finally conquered and divided up. Not so, the priests and Levites. God himself was their portion and inheritance! At the same time, this is saying that God, not the land, is responsible for providing for their needs. Look at one final passage of this type, rather literally:

"The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
Thou dost support my lot." (Psalm 16:5, NASB)

"Portion of my inheritance" is made up of two words. "Inheritance" is chēleq, "share, part, territory, which we explored above. "Portion" is mānā, means "portion, part," especially "choice portion."19 Cup (kôs) is a "drinking goblet," sometimes referring to a destiny of judgment. Here and in Psalm 23:5 it is a cup filled with blessing from the Lord.20 The Lord is my Cup of blessing.

The Lord my Helper

God our Provider is also our Helper. "Helper" is a participle of `āzar, "help, support," often with reference to military assistance.21 In chapter 5 we saw God in a judicial role as Helper of the Fatherless (Psalm 14:10). Especially familiar is the quotation of Psalm 118:6-7 found in Hebrews:

"The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:6)

Other references to God as our Helper are found in Psalm 30:10; 118:7 (NIV); Hosea 13:9 (NIV); and Deuteronomy 33:29 (NIV). He is also called "my Help":

"Yet I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help22 and my deliverer;
O my God, do not delay." (Psalms 40:17, NIV)
"But you, O LORD, do not be far away!
O my help23, come quickly to my aid!" (Psalms 22:19, NRSV)

One reference introduces a new title:

"Behold, God is my helper (`āzar);
The Lord is the sustainer of my soul." (Psalm 54:4, NASB)

"Sustainer" is sāmak, "lean upon, lay, put, uphold, support."24 The NRSV translates the phrase "The Lord is the Upholder of my life."

Q3. Why do we sometimes resist calling on God to be our Helper? Why do we try to do it ourselves first? What is required of us if God is to be a Helper and Shepherd to us?




Hope of Israel

Yahweh is also called the hope of Israel. "Hope" is either tiqwâ or miqweh, both from the root qāwā, "to wait or to look for with eager expectation." Waiting with steadfast endurance is a great expression of faith.25 (I've chosen to include "hope of Israel" under God our Provider, but this hope or expectation could just as easily be for defense or salvation.)

"O Hope of Israel,
its Savior in times of distress,
why are you like a stranger in the land,
like a traveler who stays only a night?" (Jeremiah 14:8, NIV)
"Whoever found them devoured them;
their enemies said, 'We are not guilty,
for they sinned against the LORD,
their true pasture, the LORD,
the hope of their fathers.'" (Jeremiah 50:7, NIV)

Other references are Jeremiah 17:13a and Psalm 71:5. KJV calls Yahweh the "hope (machseh) of his people" (Joel 3:16b), though a better translation is "refuge" (NIV, NRSV).

The Spring of Living Water

A final metaphor for God our Provider is "Spring of Living Water" (NIV) or "Fountain of Living Water" (KJV, NRSV).

"Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust
because they have forsaken the LORD,
the spring of living water." (Jeremiah 17:13b, NIV)

"Spring" is māqōr, "fountain," from a verb qûr, "to dig for water." The noun of place emphasizes the source of flowing water.26 "Living" water is running water as opposed to still water, such as that contained in a pond or cistern. In a similar verse God says:

"My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water." (Jeremiah 2:13, NIV)

It is so like us to try to find a way to get the blessings of God without having to depend on God for them, to some how find formulas for living that bypass dependence. That is how the Israelites sinned. God was an everflowing fountain, but their substitute was a cistern that could become depleted or be broken and leak out. Our substitutes for God are never an improvement, but a sad detour. Ultimately, we must come back to the source.

Q4. Meditate on the concept of God as a Spring of Living Water or a Fountain of Living Water for you. What does this say about God? About your thirst? About your future?




Names and Titles of God, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

Now available as in paperback and  e-book formats. Includes Hebrew & Greek word studies, discussion questions and handouts for groups or classes, suggests songs, comprehensive with 120 core names, titles, etc., total of 219 varieties.  Detailed index. Modestly priced. Buy your copy today.

Gerald Frye, a friend and colleague in pastoral ministry, has developed his own wonderful descriptor for God: "TheLord who is more-than-enough." God is our Provider, our Shepherd, our Healer, Hope, Sun, and Everlasting Light, our Portion, our Helper, the Sustainer of our Soul, our Fountain of Living Water. He longs to be the One you trust to meet your needs. As Paul assured the Philippian church: "My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).


O Lord, you who love us: I know you long to care for us, to let us be the recipients of your generosity and mercy. But we are ever resistant to taking "charity," and insist on doing it ourselves. Please help us to relax in your love and receive from you. And build our faith that we might trust you in the abundant times and in the lean times to meet every need that we have. In Jesus' mighty name, we pray. Amen.

Names of God

  • Cup
  • Everlasting Light
  • God of Bethel
  • God of Seeing (El-roi)
  • Healer
  • Help
  • Help/Strength
  • Helper
  • Hope
  • Hope of Israel
  • Hope of their Fathers
  • Light
  • Portion
  • Portion of Jacob
  • Portion of my Inheritance
  • Shepherd
  • Shepherd of Israel
  • Song
  • Spring of Living Water, Fountain of Living Water
  • Sun
  • Sustainer of my Soul, Upholder of My Life
  • The LORD is There (Yahweh-Shammah)
  • True Pasture
  • Yahweh Provides (Yahweh-yir´eh, Jehovah-jireh)



If you have a song in this category to suggest, please let me know (www.joyfulheart.com/contact/). I'm including some Shepherd songs, even though some point especially to Jesus as the Shepherd.

"A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," words and music, Martin Luther (1529). Verse 1: Our Helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing...."

"Amazing Grace," words by John Newton (1779), music by James P. Carrell and David S. Clayton (1831). Verse: "... He will my Shield and Portion be, As long as life endures."

"Come, Ye Thankful People Come," words by Henry Alford (1844), music by George J. Elvey (1858). "God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied...."

"Enough," by Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio (©2002, worshiptogether.com songs, Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing; sixsteps Music, Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)

"Gentle Shepherd," by Gloria and Bill Gaither (©1974 William J. Gaither, Inc., Gaither Copyright Management)

"God Will Take Care of You," words by Civilla D. Martin (1905), music by W. Stillman Martin (1905)

"He Leadeth Me! O Blessed Thought," words by Joseph H. Gilmore (1862), music by William B. Bradbury (1864)

"His Sheep Am I" ("in God's green pastures feeding..."), words and music by Orien Johnson (©1984, Word Music, LLC, a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.)

"Jehovah Jireh," words and music by David Viglianti (©1992, Mercy / Vineyard Publishing, Admin. by Music Services)

"Jehovah Jireh," words and music by Merla Watson (©1974, Sound III, Inc., Admin. by Universal - MCA Music Publishing)

"O God our Help in ages past, our Hope for years to come," words by Isaac Watts (1719), music by William Croft (1708)

"Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us," words: attributed to Dorothy A. Thrupp (1836), music by William B. Bradbury (1859)

"Shepherd of My Soul," words and music by Martin Nystrom (©1986, Maranatha Praise, Admin. by Music Services)

"Surely Goodness and Mercy," by John Peterson & Al Smith (©1958, Singspiration)

"The King of Love My Shepherd Is," words by Henry W. Baker (1868), music ancient Irish melody


Standard Abbreviations https://www.jesuswalk.com/names-god/refs.htm

  1. BDB 909, 6g. A similar meaning is apparent at 1 Samuel 16:1 and Esther 2:9.
  2. The verb rā´eh, "provide, furnish" in this verse is in the imperfect tense, yir´eh, which could refer to the present or the future.
  3. "Shepherd" (NIV, NRSV, NJB) or "which fed" (KJV) is rā`ā, "to pasture, herd" (William White, rā`ā, TWOT #2185). Victor P. Hamilton (Book of Genesis, Chapters 18-50 (New International Commentary on the Old Testament; Eerdmans, 1995), p. 633) translates it literally, "the God who has shepherded me...."
  4. Leonard J. Coppes, nāwā, TWOT #1322a. The New Jerusalem Bible with its "home of justice" follows the KJV rendering "habitation of righteousness," though the context of Israel as lost sheep astray by their shepherds, wandering the mountains and forgetting their own resting place. So John Bright, Jeremiah (Anchor Bible; Doubleday, 1965), p. 340; and C.F. Keil, Jeremiah, Keil & Delitsch, in. loc.
  5. Harold G. Stigers, tsādēq, TWOT #1879a.
  6. BDB 842.
  7. "Resting place" (KJV,) or "fold" (NRSV, Jerusalem Bible) is rēbes, "(place of) lying down, resting" (BDB 918; William White, rēbes, TWOT #2109a.).
  8. Jack B. Scott, chāsēr, TWOT #705.
  9. Nāhal, BDB 625.
  10. Shûb comes from a root meaning of "turn, return," and is often used with reference to repentance (BDB 1000, Po`l stem, 2a.
  11. Hiphil, nāchā, TWOT #1341. BDB 635.
  12. John E. Hartley, tsālal, TWOT #1921b.
  13. BDB 1020.
  14. William White, rādap, TWOT #2124.
  15. Victor B. Hamilton, ´ārak, TWOT #162a.
  16. BDB 909.
  17. BDB 951. William White, rāpā´, TWOT #2196.
  18. Donald J. Wiseman, chālaq, TWOT #669a. BDB 324.
  19. TWOT #1213a; BDB 584.
  20. John N. Oswalt, kôs, TWOT #965.
  21. Charles Schultz, `āzar, TWOT #1598.
  22. "Help" is `ezrâ, "help, support, assistance" from `āzar, "help, support" (Charles Schultz, `āzar, TWOT #1598). This is also used in Psalm 27:9 for God.
  23. "Help" in this verse is ´ĕyālūt, "strength," from ´ĕyāl, "strength." It is translated "strength" by KJV, NIV, and NJB, "help" by the NRSV. The connotation of help is supported by the Syriac from which this word is probably borrowed, the Ugaritic cognates suggest "strength" (Thomas E. McComiskey, ´ĕyāl, TWOT #79a).
  24. R. D. Patterson, sāmak, TWOT #1514.
  25. John E. Hartley, qāwā, TWOT #1994e.
  26. Leonard J. Coppes, qûr, TWOT #2004a.

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