Psalms 23 (ESV):

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

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.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

John 10:11-16 (ESV):

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

David claims that the LORD is his shepherd, yet Jesus claims to be the good shepherd and that there shall be one flock and one shepherd (not multiple shepherds). Which leads me to the question: Was Jesus David's shepherd? Or should we rather see this as a change of shepherds: the good shepherd in OT times was the LORD, who got replaced by Jesus with the establishment of the New Covenant?

  • You might want to ask who were the bad shepherds? hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/59079/…
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 11:51
  • I'm really not sure about this question. Firstly, remember that this is not a Christian site, and Christian interpretations of the Hebrew scriptures cannot be assumed. Secondly, is this really an exegetical question of Psalm 23? I don't see how it could be. There could be an exegetical question of John 10, to ask whether John is alluding to Psalm 23. But that's not what you've asked.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 21:47
  • 1
    I'm in agreement with Dannii - this question is not hermeneutical in nature, and takes no interest in the intended meaning of David or Jesus/John in the context of either passage. This appears to be purely a theological question constructed around the technicalities of the person/divinity of Christ, rather than an exegetical one actually addressed by the text (particularly Psalm 23) - and so I'm voting to close this as opinion based.
    – Steve can help
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 11:55
  • @SteveTaylor - Is interpreting two passages and connecting the dots not an exercise in exegesis? Said in another way: is answering the question "does X follow from A and B?" not an exercise in exegesis? If the answer is "No, it isn't", then I think you should close this question as well: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/56214/…
    – user38524
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 13:02
  • 1
    The other question is borderline. IMO it is not something you should aim to replicate. "Does X follow from A and B?" is not something that clearly is either on-topic or off-topic, it really depends on what the specifics of the question are. But in general I think the best questions on this site focus on one specific passage, or they ask how two specific passages with a clearly identified seeming contradiction can be reconciled. Asking whether a doctrine follows from two passages is not the topic of this site.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 13:17

4 Answers 4


This question is part of a far more general pattern between the OT and NT that takes the titles and unique attributes of Jehovah in the OT and applies them to Jesus in the NT.

Unique Attribute OT Jehovah NT Jesus
God Deut 4:35, 6:4, 32:39, Isa 44:6, 45:5, 6 Matt 1:22, 23; John 1:1, 18, 20:28, Col 2:9, Rom 9:5, Heb 1:8, 9, Tit 2:13, 2 Peter 1:1, 1 Tim 3:16, Phil 2:5-8
"My Lord" Ps 35:23 (LXX: κύριός μου) John 20:13, 28, Luke 1:43, Phil 3:8, Matt 22:44, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42, Acts 2:34
"I AM" Ex 3:13-15; Deut 32:39, Isa 41:4, 43:10, 13, 25, 45:19, 46:4, 48:12, 51:12, 52:6 (LXX) Matt 14:27, Mark 6:50, Mark 13:6, Luke 21:8, Mark 14:62, Luke 22:70, John 4:26, 6:20, 8:24, 28, 58, 13:9, 18:5-8
Creator Isa 44:24, 45:18 John 1:3, 10, Col 1:16, 17, Heb 1:2
Savior Isa 43:3, 11, 45:17, 21 Matt 1:21; Acts 4:12; 2 Tim 1:10; Tit 1:4, 2:13, 3:6; 2 Pet 1:1, 11
Glory Isa 42:8, 48:11 John 17:5, 24
Rock Isa 44:8; Deut 32:3,4,15; Ps 92:15 1 Cor 10:4; Matt 16:18
Shepherd Psalm 23:1; Eze 34:11ff John 10:11-16; Heb 13:20, 1 Peter 2:25, 5:4; Rev 7:17
Bridegroom Isa 49, 54, Jer 2, Hosea Mark 2:19, Matt 9:15, Luke 5:34, 35
First and Last Isa 41:4, 44:6, 48:12 Rev 1:17, 18, 2:8, 22:13
Venerable Ex 20:3, 34:14; Deut 8:19; 2 Kings 17:35-38 Matt 2:11, 14:33, 28:9, 17; Luke 4:8; 24:52; John 9:38; Rom 10:9, Heb 1:5, 6, Phil 2:10; Rev 5:6-12.
"Lord of Lords" Deut 10:17, Ps 136:3, 26 Rev 17:14, 19:16
Lord of All Deut 10:17, Josh 3:11, 13, Ps 97:5, Zech 4:14, 6:5, Mic 4:13 Acts 10:36, Rom 10:12, Col 1:15
Seven eyes of the LORD Zech 4:10 (& Zech 3:9) Rev 5:6 (Lamb)

The above is not an exhaustive list but shows how much trouble the NT writers went to in order to affirm that Jesus is Jehovah.

  • I must have missed this last year, but this chart is really useful, +1 Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 12:39

In Psalm 23 the shepherd is explicitly יְהוָֹה (Jehovah)

I recognize others do not hold this view, but I believe in John 8:58 Jesus identifies Himself as Jehovah (compare Exodus 3:14) -- a more extended discussion of the passage on this question.

"Before Abraham was I am"

I understand this to be a claim to be the same Being who spoke to Moses, which is why the people sought to stone Him for blasphemy on this occasion.

The Eternal Shepherd

If Jesus is claiming identity with Jehovah then the passages in Psalm 23 & John 10 are easy to resolve. Pre-mortally as Jehovah He was a shepherd to His people. In mortality as Jesus of Nazareth He was a shepherd to His people. And post-mortally He will continue to be a shepherd:

Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (John 21:17)


and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. (Matthew 28:20)

*Note that He never abridges His ability to bring in servants to watch the flock, but whether those servants are Peter, Paul, or someone else, they report to Jesus, the Master Shepherd.

What I'm not saying

I am not saying that Jesus is claiming identity with His Father. Since I do not believe in the Nicene Creed (feel free to gasp in horror) I have no reason to do so. See Section "B" here.

  • The more important distinction between David's Shepherd & John's Shepherd is the flock. | Read Psalm 80 - Who is the flock of David's Shepherd? - יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֣ים is the Shepherd of Israel ( רֹ֘עֵ֚ה יִשְׂרָאֵ֨ל ) Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 3:20
  • @חִידָה I do indeed believe that Israel was God's covenant people; I do not believe that precludes God making covenants with others. In David's time naturally he saw God's flock as Israel; Jesus suggested one fold and one shepherd for a larger group: "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." (Jn 10:16). To be sure, that's an NT interpretation of an OT text, and David may not have seen it this way. My understanding is that all who hear the voice of the Good Shepherd are His sheep Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 3:30
  • Correct. In the New Testament, the holy language is no longer Hebrew but a wiser Greek. The idea of God becoming man changes allowing Greeks to accept earthly authority of Jesus of Nazareth. The Shepherd of Israel rejects His Word about Himself from Moses to Micah allowing Greeks & Gentiles to say they are one with Israel by testifying He became a man. - There are now two Israels with two Shepherds. One ποιμαίνων is a man & The רֹעֵה is not a man. Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 12:01
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    I actually have no problem with this answer despite the very large difference between our background theologies. I agree that Jesus was and is Jehovah.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 8:01

If one takes the whole OT in ensemble you will see a theme

The theme of the seed. The seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent

The serpent’s kind raped human women and mixed their seed with human seed giving rise to a hybrid of humans and heavenly beings called Nephilim

Then God opts to reset this aberration of genetic corruption by wiping out all living on the earth except Noah and his family, and some animals. Except the genome of the Nephilim survives the flood through Noah’s daughter in law’s child Canaan.

Nimrod becomes a Gibborim (Nephilim) and turns the world against God

God splits the nations, assigns them new languages, new territories and intermediary sons of God to represent them. The nations stop serving the God of heaven and start to serve the intermediaries

God starts his own race through Abraham, then Isaac and then Jacob with the intention of regaining all the nations back to himself

Fast forward to Saul the first king, David, then Solomon. Solomon loses ten tribes called Israel and his son retains two tribes Judah and Benjamin.

Israel gets a certificate of divorce and is sent into captivity. Never returns and intermingles with the nations. Bloodlines cross and now they are a mixture essentially Gentiles.

THESE are the sheep Jesus refers to when He said

“And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” ‭‭John‬ ‭10:16‬ ‭

Jesus would bring back Israel and consequently the nations back to Himself.

This to fulfill

“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.” And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.” ‭‭Hosea‬ ‭1:10-11‬ ‭

But this is not about bloodlines anymore

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” ‭‭John‬ ‭1:12-13‬ ‭

So essentially Jesus cast His net and by means of the divorced ten tribes of Israel He regained the nations too, under a new covenant.

“Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭82:8‬ ‭

And since it was Jesus was claimed to be the Shepherd of Israel and of Judah, David’s Shepherd is Jesus Himself.

He managed not just to regain the ten lost tribes of Israel but through them all the nations. And this is what is referred to by NT authors as the commonwealth of Israel

“remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:12‬ ‭

And James agrees a second witness

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.” ‭‭James‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭

As such the Church did not replace Israel, the church IS Israel born not of bloodlines but from above under a new covenant because the first covenant was voided when Christ died on the cross and annulled the covenant of marriage on Mt Sinai. But established a better covenant

“This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭7:22‬ ‭

This is a really short version of a much deeper study.

But there is ample evidence that Jesus is the Shepherd of Israel and this of David.


The short answer is yes, but perhaps this will help establish a context for you.

In Jn 10, the context of 'one' is in relationship to Jesus and the Father as the shepherd of the flock. The flock quite obviously represents the people of God. The shepherd is represented in the following ways. Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd" to whom the flock belongs and that no one can snatch them out of his hand. He then says that they also belong to the Father and no one can snatch them out of his hand. He closes this illustration then with the statement, "I and the Father are one." The question then is one what? Contextually, they are one shepherd, one owner of the flock. We learn from a number of O.T. passages like Psalms 23 and Ezk.34 that the Shepherd of Israel is Jehovah. The Jews to whom Jesus spoke did not miss the implication of Jesus' illustration. They knew who the Shepherd of Israel was and just who Jesus was claiming to be. Their response was to pick up stone to stone him for blasphemy, "You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” They immediately and correctly made the connection.

  • It seems like a leap to claim that since the Father owns and the Father has them in His hands and because Jesus and the Father are united (εν) (hen as opposed to monos) that this in turn means the Father is also a Shepherd. In the parable of the barren tree Luke 13 one was the owner the other the gardener. Same thing here, one is the owner the other the Shepherd. Both can own and have them in their possession but only one does the shepherding and holds the title of Shepherd. Otherwise the Father gives His life for the sheep, which only the Shepherd did. I think it’s a stretch to connect them. Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 3:56