Is "a table" that the Lord prepares a symbol of something else in Psalm 23:5? If so, what?

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Psalms 23:5

NKJV - 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

Clarify Share Report Asked April 23 2020 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
The Hebrew word in the verse (anglicized as "shulchan") occurs 79 times in Scripture, and most commonly refers to a literal table (that is, an article of furniture). Many of those references occur in the instructions from God to Moses starting in Exodus 25 as to how the Tablernacle and its furnishings were to be fabricated for use in Israel's worship of Him.

In the verse from Psalm 23 cited in the question -- as is the case in many of the other verses where the word is used -- it is being used metaphorically to mean a meal or a feast (which is commonly served on a dining table), which is further a symbol of obvious, abundant blessings. David is saying that God is bestowing conspicuous gifts on him as a visible sign of His favor in the very presence of those who have made themselves David's enemies -- further implying that God will not allow those gifts to be taken away.

April 23 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
Psalm 23:5 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

May I propose an alternate interpretive answer to the one normally held? Because since when do sheep sit at a table?

1. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies”. W. Phillip Keller, a shepherd, says, "Sheep are approaching the high mountain country of the summer ranges. These are known as “alplands” or “tablelands”.

"Lord, lift me up and let me stand, by faith on heaven’s tableland,....” Johnson Oatman, Jr., Higher Ground

Keller writes, "In some of the finest sheep country in the world – especially in the western U.S. and Southern Europe, the high plateaus of the sheep ranges are called “mesas” – the Spanish word for “tables.” In preparing these “tablelands”, the shepherd had to make several preparations. He checks for poisonous weeds, clears out water sources, looks for signs of predators in the area (wolves, coyotes, cougars, and bears). All these would be the enemies David, the shepherd wrote about here. Often, what happens is that these crafty predators are up on the rimrock watching every movement the sheep make, hoping for a chance to make a swift,.

2. sneak-attack. "I never once actually saw a cougar on my range," writes W. Phillip Keller, a shepherd. "So cunning and skillful were their raids that they defy description," he said. Doesn't this remind you of the Bible verse from the HCSB, 

"Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?” -- You never really see him because he is oh so cunning and skillful in his devious deeds.

But isn't it great that the Good Shepherd (John 10), yea, verily that Great Shepherd of the sheep, (1 Peter 2), Jesus goes before us sheep to rid the tableland of this earth of the snares, the wiles, and the schemes of the Devil that would overpower us if not reduced in their intensity?

April 25 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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