A psalm of David, you might imagine he wrote this as a vow upon ascending to the throne of Israel. However, it is rooted much farther back in David’s life when he was just a shepherd boy. The shepherd is the quintessential biblical image of moral manhood, and all the more so for one who actually cares for a flock of people. Anyone with social leverage is morally bound to this manner of leadership.
We dare not forget that the image of holiness is striving to maintain social order on God’s terms. The Law of Moses detailed what social stability meant in Israel, offering a clear path. David’s primary image of wickedness is someone who wanders from that path of moral truth. Do they want something not provided in the Law? Let them keep going and not come back; they don’t belong in the flock of Israel.
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