Psalm 23 is the most famous of the psalms, a sequence of ancient hymns that comprise a whole book of the Bible. The psalms were originally written in Hebrew; the translation we're using here comes from the King James Bible, an influential 17th-century English translation in the Protestant Christian tradition. In this poem, an anonymous speaker rejoices in their faith. God, to this speaker, is both a gentle "shepherd" who protects his flock even in the "valley of the shadow of death," and a host who spreads a generous banquet of joy. This is a hymn to the goodness of God and the deep consolations of belief in hard times. Faith, to this speaker, is the antidote to fear.