Augustine. Exposition on the Book of Psalms. Schaff, Philip (editor). New York: Christian Literature Publishing Col, 1886. Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers: Series 1: Volume VIII. Re-published 2014, Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle electronic edition, ISBN-13: 978-1-78379-372-3.
As Augustine sees it, Psalm 23 is the Church speaking to Christ. In verse 1, he feeds his people what they need. In verse 2, the Church is in “a place of fresh pasture, leading me to faith, there hath He placed me to be nourished” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320620). The water, as interpreted by Augustine, is baptism, which he sees as a refreshment. In verse 3, Christ has led his people “in the narrow ways, wherein few walk, of His righteousness’, not for any merit’s sake, but for His Name’s sake” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320627). Even in the time of death, which is evident throughout our earthly life, the Christian walks with God, receiving comforting discipline. Augustine sees a contrast between verses 4 and 5. In verse 4 the Christian is beginning life under the discipline of Christ, but in verse 5, the staff, a symbol of authority but not normally discipline is present and the Christian is seated at the table, with meat, anointing, and wine (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320634). In conclusion, we see God’s mercy in all our days, which will last forever.