My shepherd will supply my needAuthor: Isaac Watts (1719)
Tune: RESIGNATION (Southern Harmony)
Songs of Response
Published in 190 hymnals
Printable scores: PDF, SibeliusAudio files: MIDI
1 My Shepherd, you supply my need,
most holy is your name;
in pastures fresh you make me feed,
beside the living stream.
You bring my wand'ring spirit back.
when I forsake your ways;
you lead me, for your mercy's sake,
in paths of truth and grace.
2 When through the shades of death I walk,
your presence is my stay;
one word of your supporting breath
drives all my fears away.
Your hand in sight of all my foes,
does still my table spread;
my cup with Blessings overflows,
your oil anoints my head.
3 Your sure provisions gracious God
attend me all my days;
oh, may your house be my abode,
and all my work be praise.
Here would I find a settled rest,
while others go and come;
no more a stranger, nor a guest,
but like a child at home.
Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 2006
|First Line:||My shepherd will supply my need|
|Title:||My Shepherd Will Supply My Need|
|Author:||Isaac Watts (1719)|
|Liturgical Use:||Songs of Response|
st. 1 = Ps. 23:1-3
st. 2 = Ps. 23:4-5
st. 3 = Ps. 23:6
Psalm 23 has inspired numerous paraphrases and hymn texts, including this text by Isaac Watts (PHH 155). Watts included it in his large 1719 collection of psalm paraphrases, The Psalms of David Imitated.
For general comments on this beloved psalm, see PHH 23; other settings are also at 161 and 452.
See suggestions at PHH 23,161, and 162.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
Psalm 23 remains the most well-loved and often recited psalm, and Isaac Watts' powerful paraphrase, coupled with the peaceful yet strong American folk tune, make this hymn a moving rendition of that psalm. Watts’ interpretation of the last line of psalm, “and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever,” gives a new understanding to the original psalm: “No more a stranger or a guest, but like a child at home.” Watts gives us a concrete image of dwelling – a child, knowing he or she is safe and secure, and in a place of love and comfort – to help us understand what it is we hope for. The same peace we find in the pasture and by the stream, we find in the house of the LORD, to which our Shepherd is leading us day by day.
One of Isaac Watts’ less frequently used hymns, this lilting rendition of Psalm 23 evokes a sense of peace and calm – an expression of trust in God’s provision. Written for the 1719 collection, The Psalms of David Imitated, this hymn has endured as a moving paraphrase of the beloved psalm. The original consisted of six stanzas, but in today’s modern version each stanza consists of two of the original. There are almost no textual changes – in some hymnals, the first line reads, “My shepherd will supply my need, the Lord God is his name” rather than “Jehovah is his name.” Either title is fitting.
The tune accompanying this hymn in almost every case is RESIGNATION, an American folk melody that first appeared in Southern Harmony in 1835. In most hymnals the tune is in the key of C. The hymn became popular in a choral setting by the American composer Virgil Thomson, and today remains a favorite choral piece - the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, for example, performs a beautiful, soft rendition.
The hymn can also be sung quite easily by a congregation, usually accompanied by piano, but it is possible to use guitar as well – I would suggest light finger picking. Note that the hymn rushes through the last bar of each phrase without giving much time for a breath - rather than add an extra beat and creating an awkward rhythm, try adding an extra measure and filling the space with the accompaniment. This gives the added bonus of making the hymn even more lilting and peaceful.
This hymn can be sung throughout the year at any point in a worship service as a declaration of trust and comfort. It can be particularly powerful after a profession of faith or baptism, during a funeral, or after an intercessory prayer.
Laura de Jong, Hymnary.org
ChoralMore Choral >
|Instances (19)||First Line||Text Title||Refrain First Line||Authors||Composers||Meter||Scripture||Tune Title||Tune Key||Incipit||Languages||Publication Date|
|A New Hymnal for Colleges and School #198||My Shepherd, you supply my need||Resignation||1992|
|Baptist Hymnal 1991 #68||My Shepherd will supply my need||My Shepherd Will Supply My Need||Isaac Watts||Richard Starr||18.104.22.168 D||Psalm 23||RESIGNATION||C Major||1991|
|Celebrating Grace Hymnal #66||My Shepherd will supply my need||My Shepherd Will Supply My Need||Isaac Watts||Shelby Trapp||22.214.171.124 D||Psalm 23||RESIGNATION||C Major||2010|
|Chalice Hymnal #80||My Shepherd, you supply my need||My Shepherd, You Supply My Need||Isaac Watts||126.96.36.199 D||Psalm 23||RESIGNATION||C Major||1995|
|Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #374||My shephred will supply my need||My Shepherd Will Supply My Need||Isaac Watts, 1674-1748||188.8.131.52 D||RESIGNATION||C Major||1993|
|Evangelical Lutheran Worship #782||My Shepherd, you supply my need||Isaac Watts, 1674-1748||184.108.40.206 D||Psalm 23||RESIGNATION||C Major||English||2006|
|Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #803||My shepherd will supply my need||My Shepherd Will Supply My Need (Psalm 23)||Isaac Watts||Dale Grotenhuis||220.127.116.11 D||Psalm 23; Isaiah 40:11; Matthew 14:13-21; Matthew 18:10-14; Mark 6:30-34; Luke 15:3-7; John 6:1-14; John 10:1-30; Hebrews 13:6||RESIGNATION||C Major||English||2013|
|Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #664||My Shepherd will supply my need||Isaac Watts, 1675-1748||David Hurd, b. 1950||18.104.22.168 D||Psalm 23||RESIGNATION||C Major||English||1985|
|Hymns for a Pilgrim People #52||My Shepherd will supply my need; Jehovah is His name||RESIGNATION||2007|
|Hymns of Truth & Light #88||My Shepherd, you supply my need; most holy is your name||RESIGNATION||1998|
|Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #369||My Shepherd will supply my need||My Shepherd Will Supply My Need||Isaac Watts, 1674-1748||Dale Grotenhuis, 1931-2012||22.214.171.124 D||Psalm 23; Psalm 23:1-3; Psalm 23:4-5; Psalm 23:6||RESIGNATION||C Major||2013|
|Presbyterian Hymnal: hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs #172||My Shepherd will supply my need||My Shepherd Will Supply My Need||Isaac Watts||Dale Grotenhuis||126.96.36.199 D||Psalm 23||RESIGNATION||C Major||English||1990|
|Psalms for All Seasons: a complete Psalter for worship #23A||My Shepherd will supply my need||My Shepherd Will Supply My Need||Isaac Watts||188.8.131.52 D||Psalm 23||RESIGNATION||C Major||2012|
|Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #550||My shepherd will supply my need||My Shepherd Will Supply My Need||Isaac Watts||184.108.40.206 D||Psalm 23||RESIGNATION||C Major||English||1987|
|Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #104||My Shepherd will supply my need||RESIGNATION||1985|
|The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #91||My Shepherd will supply my need||My Shepherd Will Supply My Need||Isaac Watts, 1674-1748||A. Royce Eckhardt, 1937-||220.127.116.11 D||Psalm 23||RESIGNATION||C Major||1996|
|The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #791b||My shepherd will supply my need||Psalm 23||A. Royce Eckhardt||[My shepherd will supply my need]||C Major||1996|
|The SOUTHERN HARMONY and Musical Companion (containing a choice collection of Tunes, Hymns, Psalms, Odes, and Anthems selected from the most eminent authors in the United States and well adapted to Ch #a38||My Shepherd will supply my need||1987|
|Worship in Song: A Friends Hymnal #206||My Shepherd will supply my need; Jehovah is his name||Resignation||1996|