David testifies that the Lord, his Shepherd (“The Lord is my Shepherd”; κύριος ποιμαίνει με; Ps. 23:1), is the One who restores souls:
τὴν ψυχήν μου ἐπέστρεψεν ὡδήγησέν με ἐπὶ τρίβους δικαιοσύνης ἕνεκεν τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ
KJV Psalm 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
David uses the same verb and object (in both the Hebrew and Greek OT) that are in this verse in other closely related teaching in the Psalms:
ὁ νόμος τοῦ κυρίου ἄμωμος ἐπιστρέφων ψυχάς ἡ μαρτυρία κυρίου πιστή σοφίζουσα νήπια
KJV Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
By comparing Psalms 23:3 and 19:7, we learn that the Lord is the Shepherd who restores souls through His perfect law.
Scripture’s use of the same verb and object (in both Greek and Hebrew) in Lamentations provides us with further understanding:
ὁ ὀφθαλμός μου κατήγαγεν ὕδωρ ὅτι ἐμακρύνθη ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ ὁ παρακαλῶν με ὁ ἐπιστρέφων ψυχήν μου
KJV Lamentations 1:16 Mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me
NAU Lamentations 1:16 My eyes run down with water; Because far from me is a comforter, One who restores my soul.
By comparing all three of these passages, we see that the Lord as the Shepherd is the Comforter who restores people’s souls through His perfect law.
Finally, the occurrence in the NT of the same Greek verb and object that is in all the preceding passages as well as the Greek word for shepherd that is a cognate to the verb found in the LXX rendering of Psalm 23:1 highlights the truths seen above:
ὃς τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν αὐτὸς ἀνήνεγκεν ἐν τῷ σώματι αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον, ἵνα ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ἀπογενόμενοι τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ ζήσωμεν, οὗ τῷ μώλωπι ἰάθητε. 25 ἦτε γὰρ ὡς πρόβατα πλανώμενοι, ἀλλὰ ἐπεστράφητε νῦν ἐπὶ τὸν ποιμένα καὶ ἐπίσκοπον τῶν ψυχῶν ὑμῶν.
KJV 1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
This passage declares that we were sheep going astray (cf. Isa. 53:6), but we are now returned to the Shepherd of our souls. He brought about that return through His using His perfect law to restore our souls.
Praise the Lord that He is the Shepherd, the Restorer of the souls of sheep who have gone astray!
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