In Jacob & the Prodigal Kenneth Bailey shows how the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:3-7) has dramatic and thematic parallels to three Old Testament texts that speak of God as David and Israel's shepherd -- Psalm 23, Jeremiah 23:1-6, and Ezekiel 34:1-31. Bailey: "Jesus is retelling a classical story already well known to his listeners." Here Bailey draws out a connection to Psalm 23 as it relates to the central theme and climax of the parable -- restoration.
The traditional translation of Psalm 23:3 is "He restoreth my soul" (KJV). In the English translation tradition, this verse has come to mean "He lifted my depression" or "He helped me recover a sense of joy" or some sense of a restoration of faith and worth. But buried under these time-honored meanings is the original Hebrew text, which reads nafshi yeshobeb. Nafshi means "myself/soul/person/life." The verb shub is the great Hebrew word for "repent/return." (Yeshobeb is an intensive form of the verb shub.) Thus Psalm 23:3 can be translated "He brings me back" or "He causes me to repent." For centuries, Arabic versions in the Middle East have read yarudd nafsi (he brings me back). The other option, "he causes me to repent," is an important component of what David is saying in the psalm. He is reflecting on his personal journey of faith that includes repentance (shub), described as God coming after him and bringing him back. The Hebrew original of the psalm is built on the concrete picture of a good shepherd who goes after a lost sheep, picks it up and carries it home. The sheep cannot find its way home by itself. Once lost, it crawls under a rock or bush and begins to bleat. It must be rescued quickly before a wild animal hears it, finds it, kills it and eats it. When found by the shepherd, it is so terrified that its legs will have turned to rubber and it is unable to stand. The only way the shepherd can restore it to the flock and finally to the village is to carry it home over his shoulders.
The phrase that immediately follows in Psalm 23 expands this picture of restoration. It reads, "He leads me in the paths of righteousness." The assumption of the text is that the psalmist was wandering in the paths of unrighteousness. The good shepherd (God) went after him, picked him up and carried him back to the paths of righteousness. The shepherd caused him to repent/return (shub). (pp. 66-67)
I highly recommend this book! You can download excerpts here.