Summary: A closer look at Psalm 23 verse 5 Thou anointest my head with oil

Psalm 23

The psalm is probably one of the most famous and best loved of the psalms. It has brought comfort and support to many over the centuries

Story: Some years ago a famous actor was giving an after dinner speech.

He asked his audience if there was any famous poem that they would like him to recite. There was a silence.

Eventually an old vicar raised his hand and said: "Psalm 23 please."

The actor agreed, on one condition: that the

clergyman should also recite the Psalm after he had finished.

The clergyman reluctantly agreed.

The actor recited the 23rd Psalm and received a tumultuous applause.

The clergyman then recited Psalm 23 and there was not a dry eye in the place.

At the end, the actor stood up and said:

"Do you know the difference between my version of the 23rd Psalm and his?

I know the psalm but this man knows the Shepherd".

1. Introduction

Karen has been leading us in an “in depth” study of the psalm and so this week I’d like to start by standing back and taking an overview look before going to my specialist verse this evening

I think Psalm 23 divides into three blocks or aspects which I will call the three "H" ’s of Psalm 23.

These three H’s are:

1. Haven of God. Ps 23:1-3a

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters.

3a He restores my soul;

2. Highway to God Ps. 23:3b-4

3b He leads me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;

For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

3. Happiness with God Ps. 23:5-6

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house

of the LORD Forever.

And who said: I am the Good Shepherd Jesus of course

Jesus, the Good Shepherd provides a safe haven for us in the storms of the world around us

Jesus the Good Shepherd shows us the highway to God the Father and

Jesus the Good Shepherd is interested in our happiness.

My verse this evening – or part of a verse this evening is

“You anoint my head with oil: my cup runs over”

2 Anointing


Anointing isn’t something we come across in everyday life in 21st Century.

But it is used in an everyday expression - the concept of “anointing one’s successor” is

For example in an article “Putin Names Medvedev His Successor” part of which read:

“Everyone understands that Putin has for all intents and purposes anointed his successor.

"We’ve got the name of the next President of the Russian Federation ...

However, the Jews steeped as they were in the Old Testament would have recognized that oil – and anointing had two very distinct uses.

2.1 Anointing as a consecration to the office of priest or king

When a King or Priest or Prophet was consecrated for a task – this was done by anointing

It was a symbolic act to show that God had chosen that person. Had set that person aside for a job

2.1.1 Anointed King

1 Samuel 10:1 (the anointing of Saul as King)

Then Samuel took the flask of oil, poured it on his head, kissed him and said:”Has not the Lord anointed you a ruler over His inheritance”

1 Ki 1:39 (Solomon anointed King)

Zadok the priest then took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said: “Long live King Solomon”

2.1.2 Priest and Prophets

i) Priests

Ex 30:30 God speaking to Moses

And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consectrate them that they may minister as priests to me

ii) Prophets

Though only mentioned once a prophet was anointed 1 Ki 19:16 (God speaking to Elijah)

And Jehu son of Nemshi you shall anoint King over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place

Story: When I became a Priest in the Church of England – the Bishop of Norwich anointed me with oil

It was a symbolic act to show that God had chosen them.

2.1.3 The Messiah

And the culmination of an anointing for ministry was of course the Messiah

The Hebrew word for anointing is mashach from which the word Messiah is derived

The Messiah is simply “the anointed one” – called and consecrated

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