This strikes me as a strange thing to say. I’ve been tied up for several days away from here and unable to do much with the blog. But I have been able to do some meditating and praying. If you share my conclusions, it will probably cause you to look at your self in a new light. -dk
As I indicated earlier, the analogy changes a phrase or two back. Instead of a “Shepherd” tending his flock, it appears now the scene has shifted. I believe that’s pretty clear, even if you’re reading casually. For example the idea of a shepherd “anointing the sheep’s head with oil” strikes me as strange. Or spreading a table cloth, having the sheep sit there in a dining room with silverware, china, crystal, candle lights and a five course meal strikes me as strange. I’m not sure who’d be in a more awkward position. . . The sheep attempting to adjust to dining elegantly. . . or the Shepherd, appalled, trying to teach the sheep table manners or cleaning up the mess afterwards!
David has been using one analogy, and now he’s obviously using another.
I must confess, though, since I promised to be honest: I did find the thought of a sheep being “anointed” to be amusing. I remembered a cartoonist (My son helped me relocate Gary Larson) who drew pictures of sheep acting like people. I “googled” his goofy sight, just for fun, giggled a lot and found the ideas were hilarious. (“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the best of men,” or so I’ve been told.)
For our purposes studying the Psalm, though, it sounds more like a nobleman is having guests at a dinner. An important and welcome guest is being honored, recognized. The “anointing my head with oil” is the clue. In our culture, when we welcome guests, we may shake their hands or kiss them lightly on the cheek. Other cultures have other customs. If someone “annointed” me, I’d figure something unusual was about to happen.
The “anointing…with oil” goes beyond a mere “hello.”
THOU ANOINTEST MY HEAD WITH OIL….What does that mean? There are lots of things we do which have ceremonial significance. I’ve never been “knighted,” but I’ve seen and heard of such. The knight kneels, and the official in charge (a King, or some important figure) takes a sword and touches the crown of the candidate’s head, and he is “knighted.” Someone of importance recognizes that the person being “knighted” is a person of worth and potential.
There came a time later when a Prophet “anointed” David to be king. In doing so, the prophet was saying: “You have been chosen. You’re someone very special, and God has picked you to lead His people.” In my mind, there also seems to be a kinship with our word “ointment.” I don’t speak dogmatically here,but I do wonder if the words don’t have a common origin. It has a soothing, healing effect. It would certainly seem in some instances that an “annointed,” “ordained” leader could and should have a healing and unifying effect upon the people whom he or she leads. I certainly cannot conceive of a truly “chosen” or “annointed” leader causing destructive division and wrecking the peace of His people.
The gifts the Magi brought were gold, frankincense and myrrh. Sweet smelling spices, oils…myrrh, specifically, was used to prepare dead body for burial. Once again, I’m not sure where this might take us, but fragrant oils were used in various ways and always with some symbolic significance.
Think about the time when there was such a display of extravagant affection by Mary Magdalene. She’d been so forgiven that she felt driven to express her gratitude. She displayed her love lavishly. She “annointed” Jesus with expensive fragrances. Judas got all “cranked up” about it, (As well he should have, because it was discovered later he was dipping into the collective treasury.) He scolded Mary and scoffed: “What is the reason for such waste? Think of all the starving children in China. Or Africa.”
Jesus saw the act of adoration as a good thing. As I recall, he viewed such action as an “anointing” for His burial.
It (“anointing”) usually has ceremonial significance and that idea (or something similar) appears frequently throughout Scripture. When God selected a new king for the nation of Israel, one of His spokesmen (a Prophet) would go find the candidate. Then he’d state his purpose, and pour some oil on the newly-designated king. It simultaneously symbolized the recognition by some important person of the work and worth of someone else who now has a new, important endorsement and assignment.
For some reason, the shift in the shepherd analogy turned my attention to the chapter in Luke where Jesus spoke of the three lost “items:” A coin, a sheep, and a “prodigal son.” When the boy took his inheritance prematurely and left home, he broke his father’s heart. After almost destroying himself, “P.S” (the Prodigal son) finally came to his senses and came home. The father said: “This is reason to celebrate. I’ve been fattening up a nice calf for a special occasion. This IS the “Special Occasion.” And he lovingly embraced the prodigal, had a “welcome home Son” feast in his honor. Gave him back his status as “son.” The son was Guest of honor, and evidently was given his “keys” to the homeplace (“I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.).
One time Jesus told some of His friends and close followers: “You have not chosen me. But I have chosen you. And ordained you.” That was in order that you might fulfill His mission. You MUST fulfill His mission. For that you’ve been chosen. Ordained. Annointed. Selected. Appointed. He doesn’t have anyone else to do the work for which YOU have been brought to this hour and to this place.
How could anyone so “special” ever doubt their self-worth?
If you are loved, valued by Him, chosen, ordained and sent forth to serve, rest assured that you have inestimable worth
If you haven’t thought about it before, this could be a good time to consider it. If you feel like the “prodigal,” this might be a good time for you to hear the “Welcome Back Home, Child.” Or, perhaps the Shepherd (now in the role as Lord) has decided that you should occupy a position of service. And, in His Name, by His authority, you are hereby welcomed home again, ‘ANNOINTED” and now commissioned to live and serve with honor.
~A servant, your friend and fellow student, donkimrey~
A parting word. I realize we’ve been considering Psalm 23 for quite some time. It seems to me to be warranted and worthwhile. Far too often, I believe, we skim lightly and superficially over the “surface” of Scripture, barely at times causing even a ripple. When I see something like “Discovery Channel” and hear stories of people who devote their entire lives to research. . . medicine, archaeology, deep sea diving to locate lost, sunken treasure loaded ships. . . it makes me feel my efforts are hardly even a worthy beginning. Incidentally, with regard to the above analogy (and the unusual “twist” it takes once the “table is spread,”) I’m sure I’m searching. Not “reaching.” I’m trying to listen and think. Hope you’ll adopt the same approach. Thank you for your time and interest. I also appreciate any comments you have from your own preparation. dk
“If you are loved, valued by Him, chosen, ordained and sent forth to serve, rest assured that you have inestimable worth”
Thanks for those words. They are indeed true, and a great reminder to help us be bold and faithful followers of Christ.
The annointing thing always seemed odd to me, in a literal sense, in that I wouldn’t want oil on my head. But reading all the significance behind the process makes me realize what an honor and a blessing it is.
P.S. I love Gary Larson and the Far Side!
HAS ANY ONE EVER TOLD YOU THAT THEY FELT COMPELLED TO WRITE THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST ON THEIR FOREHEAD WITH HOLY ANOINTING OIL EVERY DAY? OR, HAS SOMEONE BEEN COMPELLED TO WRITE THE NAME OF JESUS ON THEIR FOREHEAD FOR 3 DAYS PRIOR TO SOME UNFORTOLD EVENT,SUCH AS ENTERING A HOME WITH SPIRITS?I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF SOMEONE HAS HAD THESE EXPERIENCES, SINCE IT IS HARD TO SHARE THEM WITH JUST ANYONE.I EVEN FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE SHARING THIS WITH YOU. BUT, WHERE DO I TURN?
WHY did Jesus anoint our head with over after set before is in the prescense of thy enmines
ANOINT OUR HEAD WITH OIL
Ref: The Lord is my shepard..
Good works of interpretation and exposition.
Its a wonderful piece that prepares all to start doing same to any scriptures, so as to make more meanings and values to the ways we understand and uphold the Words Of God and live by them.
Thanks and more anointing to keep it up.
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thank you so much! I was always wondering what it means because for years, my dreams are when I am being anointed with oil or filling bowls with oil.
I now understand and am going to take steps towards this revelation.
Thank you for the insite. God impressed upon on my heart to start a 5 day fast. He told me that He wanted to deposit some things in me. So when I woke up yesterday Psalms 23:5-6 was ringing in my ears. He impressed upon me to pour some blessed oil over my head. He did the same thing this morning. And since this morning I have been praying to understand why. Now I believe I know! Thanks again.
There are religions which still anoint, bless, and administer to people daily in their worship with oils. Due to the very private and sacred nature of these acts I won’t go into detail here, concerning it, but reading this scripture is not at all unique or unusual to me, and makes perfect sense.
I highly encourage anyone whose religion does not administer or anoint to keep searching. I won’t say more, but know there are temples and works which will unlock the scriptures to you and bring you closer to heaven than
you could possibly know. God bless you.
May the lord bless you and keep you
what a bunch of idiots. it was david, not the sheep, who was anoited by g-d.
I’m not into calling people names, e.g. “idiots.” Even when they disagree with me. I agree with you, though. Doesn’t make much sense to think about sheep being “annointed.” It had to be David. You’r right. don
They anointed their heads with oil to get rid of lice, duh. Oil prevents lice from breathing.
Gerald, thanks for reading, thinking, and responding. What you said hadn’t occurred to me. It’s an interesting thought, but in my opinion there’s much greater significance and symbolism here. it can’t be understood without seeing the concept of “annointing” in its historical context. Routinely kings were “annointed” as a sign they’d been selected for a certain role, not because they had head lice. And when David was “annointed,” if it were simply to stop headlice, why weren’t all the other brothers “annointed.” You know how highly contagious those vermin are. While your idea is interesting and gives evidence of thought, it seems clear to me that much more is here implied.
Hello. This psalm (23) was given to me in song by The Spirit of God some weeks ago but last night, the anointing of my head with oil was specified. I googled the phrase and found your site. Thank you for the enlightenment. God bless you!
thank you for this article and very thought provoking statements. I barely cause a ripple when I study scripture. Today as I prayed throgh Psalm 23, I got stuck on ‘ you annoint my head with with oil’ and decided to do a search, and stubbled on your site. Well presented. Thank you! cml
Have you ever read the book, A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm? In it you will find that shepherds anoint the sheep’s heads with an ointment to protect them from flies and other insects, this is very soothing for the sheep and helps keep them from getting sores.
Thanks, Barbara. I believe someone has mentioned that book to me, but I had commented. Your observation is very plausible. Makes sense to me, anyway. That would also seem to be further evidence of the shepherd’s knowledgeable way of caring for his flock. I appreciate your taking time to comment. Stay in touch! donkimrey
Just a note, it’s Psalms 23 not 32. (You must be dyslexic like em.)
Thank you for the post, it helped me in preparing a lesson! Thanks.
Terry, that’s a possibility. I’ve heard some good jokes along that line, but the N.C. license plate I saw on the Way to Wilmington today struck me as being pretty clever. It read: DYSLXEIA.
It looks to me that this website doesnt load on a Motorola Droid. Are other people having the same issue? I enjoy this webpage and dont want to have to miss it when Im gone from my computer.
Thanks, Howell, for raising the question. Jim Graziano has developed a site for a book I’ve written, and he knows computerese. I’ve forwarded your question to him and we should have a response soon. It means a lot to me that you’d take time to write. don
First of all, Awesome article! Thank you for posting. Second, I am giggling reading thru some of the comments. Your responce is so entertaining. Trust me, I don’t always say this. I am looking forward to reading more of your articles. Soooo Helpful! God Bless
Thanks so much for your encouragement. I’ve been focused recently on trying to complete a manuscript for a Christmas book, JOY TO YOU, TOO. It’s been the focus of almost all my thinking lately. Trying to get it up on ebooks, but the clock is probably going to outrun me. So I’ve begun posting some of the chapters on Scripturestudent.wordpress.com. Hope you’ll visit and tell me what you think. God bless you grant you a wonderfully meaningful Advent season. donkimrey >
I started in a small, in home church about 1yr ago. After service the minister anoints each person w/oil.and then prays w/them individually. I had never heard of that before. As soon as the minister touched my forehead w/the oil, I felt a strong Holy Spirit presence. I still don’t fully understand why I had that reaction. Was it the oil or the minister? I’ve never been big on ritual type things but there must be something to it.