23:5 You prepare a feast before me 1
in plain sight of my enemies.
You refresh 2 my head with oil;
my cup is completely full. 3
45:7 You love 4 justice and hate evil. 5
For this reason God, your God 6 has anointed you 7
with the oil of joy, 8 elevating you above your companions. 9
1 sn In v. 5 the metaphor switches. (It would be very odd for a sheep to have its head anointed and be served wine.) The background for the imagery is probably the royal banquet. Ancient Near Eastern texts describe such banquets in similar terms to those employed by the psalmist. (See M. L. Barre and J. S. Kselman, “New Exodus, Covenant, and Restoration in Psalm 23,” The Word of the Lord Shall Go Forth, 97-127.) The reality behind the imagery is the Lord’s favor. Through his blessings and protection he demonstrates to everyone, including dangerous enemies, that the psalmist has a special relationship with him.
2 tn The imperfect verbal form in v. 5a carries on the generalizing mood of vv. 1-4. However, in v. 5b the psalmist switches to a perfect (דִּשַּׁנְתָּ, dishanta), which may have a generalizing force as well. But then again the perfect is conspicuous here and may be present perfect in sense, indicating that the divine host typically pours oil on his head prior to seating him at the banquet table. The verb דָשַׁן (dashan; the Piel is factitive) is often translated “anoint,” but this is misleading, for it might suggest a symbolic act of initiation into royal status. One would expect the verb מָשָׁח (mashan) in this case; דָשַׁן here describes an act of hospitality extended to guests and carries the nuance “refresh.” In Prov 15:30 it stands parallel to “make happy” and refers to the effect that good news has on the inner being of its recipient.
3 tn The rare noun רְַָויָה (rÿvayah) is derived from the well-attested verb רָוָה (ravah, “be saturated, drink one’s fill”). In this context, where it describes a cup, it must mean “filled up,” but not necessarily to overflowing.
4 sn To love justice means to actively promote it.
5 sn To hate evil means to actively oppose it.
6 tn For other examples of the repetition of Elohim, “God,” see Pss 43:4; 48:8, 14; 50:7; 51:14; 67:7. Because the name Yahweh (“
7 sn Anointed you. When read in the light of the preceding context, the anointing is most naturally taken as referring to the king’s coronation. However, the following context (vv. 8-9) focuses on the wedding ceremony, so some prefer to see this anointing as part of the king’s preparations for the wedding celebration. Perhaps the reference to his anointing at his coronation facilitates the transition to the description of the wedding, for the king was also anointed on this occasion.
8 sn The phrase oil of joy alludes to the fact that the coronation of the king, which was ritually accomplished by anointing his head with olive oil, was a time of great celebration and renewed hope. (If one understands the anointing in conjunction with the wedding ceremony, the “joy” would be that associated with the marriage.) The phrase “oil of joy” also appears in Isa 61:3, where mourners are granted “oil of joy” in conjunction with their deliverance from oppression.
9 tn Heb “from your companions.” The “companions” are most naturally understood as others in the royal family or, more generally, as the king’s countrymen.
sn Verses 6-7 are quoted in Heb 1:8-9, where they are applied to Jesus.