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Psalms 23:5

Context

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 

Psalms 92:10

Context

92:10 You exalt my horn like that of a wild ox. 4 

I am covered 5  with fresh oil.

Psalms 104:15

Context

104:15 as well as wine that makes people feel so good, 6 

and so they can have oil to make their faces shine, 7 

as well as food that sustains people’s lives. 8 

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 The horn of the wild ox is frequently a metaphor for military strength; the idiom “to exalt/lift up the horn” signifies military victory (see 1 Sam 2:10; Pss 75:10; 89:24; Lam 2:17).

5 tn The Hebrew verb בָּלַל (balal) usually has the nuance “to mix.” Here it seems to mean “to smear” or “to anoint.” Some emend the form to בַּלֹּתַנִי (ballotaniy; a second person form of the verb with a first person suffix) and read, “you anoint me.”

6 tn Heb “and wine [that] makes the heart of man happy.”

7 tn Heb “to make [the] face shine from oil.” The Hebrew verb צָהַל (tsahal, “to shine”) occurs only here in the OT. It appears to be an alternate form of צָהַר (tsahar), a derivative from צָהָרִים (tsaharim, “noon”).

8 tn Heb “and food [that] sustains the heart of man.”



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