Verse 10. But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn. The believer rejoices that he shall not be suffered to perish, but shall be strengthened and enabled to triumph over his enemies, by the divine aid. The unicorn may have been some gigantic ox or buffalo now unknown, and perhaps extinct -- among the ancients it was the favourite symbol of unconquerable power; the psalmist adopts it as his emblem. Faith takes delight in foreseeing the mercy of the Lord, and sings of what he will do as well as of what he has done.
I shall be anointed with fresh oil. Strengthening shall be attended with refreshment and honour. As guests were anointed at feasts with perfumed unguents, so shall the saints be cheered and delighted by fresh outpourings of divine grace; and for this reason they shall not pass away like the wicked. Observe the contrast between the happiness of the brutish people and the joy of the righteous: the brutish men grow with a sort of vegetable vigour of their own, but the righteous are dealt with by the Lord himself, and all the good which they receive comes directly from his own right hand, and so is doubly precious in their esteem. The psalmist speaks in the first person, and it should be a matter of prayer with the reader that he may be enabled to do the same.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 10. Thou shalt lift up, as a Reym, my horn, seems to point to the mode in which the bovidoe use their horns, lowering the head and then tossing it up. -- William Houghton, in Smith's Bible Dictionary.
Verse 10. The horn of an unicorn. -- After discussing the various accounts which are given of this animal by ancient and modern writers, Winer says, I do not hesitate to say, it is the Antelope Leucoryx, a species of goat with long and sharp horns. --William Walford.
Verse 10. If shall be anointed with fresh oil. Montanus has, instead of "fresh oil", given the literal meaning of the original virido oleo, "with green oil." Ainsworth also renders it: "fresh or green oil." The remark of Calmet is: "The plants imparted somewhat of their colour, as well as of their fragrance, hence the expression, `green oil.'" Harmer says, "I shall be anointed with green oil." Some of these writers think the term green, as it is in the original, signifies "precious fragrant oil"; others, literally "green" in colour; and others, "fresh" or newly made oil. But I think it will appear to mean "cold drawn oil", that which has been expressed or squeezed from the nut or fruit without the process of boiling. The Orientals prefer this kind to all others for anointing themselves; it is considered the most precious, the most pure and efficacious. Nearly all their medicinal oils are thus extracted; and because they cannot gain so much by this method as by the boiling process, oils so drawn are very dear. Hence their name for the article thus prepared is also patche, that is, "green oil." But this term, in Eastern phraseology, is applied to other things which are not boiled or raw: thus unboiled water is called patchi-tameer, "green water": patche-pal, likewise, "green milk", means that which has not been boiled, and the butter made from it is called "green butter"; and uncooked meat or yams are known by the same name. I think, therefore, the Psalmist alludes to that valuable article which is called "green oil", on account of its being expressed from the nut or fruit, without the process of boiling. --Joseph Roberts's Oriental Illustrations.
Verse 10. Anointed with fresh oil. Every kind of benediction and refreshment I have received, do receive, and shall receive, like one at a feast, who is welcomed as a friend, and whose head is copiously anointed with oil or fragrant balm. In this way, the spirits are gently refreshed, an inner joyousness excited, the beauty of the face and limbs, according to the custom of the country, brought to perfection. Or, there is an allusion to the custom of anointing persons at their solemn installation in some splendid office. Compare Psalms 23:5 "Thou anointest my head with oil," and Psalms 45:7 , "God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness." --Martin Geier.
Verse 10. (last clause). The phrase is not "I am anointed", hfm; but ytlb, imbutus sum -- perfusus sum; apparently in reference to the abundance of perfume employed on the occasion, viz., his being elected King over all the tribes, as indicative of the greater popularity of the act, or the higher measure of Jehovah's blessing on his people. The difference, indeed, between the first anointing of David and that of Saul, as performed by Samuel, is well worthy of notice on the present occasion. When Samuel was commanded to anoint Saul, he "took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head." in private, 1 Samuel 16:13 . Here we find the horn again made use of and apparently full to the brim -- David was soaked or imbued with it. --John Mason Good.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 10. (last clause). Christian illumination, consecration, gladness, and graces, are all of them the anointing of the Spirit.
--William Garrett Lewis, 1872.
Verse 10. (last clause). The subject of David's confidence was --
- Very comprehensive, including renewed strength, fresh tokens of favour, confirmation in office, qualification for it, and new joys.
- Well grounded, since it rested in God, and his promises.
- Calming all fears.
- Exciting hopes.
- Causing pity for those who have no such confidence.