Psalms 23:5

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

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Psalms 23:5 Meaning and Commentary

Psalms 23:5

Thou preparest a table before me
In a providential way granting a sufficiency, and even an affluence of temporal good things; the providence of God lays and spreads a table for his people in the wilderness, and sets them down at it, and bids them welcome to it; see ( Psalms 78:19 ) ; and in a way of grace, the Lord making large provisions in his house for them, called the goodness and fatness of his house, and a feast of fat things; and under the Gospel dispensation, the table of the Lord, on which are set his flesh and blood for faith to feed upon; see ( Proverbs 9:2 ) ; and also in heaven, the joys of which are compared to a feast, and the enjoyment of them to sitting at a table, and which are prepared by the Lord for his people, from the foundation of the world; and of which they have some foresight and foretaste in this world; see ( Luke 22:30 ) ; and all this

in the presence of my enemies;
they seeing and envying the outward prosperity of the saints, whenever they enjoy it, and their liberty of worshipping God, hearing his word, and attending on his ordinances, none making them afraid; as they will see, and envy, and be distressed at a more glorious state of the church yet to come, ( Revelation 11:12 ) ; and even, as it should seem from the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the glory and happiness of the saints in the other world will be seen, or by some way or other known, by wicked men; which will be an affliction to them, and an aggravation of their misery; though here it seems chiefly to regard the present life. Some have thought there is an allusion to princes, who, having conquered others, eat and feast at a well spread table in the presence of the conquered, and they being under it; see ( Judges 1:7 ) ;

thou anointest my head with oil;
giving him an abundance of good things, not only for necessity, but for pleasure and delight; especially pouring out largely upon him the oil of gladness, the Spirit of God and his graces, the anointing which teaches all things, and filling him with spiritual joy and comfort; for this refers not to the anointing of David with material oil for the kingdom, by Samuel, while Saul was living, or by the men of Judah, and afterwards by all the tribes of Israel, when Saul was dead. The allusion is to the custom of the eastern countries, at feasts, to anoint the heads of the guests with oil; see ( Ecclesiastes 9:7 Ecclesiastes 9:8 ) ( Matthew 6:17 ) . It was usual to anoint the head, as well as other parts of the body, on certain occasions; hence that of Propertius F25: and in the times before Homer F26 it was usual both to wash and anoint before meals, and not the head only, but the feet also; which, though Pliny F1 represents as luxurious, was in use in Christ's time, ( Luke 7:38 Luke 7:46 ) ; and spoken of as an ancient custom by Aristophanes


F2 his Scholiast for daughters to anoint the feet of their parents after they had washed them; which may serve to illustrate the passage in the Gospel; see ( Ecclesiastes 9:8 ) ;

my cup runneth over;
denoting an affluence of temporal good things, and especially of spiritual ones, which was David's case. Such who are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ, to whom the grace of the Lord has been exceeding abundant, and the Lord himself is the portion of their cup, their cup may be said to run over indeed.

F25 "Terque lavet nostras spica cilissa comas", l. 4. eleg. 6. v. 74.
F26 Iliad. 10. v. 577, 578. Odyss. l. 3. v. 466. & l. 8. v. 454. & l. 10. v. 450.
F1 Nat. Hist. l. 13. c. 3.
F2 Vespes, p. 473, 516, 517.

Psalms 23:5 In-Context

3 he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name's sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.

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