Tag Archives: Psal23:5

23rd Psalm – Thu – 22-10-27

What is the most lavish banquet you have ever attended? Have you eaten at some massive buffet? Do you think a banquet is a vast variety of simple foods or expensive dishes on fine china and fancy linen? I know I’ve been to all-you-can-eat restaurants that offer more dishes than I can ever eat. But the image of a banquet that comes to my mind is Thanksgiving dinner with all the relatives piled into my in-laws home. I miss those days. All the work preparing the table and food was a display of love.

Psalm 23:5 uses the image of a banquet to describe God’s care for us. It says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (NIV) Notice this table is not simply a large spread of food. It is prepared as a victory feast. The enemies are present, watching. But the table is prepared for us, not our enemies.

Anointing the head with oil was a way the ancients dressed in their best. Today, people shampoo, blow dry, apply gel or hair spray, then comb or brush the hair. But notice that God is the one fixing the hair. He cares for us.

The overflowing cup is also a sign of God’s generosity. All of these images tell us God loves us and gives us much more than we need.

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Psalm 23 – Fri – 21-10-08

The 23rd Psalm pictures God as a shepherd. We are the sheep under his care. However, the imagery seems to shift in verse 5, which reads, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Sheep do not eat at tables, nor drink from cups. So what is this verse telling us about the care of God when we depend on him like sheep depend on a shepherd?

The picture of the table is that of a king preparing a banquet for a guest.* The king’s generosity to the guest is witnessed by the enemies, who can only watch. Anointing the head with oil was done as a special honor to a guest at a feast. The olive oil was probably spiced to have a pleasing aroma. Jesus mentions this practice in Luke 6:42. The overflowing cup was also a symbol of generous hospitality. The host of the banquet lavished drink on the guest.

God’s care for us is not simply providing the basics. He doesn’t just provide our daily needs, guide us in righteousness and protect us from evil. God is so extravagant! He treats us like honored guests at a sumptuous banquet! It seems to echo Ephesians 1:8 which says God lavished his grace upon us.

Don’t just see God as the shepherd, see him as the king pouring out his goodness on us!

*”Psalm 23, ‘…table in the presence of my enemies…'” StackExchange, edited June 17, 2020, https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/15552/psalm-23-table-in-the-presence-of-my-enemies.

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.