When David says "you are the lifter of my head" what does he mean? Does he mean that God helps him to maintain his courage? Or does he mean that he will be successful?

Barnes' Notes on the Bible says "encourage":

And the lifter up of my head - The head, in time of trouble and sorrow is naturally bowed down, as if overpowered with the weight of affliction. See Psa_35:14 : “I bowed down heavily as one that mourneth for his mother;” Psa_38:6 : “I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day.” Compare Psa_42:5; Psa_44:25; Psa_57:6; Joh_19:30. To lift up the head, therefore, or to raise one up, is to relieve his distresses, or to take away his troubles. Such a helper, David says, he had always found God to be, and he looks to him as one who is able to help him still. That is, he feels that God can so entirely take away his present griefs as to reinstate him in his former happy and honorable condition.

While The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges has "restoration":

the lifter up of mine head] A general truth. David is still confident that as Jehovah raised him from low estate to royal dignity, and brought him up from depths of trouble in times past, He can even now save him and restore him to the throne. Cp. 2Sa_15:25.

Which is it? Or both? Or something else?


Reference to God's "holy hill" and to "thou hast" smitten would mean, to me, that this Psalm has ascension in view. All that David longed for, spiritually - of which his circumstances were but a passing figure - depended on the raising up of his Head. That is, the resurrection and ascension of a humanity to ascend up the holy hill and to rule over all, for God's sake and for God's purposes. Headship is a strong feature in the psalms of David. He, himself, at times, typifies it; otherwise he is conscious of it in Another.



David was constantly raised up by God. I think the first quote is correct, in that God always lifted David up despite his many miseries. David, himself, regards God as his strength, shield, and strong support, which is his way of acknowledging God's mercy and goodness towards him.

However, both quotes are acceptable, as in life the hand that disciplines and the hand that strengthens is the balanced-hand/double-edged sword. God says he rebukes in the name of love and disciplines those he loves, so a man of understanding wouldn't begrudge any rebuke.

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    It is good practice to give references to support the things you say. For example, you say, "God says he rebukes in the name of love and disciplines those he loves", for which Proverbs 3:12 might be used. – enegue Aug 4 '17 at 1:24

When God counsels Cain on his countenance:

Ge 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee [shall be] his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

'Accepted' is the word 07613 שׂאת sᵉ’eth seh-ayth’ meaning rising dignity (it also means ruination) The metaphor of the letters is a final separation after the Word returns to God with his increase, or after the marriage of the Lamb. As a metaphor it speaks of both sides of the separation, the ruination or shame, and the lifting of the countenance. This dual meaning is seen in the water which gives life and destroys, and the fire which burns up and purifies.

The word for 'lifted' here is 07311 רום ruwm

Ps 3:3 But thou, O LORD, [art] a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.

This has the sense of being lofty, exalted, set up. I would vote for 'restored to the throne' but as a type of Christ, it speaks of his restoration to his previous glory.

  • I would like to vote this up but it isn't well substantiated. Can you show your sources? Thanks. – Ruminator Sep 4 '17 at 2:38
  • @Ruminator Sorry. We have had long and painful discussions on showing sources for this. The rabbis teach that the meaning of a word is derived from the combined metaphor of the letters. They don't agree on the meaning of the letters. This source is being validated by the dictionary being added to with metaphoric meanings of the letters. It has been decided by the community that they are better left out. The thing to watch for is consistency in usage at this point. Perhaps a Hebrew language forum is better suited for that discussion. – Bob Jones Sep 4 '17 at 3:12
  • The discussion concerning words that mean opposite things is an interesting one by itself without reference to the letters. How is it that Holy and 'male temple prostitute' are the same word... well, maybe not.. the letters explain it . – Bob Jones Sep 4 '17 at 3:14
  • Added a couple strongs reference taht carry the primary answer. – Bob Jones Sep 4 '17 at 3:24
  • Upon further reflection it appears you are appealing to a disputed (and to my mind, spurious) etymological principle. But thanks for supplying the Strong's numbers). – Ruminator Sep 4 '17 at 12:22

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