2Sa 22:3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.

Psa 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Luk 1:69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;

I can find more than 100 references to horns in the Bible.

  1. The horns of animals like rams and especially the unicorn.
  2. The horns of the altars. (Especially referenced in the Law).
  3. Blow horns of rams.
  4. Horns containing anointing oil (1 Sam 16 & 1 King 1:39)
  5. Budding horns (Psa 132:17 & Eze 29:21).
  6. Horns that symbolically represent power (Daniel's visions and Revelations).

There is likely a good connection between all these that someone might be able to explain well. I would appreciate that, but to I am especially interested in the personal "my horn" as suggested in the phrase "horn of my salvation" and here:

1Sa 2:1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.

Job 16:15 I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled my horn in the dust.

Psa 92:10 But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.

In the end I am trying to understand Luke 1:69: Horn of Salvation: I am intrigued by the overall symbolism and significance of horns, but perplexed by the personal "my horn" that was used in such a way as to suggest that it was a self-evident idiomatic expression.

4 Answers 4


The “horn” is a metaphor for strength, might, fortitude, for horn is rigid, it can harm and repel enemies, like a deer can repel wolves by horns. Like in Psalm 89:17: “For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn”, that is to say, “You exalt our power over enemies”, for in Psalm 44(43):5-6 the Psalmist says that “through You (God) we ram our enemies with horns”, for the Greek κερατιοῦμεν used here means just that “ram down with horns”.


In the OT Hebrew is קֶרֶן (qeren) is basically used in two different sense:

  • literally - a real animals' horn or an artificial copy of one, eg, Gen 22:13, Eze 34:21, Zech 2:2, 4, Deut 33:17, etc
  • metaphorically and always signifying strength or arrogance.

In the case of the metaphoric meaning we have as examples:

Horn signifying the strength and power of God in some sense

  • 1 Sam 2:1 - At that time Hannah prayed: “My heart rejoices in the LORD in whom my horn is exalted. My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, for I rejoice in Your salvation.
  • 1 Sam 2:10 - Those who oppose the LORD will be shattered. He will thunder from heaven against them. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth and will give power to His king. He will exalt the horn of His anointed.”
  • Ps 89:17 - For You are the glory of their strength, and by Your favor our horn is exalted.

Horn as a symbol of the wicked's arrogance or haughtiness

  • Jer 48:25 - The horn of Moab has been cut off, and his arm is broken,” declares the LORD.
  • Ps 75:4 - I say to the proud, ‘Do not boast,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn.

In the case of the "horn of salvation" we have just three examples in the Bible; two in the OT in 2 Sam 22:3 and Ps 18:2 and one in the NT in Luke 1:69 as listed exhaustively by the OP. All are a reference to the omnipotence of the great Redeemer and Savior as follows:

  • Isa 43:3, 11 - For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; ... I, yes I, am the LORD, and there is no Savior but Me.
  • Isa 45:17, 21 - But Israel will be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; you will not be put to shame or humiliated, to ages everlasting. ... Speak up and present your case— yes, let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago? Who announced it from ancient times? Was it not I, the LORD? There is no other God but Me, a righteous God and Savior; there is none but Me.

Thus, the one and only Savior is the LORD God Almighty, and He is well signified by the, "Horn of Salvation", because He is, "Strong to save" Ps 31:2.

We also have in the NT:

  • Matt 1:21 - She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”
  • Acts 4:12 - Salvation exists in no one else [Jesus Christ], for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
  • 2 Tim 1:10 - And now He has revealed this grace through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the gospel,
  • Titus 1:4 - To Titus, my true child in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
  • Titus 2:13 - as we await the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • Titus 3:6 - whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
  • 2 Peter 1:1 - Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
  • 2 Peter 1:11 - and you will receive a lavish reception into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

According to "The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the OT", horn symbolizes "strength, honor, rulership, dignity, fertility, descendants ... power and source of salvation.

The Cambridge commentary offers these remarks in 2 Sam 22:3 -

he horn of my salvation The Power which saves and delivers me. The figure of the horn, as a symbol of victorious strength, is derived from horned animals. Cp. Deuteronomy 33:17; Luke 1:69.

  • I agree with Dottard he quote the Cambridge commentary, that the horn of my salvation means "the Power which saves and delivers me". Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 21:46

Horns, like the four horns of the altar indicate dominion and authority.

Jesus is the horn of salvation, only by his authority are you forgiven and freed from the prison where Satan is the warden.

The little horn on the 4th beast is the Antichrist, he plucked up 3 other horns, leaders.


The horn symbolizes the same thing as the "wineskin", mentioned on multiple counts in the New Testament. Just as in some cultures, for example Georgian, horns get filled with wine and is drunk to the bottom in feasts, such as the common wedding, for example. This is because the "wineskin" has to be filled with the Spirit (that symbolizes the wine) in order for us to make it to the "Wedding", which is a feast that symbolizes a person being saved from hell (Matthew 22).

The shabby robes of our unwashed sin-nature, though we might stand already forgiven of out sins, is still an impediment on the way to our salvation (Revelation 16:15).

In the total, the proverbial "wineskin" of the New Testament has to be filled with the "wine" of the Holy Spirit in order to cover/atone for soul's "ungooddness" so that the sin nature may be cleansed/"washed" by the "Blood" in order to be made ready for heaven.

It is the "filling" that makes the immovable sin-nature atoned for, which is also important for salvation as per 1 John 1:8, where the "washing" is an act designed to make us ready for heaven (1 John 1:10, Revelation 21:27) based on the Holy Spirit's role in salvation most denominations of Christianity (at least the Orthodox Christianity).

This then is the basis of suggesting that it was not simply an idiomatic expression, but a deliberately designed meaning that was meant to convey how being filled with the Spirit is important for one's wellbeing now and in the "Everlasting".

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