What Does "Touch Not My Anointed" in the Bible Mean?
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What Does “Touch Not My Anointed” in the Bible Mean?


As we delve into the rich tapestry of the Bible, we often come across phrases that pique our curiosity and prompt us to explore their meaning and significance. One such phrase is “touch not my anointed,” found in 1 Chronicles 16:22 (NKJV).

This scripture has been used in various contexts and interpretations, sometimes causing confusion and misunderstanding. In this blog post, we will explore the true meaning of this biblical passage and its implications for Christians today.

The phrase “touch not my anointed” originates from a song of thanksgiving composed by King David in celebration of the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.

This song highlights God’s faithfulness and protection of His chosen people, Israel. Within this context, it is important to understand the original meaning of this phrase, its historical background, and how it has been applied throughout the history of Christianity.

As we embark on this journey together, let us seek wisdom and understanding from the Holy Spirit, who will guide us into all truth. May the Lord open our hearts and minds to His message and grant us the grace to apply His Word in our daily lives.

The bible

Historical Background

To appreciate the meaning of “touch not my anointed,” we must first understand its historical context. In the Old Testament, the term “anointed” typically referred to individuals who were chosen by God for a specific purpose, such as kings and prophets.

They were anointed with oil, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, to mark their divine appointment and consecration to God’s service.

1 Chronicles 16:22 (NKJV) states, “Saying, ‘Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.'” Here, the Lord is speaking to the kings and nations surrounding Israel, warning them not to interfere with His chosen people and His prophets.

This admonition emphasizes God’s sovereignty and His protective stance towards those He has called to serve Him.

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Understanding the Phrase

It is important to note that the phrase “touch not my anointed” is not a blanket statement, exempting God’s people from any form of criticism or correction. Rather, it serves as a reminder that God Himself is their defender, and those who oppose His chosen instruments do so at their own peril.

The Bible provides examples of God’s protection over His anointed ones. For instance, when King Saul sought to kill David, the future king of Israel, God intervened and delivered David from Saul’s schemes (1 Samuel 19).

Despite being anointed by God, Saul’s disobedience led to his rejection by the Lord, and his eventual downfall (1 Samuel 15:22-23).

Misuse of the Phrase

Unfortunately, some individuals have taken “touch not my anointed” out of context, using it as a shield against any form of accountability or critique. This misinterpretation can foster an environment of unchecked power and abuse within religious institutions, and it is vital for the church to address this issue.

It is important to differentiate between respectful disagreement or correction and malicious persecution or harm. God’s people are not exempt from scrutiny or correction; in fact, the Bible encourages believers to hold each other accountable and to sharpen one another in love (Proverbs 27:17, Galatians 6:1).

Application for Today’s Christians

So, how should we understand and apply the phrase “touch not my anointed” in our lives today? First and foremost, we must recognize that God’s anointing is not limited to a select few individuals in positions of authority.

As believers, we have all been anointed by the Holy Spirit, who empowers and equips us to fulfill our calling in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:21-22, 1 John 2:20). This means that as God’s anointed people, we should extend grace, respect, and protection to one another, recognizing that we all play a part in God’s plan.

Discernment and Accountability

While we should be cautious about speaking against or harming our fellow believers, we must also exercise discernment and hold each other accountable in love. The Bible calls us to test everything and hold fast to what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

This requires a balance between respecting God’s anointed and ensuring that we do not allow abusive or sinful behavior to persist unchecked.

When addressing concerns or issues with fellow believers, we should approach the situation with humility, understanding, and the intention to restore (Matthew 18:15-17, Galatians 6:1).

We must also be open to receiving correction and guidance, as this is essential for our growth and maturity as Christians (Proverbs 12:1, Hebrews 12:5-11).

Submission to God’s Authority

“Touch not my anointed” serves as a reminder of God’s sovereignty and authority over His people. We should submit ourselves to God and to those He has placed in positions of spiritual leadership over us (Hebrews 13:17).

However, this submission should not be blind or unquestioning; we are called to be discerning and wise in our submission, ensuring that we are following leaders who exemplify Christ-like character and uphold biblical truth (1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9).


In conclusion, the phrase “touch not my anointed” is a powerful reminder of God’s protection and care for His people.

While it is essential to honor and respect those God has called to serve Him, we must also recognize the responsibility that comes with being part of God’s anointed.

This responsibility includes holding each other accountable in love and fostering an environment of humility, discernment, and submission to God’s authority.

As we grow in our understanding of this biblical passage, let us remember the ultimate example of Jesus Christ, the Anointed One, who laid down His life for us.

May we seek to emulate His character, love, and humility in our interactions with one another, recognizing that we are all part of the body of Christ, anointed and called by God for His purposes.

May the Lord grant us the wisdom and grace to live as His anointed people, walking in the fullness of His calling and extending love, mercy, and protection to one another as we serve Him together.

Pastor duke taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.