“The anointing breaks the yoke”: scriptural or not?
In certain circles of the Church emphasis has been placed on “the anointing” of the Holy Spirit which it is taught can set New Testament believers free from the yoke of the enemy. This can include sickness, demonic oppression, or even some difficult personal trial.
This is based on:
Isaiah 10:27 And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing. (KJV)
The purpose of this study is to study Old Testament Scripture briefly in order to determine whether such emphasis is sound. We know of course that the Lord can indeed free His people from such trials. However, it is through “the anointing” that we are set free from such yokes?
The immediate context of Isaiah 10:27 involves God delivering the remnant of His people from oppression by foreign enemies like the Assyrians and the Midianites.
A study on H8081 – the Hebrew word “shemen” translated as “anointing” in Isa 10:27 in the KJV
First of all, only once in the entire KJV is shemen translated “anointing” as in “because of the anointing.” In some other Old Testament translations shemen in Isaiah 10:27 is instead rendered:
- “because you have become so strong”
- “because you have grown so fat”
- “because of prosperity”
In Isaiah 10:27 the Hebrew word shemen is designated H8081 by Strong’s. Let us examine all the instances of the word shemen in the Old Testament manuscript on which the KJV is based.
There are 193 instances of shemen or H8081 found in this Old Testament manuscript. Shemen is translated as “oil” throughout the KJV, except for the following exceptions:
“Olive” – 2 times
“Ointment” – 11 times
Pine (branches) – 1 time
Fatness – 1 time
Fat things – 2 times
Fat – 2 times
Fruitful – 1 time
Anointing – 1 time
If we examine the usage of shemen in Isaiah only, we find the following:
Oil – 2 times
Ointment – 2 times
Fruitful – 1 time
Fat things – 2 times
Fat – 2 times
Anointing – 1 time
Therefore, only once is shemen translated “anointing” in the Old Testament of the KJV. In other translations it is not rendered “anointing” at all, but rather in another way not related to the “anointing.” We shall look at these other translations later below.
This therefore is a weak basis on which to build a major teaching and practice on “the anointing which breaks the yoke.”
How do some other versions of the Bible render Isaiah 10:27?
Literal Translation of the Holy Bible: And it shall be in that day, his burden shall turn away from on your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck; and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.
Septuagint: καιG2532 CONJ εσταιG1510 V-FMI-3S ενG1722 PREP τηG3588 T-DSF ημεραG2250 N-DSF εκεινηG1565 D-DSF αφαιρεθησεταιV-FPI-3S οG3588T-NSM φοβοςG5401 N-NSM αυτουG846 D-GSM αποG575 PREP σουG4771 P-GSκαιG2532 CONJ οG3588 T-NSM ζυγοςG2218 N-NSM αυτουG846 D-GSM αποG575PREP τουG3588 T-GSM ωμουG3676 N-GSM σουG4771 P-GS καιG2532 CONJκαταφθαρησεταιV-FPI-3S οG3588 T-NSM ζυγοςG2218 N-NSM αποG575 PREPτωνG3588 T-GPM ωμωνG3676 N-GPM υμωνG4771 P-GP
[English translation of the Septuagint above: And it shall come to pass in that day, that his yoke shall be taken away from thy shoulder, and his fear from thee, and the yoke shall be destroyed from off your shoulders.
Note that the Greek words translated “because of the anointing” in the KJV are not even present in the Septuagint. They are also missing in the Greek text of the Apostolic Bible Polyglot.]
Modern King James Version: And it shall be, in that day his burden shall be taken away from off your shoulder, and his yoke from off your neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.
New International Reader’s Version: People of Zion, in days to come he will lift the heavy load of the Assyrians from your shoulders. He will remove their yokes from your necks. They will be broken because you have become so strong.
New International Version: In that day their burden will be lifted from your shoulders, their yoke from your neck; the yoke will be broken because you have grown so fat.
Young’s Literal Translation: And it hath come to pass, in that day, Turned is his burden from off thy shoulder, And his yoke from off thy neck, And destroyed hath been the yoke, because of prosperity.
We note above that some translations do not mention “the anointing” at all, but rather mention instead “strength”, “fatness”, and “prosperity”. The Greek Septuagint, as we see above, even omits the phrase completely. This is weak support for the validity of the teaching regarding “the anointing which breaks the yoke.”
A look at the English word “anointing” in the KJV
Let us now examine the usage of the word “anointing” in the King James Old Testament. Here it is used 25 times as follows:
- Exodus 25:6 OilH8081 for the light,H3974 spicesH1314 for anointingH4888 oil,H8081 and for sweetH5561 incense,H7004
- Ex 29:7 Then shalt thou takeH3947 (H853) the anointingH4888 oil,H8081 and pourH3332 it uponH5921 his head,H7218 and anointH4886 him.
- Ex 29:21 And thou shalt takeH3947 ofH4480 the bloodH1818thatH834 is uponH5921 the altar,H4196 and of the anointing oil,H4480 H8081 H4888 and sprinkleH5137 it uponH5921Aaron,H175 and uponH5921 his garments,H899 and uponH5921 his sons,H1121 and uponH5921 the garmentsH899of his sonsH1121 withH854 him: and heH1931 shall be hallowed,H6942 and his garments,H899 and his sons,H1121and his sons’H1121 garmentsH899 withH854 him.
- Ex 30:25 And thou shalt makeH6213 it an oilH8081 of holyH6944 ointment,H4888 an ointmentH7545 compoundH4842after the artH4639 of the apothecary:H7543 it shall beH1961an holyH6944 anointingH4888 oil.H8081
- Ex 30:31 And thou shalt speakH1696 untoH413 the childrenH1121 of Israel,H3478 saying,H559 ThisH2088 shall beH1961 an holyH6944 anointingH4888 oilH8081 unto me throughout your generations.H1755
- Ex 31:11 And the anointingH4888 oil,H8081 and sweetH5561 incenseH7004 for the holyH6944 place:according to allH3605 thatH834 I have commandedH6680thee shall they do.H6213
- Ex 35:8 And oilH8081 for the light,H3974 and spicesH1314for anointingH4888 oil,H8081 and for the sweetH5561incense,H7004
- Ex 35:15 And the incenseH7004 altar,H4196 and his staves,H905 and the anointingH4888 oil,H8081 and the sweetH5561 incense,H7004 and the hangingH4539 for the doorH6607 at the entering inH6607 of the tabernacle,H4908
- Ex 35:28 And spice,H1314 and oilH8081 for the light,H3974and for the anointingH4888 oil,H8081 and for the sweetH5561 incense.H7004
- Ex 37:29 And he madeH6213 (H853) the holyH6944anointingH4888 oil,H8081 and the pureH2889 incenseH7004of sweet spices,H5561 according to the workH4639 of the apothecary.H7543
- Ex 39:38 And the goldenH2091 altar,H4196 and the anointingH4888 oil,H8081 and the sweetH5561incense,H7004 and the hangingH4539 for the tabernacleH168door,H6607
- Ex 40:9 And thou shalt takeH3947 (H853) the anointingH4888 oil,H8081 and anointH4886 (H853) the tabernacle,H4908 and allH3605 thatH834 is therein, and shalt hallowH6942 it, and allH3605 the vesselsH3627thereof: and it shall beH1961 holy.H6944
- Ex 40:15 And thou shalt anointH4886 them, asH834thou didst anointH4886 (H853) their father,H1 that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office:H3547 for their anointingH4886 shall surely beH1961 H1961 an everlastingH5769 priesthoodH3550 throughout their generations.H1755
- Lev 7:35 ThisH2063 is the portion of the anointingH4888of Aaron,H175 and of the anointingH4888 of his sons,H1121 out of the offerings of the LORD made by fire,H4480 H801 H3068 in the dayH3117 when he presentedH7126 them to minister unto the LORD in the priest’s office;H3547 H3068
- Lev 8:2 TakeH3947 (H853) AaronH175 and his sonsH1121withH854 him, and the garments,H899 and the anointingH4888 oil,H8081 and a bullockH6499 for the sin offering,H2403 and twoH8147 rams,H352 and a basketH5536of unleavened bread;H4682
- Lev 8:10 And MosesH4872 tookH3947 (H853) the anointingH4888 oil,H8081 and anointedH4886 (H853) the tabernacleH4908 and allH3605 thatH834 was therein, and sanctifiedH6942 them.
- Lev 8:12 And he pouredH3332 of the anointing oilH4480 H8081 H4888 uponH5921 Aaron’sH175 head,H7218 and anointedH4886 him, to sanctifyH6942 him.
- Lev 8:30 And MosesH4872 tookH3947 of the anointing oil,H4480 H8081 H4888 and ofH4480 the bloodH1818 whichH834was uponH5921 the altar,H4196 and sprinkledH5137 ituponH5921 Aaron,H175 and uponH5921 his garments,H899and uponH5921 his sons,H1121 and uponH5921 his sons’H1121garmentsH899 withH854 him; and sanctifiedH6942 (H853)Aaron,H175 and his garments,H899 and his sons,H1121 and his sons’H1121 garmentsH899 withH854 him.
- Lev 10:7 And ye shall notH3808 go outH3318 from the doorH4480 H6607 of the tabernacleH168 of the congregation,H4150 lestH6435 ye die:H4191 forH3588 the anointingH4888 oilH8081 of the LORDH3068 is uponH5921you. And they didH6213 according to the wordH1697 of Moses.H4872
- Lev 21:10 And he that is the highH1419 priestH3548among his brethren,H4480 H251 uponH5921 whoseH834headH7218 the anointingH4888 oilH8081 was poured,H3332and that is consecratedH4390 (H853) H3027 to put onH3847 (H853) the garments,H899 shall notH3808 uncoverH6544 (H853)his head,H7218 norH3808 rendH6533 his clothes;H899
- Lev 21:12 NeitherH3808 shall he go outH3318 ofH4480 the sanctuary,H4720 norH3808 profaneH2490 (H853) the sanctuaryH4720 of his God;H430 forH3588 the crownH5145 of the anointingH4888 oilH8081 of his GodH430 is uponH5921him: IH589 am the LORD.H3068
- Num 4:16 And to the officeH6486 of EleazarH499 the sonH1121 of AaronH175 the priestH3548 pertaineth the oilH8081 for the light,H3974 and the sweetH5561incense,H7004 and the dailyH8548 meat offering,H4503 and the anointingH4888 oil,H8081 and the oversightH6486 of allH3605 the tabernacle,H4908 and of allH3605 thatH834therein is, in the sanctuary,H6944 and in the vesselsH3627thereof.
- Num 18:8 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413Aaron,H175 Behold,H2009 IH589 also have givenH5414thee(H853) the chargeH4931 of mine heave offeringsH8641 of allH3605 the hallowed thingsH6944 of the childrenH1121 of Israel;H3478 unto thee have I givenH5414 them by reason of the anointing,H4888 and to thy sons,H1121 by an ordinanceH2706 for ever.H5769
- Isa 10:27 And it shall come to passH1961 in thatH1931day,H3117 that his burdenH5448 shall be taken awayH5493from offH4480 H5921 thy shoulder,H7926 and his yokeH5923from offH4480 H5921 thy neck,H6677 and the yokeH5923 shall be destroyedH2254 becauseH4480 H6440 of the anointing.H8081
An examination of these verses shows that in 24 out of the 25 instances of the word “anointing,” the Hebrew word is mishchah or H4888 according to Strong’s—and not shemen which is Strong’s H8081. While we note that in the above verses mishchah and shemen frequently go together as in “anointing oil,” they are not identical or related in meaning. Mishchah means “anointing” whereas shemen most often means actual physical oil.
Only in a single instance—in Isaiah 10:27—does the English word “anointing” appear as the translation of shemen. Again, as we have noted above, shemen is most often translated “oil,” and we repeat only once in the entire Old Testament is translated “anointing”—in Isaiah 10:27. Again, a major teaching in certain circles is based on a translation which is supported by Scripture only weakly at best.
We conclude from this examination that the usage of shemen or H8081 in the Old Testament does not validate the concept or practice of the “anointing” for breaking the yoke of the enemy on the lives of New Testament believers. Not only is support for this concept very weak in the Old Testament, there is a complete lack of support from the New Testament as well.
Of course, the Lord does indeed deliver His people—but scripturally not through “the anointing” as often taught in some circles. Rather, God provides power, authority, and gifts to His people for this purpose. These are different and not related to what is popularly called today “the anointing” to minister to others.