Touch Not My Anointed Ones: What Does That Really Mean?

Touch not my anointed is not a catchphrase to blind loyalty but an invitation to explore the faithfulness of God.

Touch not the anointed of God is not a catchphrase to blind loyalty but an invitation to explore the faithfulness of God.

Touch not my anointed. You heard this statement many times. And sometimes you said it. A person disagreed with your pastor. Another pointed out your pastor’s character issues. And all you could say was, “Touch not my anointed ones, and do no harm to his prophets.”

Proverbs 3:3 says, “Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.” I’m convinced that when you invoke the phrase touch not my anointed it’s out of loyalty. You’re loyal to your spiritual leaders and that’s honorable.

Zimbabweans know the true cost of blind loyalty. During the 2008 elections, some families were burnt alive in their houses. Others were killed in cold blood because of their political allegiance. And all these atrocities were committed because of party loyalty.

Sadly, blind loyalty in the church may lead to heinous spiritual crimes – sin. Church leaders may manipulate you willy nilly and lead you into sin. If you’re not careful, your ‘anointed of God’ might lead you into an eternal separation with the One True God.

Therefore, you really need to answer this question: what does touch not my anointed really mean?

What Does The Bible Say About Touching Not The Anointed Of God?


The phrase touch not my anointed appears several times in the Old Testament. But they’re no verses in the New Testament about touching the anointed. In this section, I will highlight two stories that are commonly used as examples of the consequences of touching the anointed of God.

You know the strife between David and Saul. David once hid in a cave fleeing Saul who wanted to kill him. And David had an opportunity to turn the tables and kill Saul. But he didn’t (1 Samuel 26:9), “Who can put out his hand against the LORD’s anointed and be guiltless?”

You probably think this passage clearly shows that no one should attack a spiritual leader even though they are no longer in God’s will. God took away the kingdom of Israel from Saul because of his disobedience. Yet, David claimed that Saul was still God’s anointed.

This passage makes one thing clear: striking a person God anointed makes you guilty. David refused to sin against God by killing Saul. But the most important question you should answer is this:

Is killing a king anointed by God equivalent to disagreeing with a pastor?

Again, you have heard about the kids who were eaten by bears. The kids met Elisha and instead of honoring him as the anointed of God, they ridiculed him. They touched the anointed of God and were punished, so you were told.

Again, is ridiculing a prophet of God the same as disagreeing with a pastor?

What Does Touch Not My Anointed Ones Really Mean?

Do you remember how Satan tempted Jesus Christ after the forty days and nights fast? The thief comes to steal and destroy. One way he does that is through misrepresentation of authority and misdirection of purpose. And this can easily be accomplished by twisting the Bible.

The verse you probably quote regarding touching not the anointed of God is Psalm 105:15. It says, “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!” When I read this verse today, I had five questions.

I believe these questions will help you understand what the Bible means when it says touch not the anointed of God.

Who was the psalmist talking to and why?

Before you can understand the meaning of the phrase touch not my anointed, you first need to know who the intended audience was. The book of Psalms is a collection of prayers and hymns for the children of Israel reminding them of God’s attributes and unfailing love for them. So, the primary intended audience for Psalm 105 was the Israelites.

However, the statement touch not my anointed ones is in quotes. And this implies that it was directed to a specific person or group of people. And the answer can be found by reading Psalm 105:1-15. It becomes apparent that God instructed kings and people from other nations to ‘touch not my anointed.’

2. What does touch or harm mean?

To better understand these words, you need to know the historical context of this verse. Reading from verse 1, you will notice that the psalmist is reminding the Israelites of the covenant God made to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Many people think touch and harm mean unwarranted or unfounded disagreement, rebuke, judging or condemnation of someone’s actions. But is that what the psalmist meant? From the historical context of this verse, touch and harm probably meant to bring physical injury.

3. Who were the anointed ones and prophets referred to by the psalmist?

After addressing the previous two questions, I realized that the statement touch not the anointed of God was an instruction God gave to foreign nations and their leaders to refrain from physically attacking some people. But who were these people? Are the anointed ones the kings and priests set apart by God in Israel then and/or those leading nations and churches today?

Again, by reading through the whole Psalm it seems the anointed ones and the prophets were the children of Israel. It makes sense since they simply inherited the promise God gave to Abraham. God set apart the nation of Israel so that they can be his voice to all nations.

4. Is there anywhere else in the New Testament this verse is elaborated

We have seen that touch not the anointed of God was an instruction God gave foreign nations to refrain from attacking the nation of Israel. But before we can accept this interpretation let’s see if it has any scriptural basis.

In Exodus, God promised to make Israel a nation of priests and this was a fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. Peter later revealed that you are the royal priesthood set apart by God. We’re the anointed ones, no wonder Romans 12 reminds us that God is the one who avenges on our behalf.

5. What does this verse show me about God and what is he saying to me?

I love the expression touch not the anointed of God because it shows me the depth and breadth of God’s faithfulness. His word to the nations around us remains, “Touch not my anointed ones, and do no harm to my prophets.” This is a word for you and me.

God protects those he set apart for his eternal purpose. He protected Abraham from Pharaoh and Abimelech. God protected the children of Israel as they traveled to the Promised Land. And he will protect you and me as we are sojourners in this land. Many will come to attack us, but God will remain our protection.


Psalm 105:15 is not a rebuke regarding criticism of spiritual leaders. You and your pastor are equally anointed. There’s no hierarchy on the anointing. The same Holy Spirit in you is the same Spirit in your pastor.

So, what should you do when someone criticizes your pastor? You need to remember that they’re two types of people, those who enjoy criticizing church leaders and those who have genuine questions. Try to listen to the criticism and search what the Bible Say.

Always remember that my pastor said is not a sufficient response. Only what God says through the word really matters. This means you need to know how to read and understand the Biblele. When someone makes an objection concerning your pastor’s teachings don’t just listen to them.

Ask for the biblical basis of the objection. Read the Bible together in context. Quoting several verses in isolation to support a position might not be adequate. You need to read the whole chapter and sometimes the whole book before you can understand just a single verse or a phrase like touch not my anointed ones.



  1. This is a powerful post. It addresses one of the main problems the African church faces – idolatry of pastors, ministers, bishops and so-called men of GOD.



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