While reading the Cyrus the Great in the Wikipedia, I found the mentioned sentence in this paragraph:

Cyrus the Great respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered.[13] It is said that in universal history, the role of the Achaemenid empire founded by Cyrus lies in its very successful model for centralized administration and establishing a government working to the advantage and profit of its subjects.[8] In fact, the administration of the empire through satraps and the vital principle of forming a government at Pasargadae were the works of Cyrus.[14] What is sometimes referred to as the Edict of Restoration (actually two edicts) described in the Bible as being made by Cyrus the Great left a lasting legacy on the Jewish religion where because of his policies in Babylonia, he is referred to by the people of the Jewish faith, as "the anointed of the Lord".[15][16]

I guess something positive after word by word translating to Farsi but I am not sure about the right meaning.

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    This is more of a theological question than an English question, and it is subject to interpretation and debate; the phrase is a translation from Hebrew, I believe. Mar 1, 2013 at 21:01
  • I do not want any debate here about this sentence. I want to know the meaning if you know. If not so I can wait for the answer, there is no need to debate. Mar 1, 2013 at 21:04
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    I don't mean debate in a bad way; just that you can take many meanings out of a Hebrew phrase, and there are people who spend their whole lives studying this stuff. My best understanding of "anointed of the Lord" is someone who has been singled out specifically by God; who, for a time, is working out God's will and whose actions are destined by God. Mar 1, 2013 at 21:15
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    Ok, at first I wasn't sure if it was an ELL-type question. :-) Mar 1, 2013 at 21:49

4 Answers 4


This is perhaps more a religious question than an English one, but I found the topic interesting and so did some research. A good accounting of what anointment is in general, and regarding its relation to King Cyrus specifically, can be found here. To avoid link rot, I'll quote several relevant paragraphs:

Cyrus was anointed with a seven-fold anointing that made a young man the most powerful King in his season. Excitingly, this anointing is available to any believer who is willing to live for a great cause and to tap into the big vision of God for our world at this time.

The list goes on and on of ordinary people who were called and anointed by God for great significance in His Kingdom because they dared to believe in the God for whom all things are possible and volunteered to serve Him in His Kingdom purpose. God’s anointing is to do God-things. God’s glory is to glorify Him. God’s power is to do the extraordinary for His Name sake.

When God confirmed that Cyrus was willing to become a servant of the Most High, God took a hold of this young man’s right hand and took him on a journey of incredible victories, great exaltation and wealth, great significance in preserving the Jews from whom would come our Messiah and the Christian Church.

The Bible describes God’s calling and covenant with Cyrus: "Thus says the LORD to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held --To subdue nations before him And loose the armor of kings, To open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut: 'I will go before you And make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze And cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the LORD, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel.” Isaiah 45:1-3.

The Seven-fold anointing includes:

  1. “To subdue nations before him” – Global Influence, kingdoms.
  2. “To loose the armor of kings” – Successful Spiritual Warfare.
  3. “To open before him the “double” doors, So that the gates will not be shut” - Double Opportunities for Double Blessings
  4. “To go before you and make the crooked places straight – level mountains.” Favor in spite of obstacles.
  5. “To break in pieces the gates of bronze” – To possess unreachable opportunities
  6. “To cut the bars of iron” – Power over “withholding spirits”
  7. “To give you the treasures of darkness & hidden riches of secret places” – How to see opportunities.

So, in short: it seems that anointment refers to someone who, in the Christian faith, is singled out by God to serve a certain purpose in God's name, and promises to honor and fulfill God's wishes.

DISCLAIMER: I gained this information from research, not personal knowledge. If someone with personal ties to the concept has differing information, please let me know and I will correct or recant this answer.

  • Thanks! surely I wanted to know the meaning and when you do not know the meaning you cannot recognize its religious or historical routes and only can guess. Mar 1, 2013 at 22:02
  • The bit about a "seven-fold" anointing is one writer's (elaborate) theory. I don't think most Jews or Christians would necessarily agree with all the details there. Those details are certainly not a part of general Judeo-Christian understanding of anointing in general or Cyrus in particular. Not to say it's wrong. It's like if I asked you what the word "qualified" means and you gave a long list of specific attributes a person might have -- like "intelligent", "hard-working", "responsible", "well-educated", etc -- most would say that goes beyond the definition of the word.
    – Jay
    Nov 4, 2014 at 17:57

Found on Bible Suite, the phrase specifically referring to Cyrus the Great as "the anointed of the Lord originates from Isaiah 45:1:

This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut:

The interpretation of "the anointed of the Lord" further down the page reads, from Barnes notes on the Bible:

The word 'anointed' is that which is usually rendered "Messiah" (משׁיח mâshı̂yach), and here is rendered by the Septuagint, Τῷ χριστῷ μου Κύρῳ Tō christō mou Kurō - 'To Cyrus, my Christ,' i. e, my anointed. It properly means "the anointed," and was a title which was commonly given to the kings of Israel, because they were set apart to their office by the ceremony of anointing, who hence were called οι χρυστοὶ Κυρίου hoi christoi Kuriou - 'The anointed of the Lord' 1 Samuel 2:10, 1 Samuel 2:35; 1 Samuel 12:3, 1 Samuel 12:5; 1 Samuel 16:6; 1 Samuel 24:7, 1 Samuel 24:11; 1 Samuel 26:9, 1 Samuel 26:11, 1 Samuel 26:23; 2 Samuel 1:14, 2 Samuel 1:16; 2 Samuel 19:22-23. There is no evidence that the Persian kings were inaugurated or consecrated by oil, but this is an appellation which was common among the Jews, and is applied to Cyrus in accordance with their usual mode of designating kings. It means here that God had solemnly set apart Cyrus to perform an important public service in his cause. It does not mean that Cyrus was a man of piety, or a worshipper of the true God, of which there is no certain evidence, but that his appointment as king was owing to the arrangement of God's providence, and that he was to be employed in accomplishing his purposes. The title does not designate holiness of character, but appointment to an office.


To be touched by God, as when David was anointed to be King because he was loved by God. You could also say when he defeated the giant he was anointed by God to do the impossible on his own. Only with the anointing of God was he able to defeat Goliath.


Wait, other answers are making this sound more complicated than it needs to be.

The word "anoint" literally means to put oil or salve on a person or an animal.

The ancient Jews -- and, I think, people of other cultures -- would pour oil on someone's head as part of a civil or religious ritual indicating that that person had now been appointed to an important office, especially king or priest. (If that seems like a pointless or silly thing to do, it's not inherently more pointless than the practice of modern colleges of wearing a robe and a funny hat as part of a graduation ceremony, or of the Olympics having someone carrying a torch when there's plenty of sunlight, etc. It's the nature of ritual to be symbolic and usually impractical.)

Thus, if someone was appointed to an important office, they would say he was "anointed", or "the anointed one".

The Jews believed that the Lord, that is, God, had personally chosen King Cyrus to carry out this particular job. So Cyrus was "anointed by the Lord" or "the Lord's anointed" or "the anointed of the Lord".

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