The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament

When we pray from the Agpeya we read in Psalm 50, "Do not cast me away from your presence and do not remove your Holy Spirit from me."

I know that the first mention of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament is in Genesis 1:2, "And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." But where in the Old Testament do we see the Holy Spirit mentioned in the way that we know Him today (i.e, where is the first mention of someone receiving the Holy Spirit)? When did David receive the Holy Spirit?

Also, how was the Spirit viewed in the Old Testament, since it had not yet been revealed to us that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit exist in one Godhead? What did the Jews believe concerning Him?


  • The Holy Spirit worked with man in the NT as it did in the OT. The difference is that in the OT the Holy Spirit guided the people towards salvation through the Law and the commandments. In the NT the Holy Spirit makes us live that salvation through His role in the Church's sacraments.
  • + Irini nem ehmot,

    Unlike in the age of Grace, where the Holy Spirit permanently remains with a person after their baptism and chrismation, the Holy Spirit would come upon and leave a person in the age of the Law. Thus, the Holy Spirit would come upon people who were typically anointed with oil by a prophet (as in the case of Saul or David) or God would grant His Spirit to people he ordained (as in the case of Sampson with his hair). The Holy Spirit was always active in bringing about the salvation of man, though His presences, like that of the Son, was not fully manifested as it was in the New Testament.
  • I think you guys are missing the question. George is not asking how the Holy Spirit worked in the OT compared to the NT. But what was the House of Israel's understanding  of the Holy Spirit in the OT? (That is if I understand his question correctly)
  • I have written an article that considers this question to some extent. It is here ...
  • :)
    everybody read it!
    especially before posting other posts as it will help us all to focus on God.
  • Seems very nice and thorough Fr. Peter, thanks  ;D I'll actually read it a little bit later once I have more time so that I can read it more carefully.
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