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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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שמן . The invention and use of oil is of the highest antiquity. It is said that Jacob poured oil upon the pillar which he erected at Bethel, Genesis 28:18 . The earliest kind was that which is extracted from olives. Before the invention of mills, this was obtained by pounding them in a mortar, Exodus 27:20; and sometimes by treading them with the feet in the same manner as were grapes, Deuteronomy 33:24; Micah 6:15 . The Hebrews used common oil with their food, in their meat- offerings, for burning in their lamps, &c. As vast quantities of oil were made by the ancient Jews, it became an article of exportation. The great demand for it in Egypt led the Jews to send it thither. The Prophet Hosea thus upbraids his degenerate nation with the servility and folly, of their conduct: "Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind; he daily increaseth falsehood and vanity; and a league is made with Assyria, and oil carried into Egypt," Hosea 12:1 . The Israelites, in the decline of their national glory, carried the produce of their olive plantations into Egypt as a tribute to their ancient oppressors, or as a present to conciliate their favour, and obtain their assistance in the sanguinary wars which they were often compelled to wage with the neighbouring states. There was an unguent, very precious and sacred, used in anointing the priests, the tabernacle, and furniture. This was compounded of spicy drugs, namely, myrrh, sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus, and cassia, mixed with oil olive.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Oil'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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