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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
1. Ordinary Use
(1) As regards its secular or ordinary use, the native olive oil, alone or mixed with perfumes, was commonly used for toilet purposes, the very poor naturally reserving it for special occasions only (Rth 3:3). The fierce protracted heat and biting lime dust of Palestine made the oil very soothing to the skin, and it was applied freely to exposed parts of the body, especially to the face (Psalm 104:15 ).
(2) The practice was in vogue before David's time, and traces of it may be found throughout the Old Testament (see Deuteronomy 28:40; Rth 3:3; 2 Samuel 12:20; 2 Samuel 14:2; 2 Chronicles 28:15; Ezekiel 16:9; Micah 6:15; Daniel 10:3 ) and in the New Testament (Matthew 6:17 , etc.). Indeed it seems to have been a part of the daily toilet throughout the East.
(3) To abstain from it was one token of mourning (2 Samuel 14:2; compare Matthew 6:17 ), and to resume it a sign that the mourning was ended (2 Samuel 12:20; 2 Samuel 14:2; Daniel 10:3; Judith 10:3). It often accompanied the bath (Rth 3:3; 2 Samuel 12:20; Ezekiel 16:9; Susanna 17), and was a customary part of the preparation for a feast (Ecclesiastes 9:8; Psalm 23:5 ). One way of showing honor to a guest was to anoint his head with oil (Psalm 23:5; Luke 7:46 ); a rarer and more striking way was to anoint his feet (Luke 7:38 ). In James 5:14 , we have an instance of anointing with oil for medicinal purposes, for which see OIL .
2. Religious Use
Anointing as a religious rite was practiced throughout the ancient East in application both to persons and to things.
(1) It was observed in Canaan long before the Hebrew conquest, and, accordingly, Weinel (Stade's Zeitschrift ,
(2) The primary meaning of
(3) The most significant uses of
(4) Among the Hebrews it was believed not only that it effected a transference to the anointed one of something of the holiness and virtue of the deity in whose name and by whose representative the rite was performed, but also that it imparted a special endowment of the spirit of Yahweh (compare 1 Samuel 16:13; Isaiah 61:1 ). Hence the profound reverence for the king as a sacred personage, "the anointed" (Hebrew,
(5) In what is known today as the Priestly Code, the high priest is spoken of as "anointed" (Exodus 29:7; Leviticus 4:3; Leviticus 8:12 ), and, in passages regarded by some as later additions to the Priestly Code, other priests also are thus spoken of (Exodus 30:30; Exodus 40:13-15 ). Elijah was told to anoint Elisha as a prophet (1 Kings 19:16 ), but seems never to have done so. 1 Kings 19:16 gives us the only recorded instance of such a thing as the anointing of a prophet. Isaiah 61:1 is purely metaphorical (compare Dillmann on Leviticus 8:12-14 with ICC on Numbers 3:3; see also Nowack, Lehrbuch der hebraischen Archaologie , II, 124).
Jewish Encyclopedia , article "Anointing"; BJ , IV, ix, 10, DB , article "Anointing," etc.
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Anointing'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/a/anointing.html. 1915.