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Girdlestone's Synonyms of the Old Testament
In considering the ceremonial anointing of the O.T., we have only to do with one word, viz. Mashach (משׁח ), from which the name Messiah is derived, and which is almost always rendered χρίω in the LXX. Other words, indeed, are used, but not in a ceremonial sense. Among passages where such occur, two may be noted: the first is Isaiah 10:27, 'The yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing,' or literally, 'from the face of the oil;' the other is Zechariah 4:14, 'These are the two anointed ones (literally, sons of oil or brightness) that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.'
Mashach is first used of the anointing of the pillar at Bethel (Genesis 28:18; Genesis 31:13), and it does not occur again till Exodus 25:6, where 'the anointing oil' is spoken of. We next meet with it in connection with the consecration and sanctification of Aar on (Exodus 28:41). The anointing came after the offering of atoning victims in Aaron's case, as in the case of the altar (Exodus 29:36). The tabernacle, the ark, the table, and various vessels were to be anointed (Exodus 30:26-28). They were then regarded as sanctified or set apart, and whatever touched them had this sanctification communicated to it. The unleavened wafers and some other meat offerings were to be anointed (Leviticus 2:4) in all these cases the unction was the mode of setting apart or sanctifying.
The anointing of a king is first mentioned in the parable of Jotham (Judges 9:8; Judges 9:15). It next occurs in the inspired hymn of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:10), 'He shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.' Saul was anointed captain over God's people, that he might save them out of the h and of the Philistines (1 Samuel 9:16). Various references are found to the Lord's anointed, that is to say, the king, both in the historical and poetical books. The following are the most important: Psalms 2:2, 'The rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed;' Psalms 18:50, 'He sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore;' Psalms 20:6, 'Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed;' Psalms 45:7, 'God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows;' Psalms 92:10, 'I shall be anointed with fresh oil.'
The reference in Psalms 105:15, 'Touch not mine anointed (ones), and do my prophets no harm,' is thought to be to the priests (compare Habakkuk 3:13). The meaning of the phrase 'Anoint the shield' (Isaiah 21:5) is doubtful in Isaiah 45:1, Cyrus is called the Lord's anointed, because he was appointed king for a special purpose in Isaiah 61:1, the word receives a larger meaning, and teaches that the holy oil wherewith the priest and king and the vessels of the tabernacle were anointed was a symbol of the Holy Spirit. For we read, 'The Spirit of the Lord God is up on me, because be hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek.'
In Ezekiel 28:14, the king of Tyrus is described as 'the anointed cherub.' Some here translate the word 'extended' instead of anointed; but compare Isaiah 45:1 in Daniel 9:24, we are told that seventy weeks were determined '. to anoint the Most Holy,' i.e. either the Most Holy Being or the Most Holy Place in Amos 6:6, the word appears to be used of personal decoration with oil, and not of the ceremonial anointing. If this be the case, it is the only place in the whole O.T in which the word is so used. Possibly there is a reference here to the abuse of holy things, a view which would be most in accordance with the accusations implied in the two previous verses.
The verb χρίειν is used five times in the N.T in four of these passages it refers to the anointing of Christ by his Father, namely: Luke 4:18, which is quoted from Isaiah 61:1; Hebrews 1:9, quoted from Psalms 45:7; Acts 4:27, where it is used with special reference to the quotation from the second Psalm, which immediately precedes it; and Acts 10:38, where we are told that God anointed Jesus with the Spirit. What, then, is the idea which we ought to connect with the name Christ or Messiah? It points to One who is King by Divine authority, and signifies that God would set his mark up on Him by giving Him the Holy Ghost without measure. Perhaps also it teaches that the ministrations of the prophet, priest, altar, and tabernacle with all its vessels, were foreshadowings of the work which He was to accomplish.
The anointing of Christians is spoken of in 2 Corinthians 1:21, where we are told that 'He who hath anointed us is God;' and in accordance with this fact, St. John three times in his First Epistle reminds those to whom he writes that they have a chrism or unction from the Holy One (chap.2:20, 27). this chrism includes not only the special temporary gifts of the Spirit, but also the indwelling and working presence of the Holy Ghost which the Christian receives from the Father through the Son.
The anointing of the sick is described by a different Greek word, namely, ἀλείφω. It was a medical rather than a ceremonial act, and was performed by friction or rubbing, not by pouring. So far from St. James's words (5:14) discouraging the use of medical help, they order it. The same word is used of the anointing of the head and of the body for purposes of decoration or preservation.
the Second Week of Advent