Monday, August 23, 2010

Anointing Symbolism

I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. Daniel 10:3

Oiling the body was considered a necessity and not a luxury, and this was done by a majority of the population.

One of the gestures of hospitality in the NT home was to anoint your visitor with oil, along with washing his feet, giving him a cold cup of water, and/or burning incense in your home to freshen the air.

The wealthy used unguents and creams composed on a base of vegetable oils, such as olive oil, almond oil, sesame oil, or of the fat of geese, sheep, goats, or cattle. Added to these were minerals, salts, milk, and/or honey. Fragrant resins or aromatic flowers were added to give them a sweet scent. The common man used oils of inferior quality, like castor oil.

So customary was anointing oneself with oil, that it was a sign of mourning to refrain from it, “ a mourner and put on mourning apparel and do not anoint yourself with oil(2 Sam. 14:2). Anointing with oil was also used in religious practice, including the anointing of kings by a prophet or priest, “And Zadok the priest to the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon (I Kgs. 1:39).


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