From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

OIL . With one exception (  Esther 2:12 ‘oil of myrrh’) all the Scripture references to oil are to ‘ olive oil ,’ as it is expressly termed in   Exodus 27:20 ,   Leviticus 24:2 etc., according to the more correct rendering of RV [Note: Revised Version.] . Considering how very numerous these references are some two hundred in all it is surprising that there should be so few that throw light on the methods adopted in the preparation of this indispensable product of the olive tree.

1 . Preparation of oil . By combining these meagre references with the fuller data of the Mishna, as illustrated by the actual remains of oil-presses, either still above ground or recently recovered from the soil of Palestine, it is possible to follow with some minuteness the principal methods adopted. The olives were either shaken from the tree or beaten down by striking the branches with a light pole, as illustrated on Greek vases (illust. in Vigouroux, Dict. de la Bible , art. ‘Huile’). The latter method supplies Isaiah with a pathetic figure of Israel (  Isaiah 17:6 RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ).

The finest quality of oil was got by selecting the best berries before they were fully ripe. These were pounded in a mortar, after which the pulp was poured into a basket of rushes or wickerwork. From this, as a strainer, the liquid was allowed to run off into a receiving vessel. After the oil had floated and been purified, it formed ‘ beaten oil ,’ such as had to be provided for the lighting of the Tabernacle (  Exodus 27:20 ,   Leviticus 24:2; cf.   1 Kings 5:11 RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ).

In the preparation of the oil required for ordinary domestic use, however, the methods adopted closely resembled those for the making of wine . Indeed, it is evident that the same apparatus served for the making both of wine and of oil (see Wine for the names of the parts, and note the phrase,   Joel 2:24 , ‘the fats [vats] shall overflow with wine and oil’). From evidence, literary and archæological, it is clear that there were various kinds of oil-presses in use in different periods. A very common, if not quite the simplest, type consisted of a shallow trough hewn in the native rock, from which, as in the similar, if not identical, wine-press, a conducting channel carried the expressed liquid to a slightly lower trough or oil-vat. In early times it appears as if a preliminary pressing was made with the feet alone (  Micah 6:15 ).

In the absence of a suitable rock-surface, as would naturally be the case within a city of any antiquity, a solid block of limestone circular, four-sided, and eight-sided (Megiddo) are the shapes recovered by recent explorers was hollowed to the depth of a few inches, a rim being left all round save at one corner. Such presses were found at Taanach (illust. Sellin, Tell Ta‘annek , 61, reproduced in Benzinger’s Heb. Arch . 2 [1907] 144), and elsewhere. In these the olives were crushed by means of a large round stone. The liquid was either allowed to collect in a large cup-hollow in the surface of the trough, from which it was baled out by hand ( PEFSt [Note: Quarterly Statement of the same.] , 1903, p. 112), or it was run off into a vessel placed at the corner above mentioned (see Sellin’s illust., and op. cit . 60 f., 93). At a later period, as we learn from the Mishna, a stone in the shape of the modern millstone was used. Through the centre a pole was inserted, by which it was made to revolve on its narrow side round the circular trough a method still in use in Syria.

From the oil-mill, as this apparatus may be termed, the product of which naturally, after purification, produced the finer sort of oil, the pulp was transferred to the oil-press properly so called. Here it was placed in baskets piled one above the other. Pressure was then applied for the extraction of a second quality of oil, by means of a heavy wooden beam worked as a lever by ropes and heavy weights, or by a windlass. Details of the fittings of these ‘press-houses,’ as they are named in the Mishna, and of another type of press formed of two upright monoliths with a third laid across, the whole resembling the Gr. letter II, have been collected by the present writer in the art. ‘Oil’ in EBi [Note: Encyclopædia Biblica.] iii. 3467, and may now be controlled by the account of the elaborate underground ‘press-house’ described and illustrated by Bliss and Macalister in Excavations in Palestine , p. 208 f. and plate 92 (cf. ib . 196 f. and Index).

The expressed liquid, both from the oil-mill and from the oil-press, was collected either in a rock-cut vat or in separate jars. In these it was allowed to settle, when the oil rose to the top, leaving a bitter, watery liquid, the amurca of the Romans, and other refuse behind. Oil in this fresh state is distinguished in OT from the refined and purified product; the former is yitshâr , so frequently named along with ‘new wine’ or must ( tîrôsh , see Wine, § 1 ) and corn as one of the chief products of Canaan; the latter is always shemen , but the distinction is not observed in our versions. The fresh oil or yitshâr was refined in the same manner as wine, by being poured from vessel to vessel, and was afterwards stored in jars and in skins. A smaller quantity for immediate use was kept in a small earthenware pot the vial of   1 Samuel 10:1 and of   2 Kings 9:1 RV [Note: Revised Version.] (AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘box’) or in a horn (  1 Samuel 16:1;   1 Samuel 16:13 ,   1 Kings 1:39 ).

2 . Uses of oil . Foremost among what may be called the secular uses of oil may be placed its daily employment as a cosmetic, already dealt with under Anointing (see also Ointment). This was the oil that made the face to shine (  Psalms 104:15 ). As in all Eastern lands, oil was largely used in the preparation of food  ; familiarity with this use of it is presupposed in the comparison of the taste of the strange manna to that of the familiar ‘cakes baked with oil’ (  Numbers 11:8 RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.]; see, further, Meals, § 1 . end). Oil was also indispensable for the lighting of the house after nightfall. In addition to the universal olive oil, the Mishna ( Shabbath , ii. I f.) names a variety of other oils then in use, among them oil of sesame, fish oil, castor oil, and naphtha. That used in the Temple (  1 Chronicles 9:29 ) was no doubt of the finest quality, like the ‘beaten oil’ for the Tabernacle above described. The medicinal properties of oil were early recognized (  Isaiah 1:5 RV [Note: Revised Version.] ); the Good Samaritan mixed his with wine (  Luke 10:34 ), producing an antiseptic mentioned also in post-Biblical Jewish writings.

Oil has a prominent place in the ritual of the Priests’ Code, particularly in the preparation of the ‘meal-offering’ (  Leviticus 2:1;   Leviticus 2:4 etc.). It also appears in connexion with the leprosy-offering (  Leviticus 14:10 ff.) and in other connexions, but is absent from the sin-offering (  Leviticus 5:1 ff.) and the jealousy-offering (  Numbers 5:11 ff.). For the special case of the ‘holy anointing oil’ (  Exodus 30:23-25 ), see Ointment.

As might have been expected from the extensive cultivation of the olive by the Hebrews, oil not only formed an important article of inland commerce , but was exported in large quantities both to the West, by way of Tyre (  Ezekiel 27:17 ), and to Egypt (  Hosea 12:1 ).

This abundance of oil furnished the Hebrew poets with a figure for material prosperity in general, as in  Deuteronomy 33:24 ‘He shall dip his foot in oil.’ From its being in daily use to anoint the heads of one’s guests at a festive meal (  Psalms 23:5 etc.), oil became by association a symbol of joy and gladness (  Psalms 45:7 =   Hebrews 1:9 ,   Isaiah 61:3 ).

A. R. S. Kennedy.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [2]

OIL ( שָׁמֶן, ἔλαιον), by which we are to understand olive oil, was from the very earliest times one of the main products of Palestine, for already in days prior to the Hebrew settlement, Canaan was ‘a land of oil olives’ ( Deuteronomy 8:8). The importance of this valuable commodity cannot easily be overestimated. It afforded light ( Matthew 25:3) and nourishment ( 1 Kings 17:12) to the household; it was valued for its healing and medicinal virtues (Is 1:6 Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885,  Luke 10:34); it had its place in the Hebrew ritual ( Exodus 29:40,  Leviticus 2:1); and it was an important article of commerce ( 2 Kings 4:7,  Luke 16:6).

The oil was obtained by subjecting the berries of the olive-tree to pressure. The earliest method of expression seems to have been that of treading the olives with the feet, to which allusion is made in  Micah 6:15, and perhaps also in  Deuteronomy 33:24 This process is unknown in modern times (Thomson, LB [Note: The Land and the Book.] pp. 207, 339). Van-Lennep, however, states that the pulp from the olive-press is still ‘trodden with the bare feet of women and girls’ ( Bible Lands , p. 130). At what period this primitive method was abandoned, and made way for more thorough processes, we do not know. The OT has no references that are clear enough to guide us: those that occur ( e.g.  Job 24:11;  Job 29:6) are vague and general, and in none of them is the oil-press specifically mentioned. But from the Mishna ( Menâhôth viii. 14) we learn that the processes commonly employed were bruising in a mortar, find crushing in the oil-press and the oil-mill, these processes being consecutive, not alternative.

The quality of the oil depended partly on the time at which the olives were gathered, and partly on the mode of crushing. The best quality was that yielded by berries gathered before they became black (as they do when fully ripe), and pounded in a mortar. Of this kind was ‘beaten oil’ ( Exodus 27:20;  Exodus 29:40,  Leviticus 24:2,  Numbers 28:5). This first quality of oil was got by putting the pulp from the mortar into wicker baskets, through which the strained liquid ran into receptacles placed beneath. A second and a third quality were obtained by further crushing of the pulp in the oil-press, and then in the oil-mill.

In the NT allusions to oil are not very frequent; those occurring in the Gospels have reference to its use:—(1) As an illuminant ( Matthew 25:3-4;  Matthew 25:8). The lamps in common use were of earthenware, and small in size (see Lamp). When they had to be kept burning for any considerable period, it was necessary to replenish them with oil from time to time. (2) Medicinally ( Luke 10:34,  Mark 6:13, cf.  James 5:14). The healing virtues of oil were highly esteemed by the Jews, and it was much employed by them and by other ancient nations. It was applied, e.g. , to wounds ( Isaiah 1:6 Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885) to soothe their pain and to hasten the process of healing. A similar usage is found in the parable of the Good Samaritan ( Luke 10:34). In this instance, wine as well as oil was employed, the added wine imparting to the mixture an antiseptic quality (cf, Pliny, HN xxxi. 47; Talm. [Note: Talmud.] Shabbâth xiv. 4). Oil-baths were sometimes used, as in the case of Herod the Great (Josephus Ant. xvii. vi. 5). The anointing of the sick with oil ( Mark 6:13,  James 5:14) was doubtless based on the current belief in its remedial powers, but may also have been a symbolic act, as was the anointing of lepers ( Leviticus 14:15 ff.). Plumptre suggests that ‘it served as a help to the faith of the person healed; perhaps also, in the case of the Apostles, to that of the healer’ (‘St. James’ in Camb. Bible for Schools , p. 103). (3) For anointing ( Matthew 6:17,  Luke 7:46). The custom of anointing the head or the body with oil was a very common one in ancient times, and was practised by the Egyptians (Wilkinson, Anc. Egyp. [Note: Egyptian.] ii. 213), the Greeks (Homer, Il . x. 577), and others (Pliny, HN xiii. 1 ff.). Among the Jews the anointing of the head with oil seems to have accompanied the daily ablutions ( Matthew 6:17, cf.  Ruth 3:3,  2 Samuel 12:20), except in time of mourning ( 2 Samuel 14:2,  Daniel 10:3). It was also a mark of honour paid to guests by their host ( Luke 7:46, cf.  Psalms 23:5). Anointing the feet ( Luke 7:38;  Luke 7:46,  John 11:2) was very unusual. The dead were anointed as a tribute of respect ( Mark 16:1,  Luke 23:56;  Luke 24:1, cf.  John 12:3;  John 12:7), aromatic spices being added. (4) As an article of merchandise ( Matthew 25:9,  Luke 16:6). In common and daily use, and to the Eastern one of the necessaries of life, oil played a large part in the home trade of Palestine ( 2 Kings 4:7), and was, further, a most valuable export. We find special mention made of trading in oil with the Tyrians ( Ezekiel 27:17), who probably re-exported it, and with Egypt ( Hosea 12:1). It formed an important part of the supplies sent by Solomon to Hiram in return for the timber and other materials furnished for the building of the Temple ( 1 Kings 5:11).

Hugh Duncan.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [3]

The most common word for "oil" in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word shemen [   1 Kings 6:23,31-33;  Isaiah 41:19 ) is a natural way to refer to "olive wood." In one place it refers to the "oil of myrrh" (i.e., an aromatic gum resin that comes from a shrub-like tree) used in the beautification process of Esther and other women in the Persian royal harem ( Esther 2:12 ). The New Testament Greek word that corresponds to Hebrew shemen [   Matthew 26:36;  Mark 14:32 ). The corresponding Aramaic word is mesah, "(anointing) oil, " (2 occurrences,  Ezra 6:9;  7:22 ), which refers to the oil needed for the temple cult and is directly related to the Hebrew verb mashach [מָשַׁח], "to anoint."

The term yitshar [   2 Chronicles 32:28;  Jeremiah 31:12;  Hosea 2:8,22;  Joel 2:19,24 ) while the loss or lack of it was a sign of his judgment ( Deuteronomy 28:51;  Joel 1:10;  Haggai 1:11 ). The firstfruits or tithe of "fresh oil" went to the priests and Levites.  Zechariah 4:14 uses this word to refer to Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the governor as "the two who are anointed (lit. the sons of oil') to serve the Lord of all the earth." The image of two olive trees supplying one lampstand with oil suggests that these two men together were the means through which the Lord would bless Israel.

Olive trees took a long time to grow and mature, but they also lasted for hundreds of years. Therefore, a good oil supply was a sign of stability and prosperity (e.g.,  Deuteronomy 8:8;  33:24;  2 Kings 20:13;  Psalm 92:10;  Proverbs 21:20;  Isaiah 39:2;  Joel 2:19,24 ). The lack of oil was a sign of the curse of God and agricultural disaster (e.g.,  Deuteronomy 28:40;  Joel 1:10 ). As a sign of judgment Micah predicted that the nation of Israel "will press olives" but not have the opportunity to "use the oil" (6:15).

Oil was used as a commodity of trade or personal income, for various kinds of common daily consumption (as part of the bread diet in tabernacle grain offerings, as fuel for lamps in the tabernacle, or homes, as a lubricant for one's hair and skin, sometimes with a special sense of honor, as an aromatic substance, as a medication, or in healing contexts, for royal and religious ritual procedures (see below), and in figurative expressions (e.g., for fertility and prosperity [  Deuteronomy 33:24;  Job 29:6 ] "oil of joy" [  Psalm 45:7;  Isaiah 61:3;  Hebrews 1:9 ]).

Jacob anointed his memorial pillar at Bethel with oil and thus sanctified it as "the house of God" ( Genesis 28:18;  35:14 ). The practice of anointing kings with oil is well known in Israel. In this case it appears to have the effect of consecrating them to their office. The same idea is present in the consecration of the tabernacle and especially the priesthood. Even though the Old Testament records the anointing of the priests in the days of Moses, some critical scholars have argued that, historically, priests were not anointed in Israel or generally in the ancient Near East until the postexilic period. A recent text from Emar (ca. 1300 b.c.), however, refers to the anointing of a priestess there.

According to Exodus 30:22-33Moses was to mix a special "sacred anointing oil" (vv. 25,31). This recipe was not to be used by anyone else and none of it was to be poured on any common person. It was limited to particular uses in the tabernacle (vv. 31-33). First, Moses was to use this oil to anoint the whole tabernacle, all its furniture (even the ark of the covenant), and all the vessels used therein (vv. 26-28). By this means Moses would "consecrate them so they will be most holy , and whatever touches them will be (or must be') holy " (v. 29 cf.  Exodus 29:37 ). The "will be" translation would mean that any person or thing that touched the altar (or other anointed parts of the tabernacle) would contract holiness therefrom as if "holiness" were contagious. A person who contracted such holiness would be liable to death (see, e.g., the warning to the Kohathites in  Numbers 4:15 ). The "must be" translation would only suggest that it was forbidden for anything or anyone that was not "holy" to come into direct contact with the altar (etc.). The contrast between these two terms in this verse suggests the latter translation.

Second, Moses was to use this oil to anoint the priests and thereby consecrate them to minister in the consecrated tabernacle (v. 30 cf.  Exodus 29:7;  40:12-15;  Leviticus 8:12 ). In this way they would become "holy" ( Leviticus 21:6,8 ) and could therefore come in direct contact with the "most holy" tabernacle, its furniture, and its vessels (see above). This created a grading effect so that the tabernacle, its furniture, and its vessels were "most holy" and could be touched only by the "holy" priests. The priests therefore became the mediators that stood between the "common" people and the immediate presence and holiness of God in the tabernacle. The people could come in contact with the priests (i.e., the "holy" men) but they could not come in contact with the "most holy" parts of the tabernacle that had been anointed with the "sacred anointing oil."

Richard E. Averbeck

See also Anoint; Holiness Holy; Offerings And Sacrifices; Priesthood Priest

Bibliography . J. A. Balchin, ISBE , 3:585-86; D. E. Fleming, The Installation of Baal's High Priestess at Emar  ; R. J. Forbes, Studies in Ancient Technology  ; R. T. France, NIDNTT, 2:710-13; H. N. Moldenke and A. L. Moldenke, Plants of the Bible  ; J. F. Ross, IDB , 3:592-93; H. Schlier, TDNT , 2:470-73; J. A. Thompson, IDB, 3:593-95; J. C. Trever, IDB, 3:593; R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel  ; M. Zohary, Plants of the Bible .

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [4]

Its three principal uses among the Hebrew were:

(1) To anoint the body so as to mollify the skin, heal injuries, and strengthen muscles ( Psalms 104:15;  Psalms 109:18;  Psalms 141:5;  Isaiah 1:6;  Luke 10:34;  2 Chronicles 28:15;  Mark 6:13;  James 5:14) (See Anoint .)

(2) As we use butter, as food ( Numbers 11:8;  1 Kings 17:12;  1 Chronicles 12:40;  Ezekiel 16:13;  Ezekiel 16:19;  Hosea 2:5).

(3) To burn in lamps ( Exodus 25:6;  Matthew 25:3).

Type of the Holy Spirit's unction ( 2 Corinthians 1:21;  1 John 2:20;  1 John 2:27) and illumination ( Zechariah 4:11-12). The supply of grace comes not from a dead reservoir of oil, but through living "olive trees." Ordinances and ministers are channels, not the grace itself;  Zechariah 4:14, "anointed ones," Hebrew sons of oil;  Isaiah 5:1, "very fruitful hill," Hebrew "horn of the son of oil." The Lord Jesus has the fullness of grace from the double olive tree of the Holy Spirit, so as to be at once our priest and king; He is the tree, ministers the branches, "emptying the golden oil out of themselves" for the supply of the church and to the glory of the Author of grace. In the sanctuary oil served the three purposes:

(1) anointing the priests and holy things,

(2) as food in the bloodless offerings ( Minchah ),

(3) it kept alive the lights in "the pure candlestick," "the lamp of God" ( 1 Samuel 3:3) in the holy place.

Messiah is the Antitype "anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows" ( Hebrews 1:9;  Psalms 45:7); not only above us, the adopted members of God's family, but above the angels, partakers with Him, though infinitely His inferiors, in the holiness and joys of heaven. His anointing with "the oil of exulting joy" took place not at His baptism when He began His ministry for us, but at His triumphant completion of His work, at His ascension ( Ephesians 4:8;  Psalms 68:18), when He obtained the Holy Spirit without measure ( John 3:34), to impart to us in measure. The oil of gladness shall be in the fullest sense His "in the day of His espousals, in the day of the gladness of His heart" ( Song of Solomon 3:11;  Revelation 19:7). Guests were anointed with oil at feasts; so He anoints us,  Psalms 23:5.

The offering of oil on the altar was the offerer's acknowledgment that all his spiritual gifts were from Jehovah. The "beaten oil" for the sanctuary light was made from olives bruised in a mortar. So Messiah's bruising preceded His pouring out the Spirit on us ( Exodus 25:6;  Exodus 27:20). The olives were sometimes "trodden" ( Micah 6:15), or "pressed" in a "press," making the fats overflow ( Joel 2:24;  Joel 3:13;  Haggai 2:16). The oil was stored in cellars, in cruses ( 1 Kings 17:14). Solomon supplied Hiram with "20,000 baths of oil" ( 2 Chronicles 2:10), "20 measures of pure oil" ( 1 Kings 5:11). Oil was exported to Egypt as the special produce of Palestine ( Hosea 12:1). Meat offerings were mingled or anointed with oil ( Leviticus 7:10;  Leviticus 7:12); but the sin offering and the offering of jealousy were without oil ( Leviticus 5:11;  Numbers 5:15). The oil indicated" gladness"; its absence sorrow and humiliation ( Isaiah 61:3;  Joel 2:19;  Psalms 45:7).

Holman Bible Dictionary [5]

 Deuteronomy 11:14 Deuteronomy 8:8

Preparation In biblical times, domestic oil was prepared from olives. Sometimes oil was combined with perfumes and used as a cosmetic ( Esther 2:12 ). The extraction of oil from olives is abundantly confirmed by archaeological findings of stone presses found at several sites in Palestine. See Agriculture . This oil, called “beaten oil,” was lighter and considered the best oil. After the beaten oil was extracted, another grade of oil was produced by heating the pulp and pressing it again.

Domestic oil was stored in small cruses, pots, or jars ( 1 Kings 17:12;  2 Kings 4:2 ); oil used in religious ceremonies was also kept in horns ( 1 Samuel 16:13 ).

Use Oil was used in a variety of ways in biblical times; but, most often, oil was used in the preparation of food, taking the place of animal fat. Oil was used with meal in the preparation of cakes ( Numbers 11:8;  1 Kings 17:12-16 ) and with honey ( Ezekiel 16:13 ), flour ( Leviticus 2:1 ,Leviticus 2:1, 2:4 ), and wine ( Revelation 6:6 ).

Oil was used as fuel for lamps, both in homes ( Matthew 25:3 ) and in the tabernacle ( Exodus 25:6 ).

Oil was extensively used in religious ceremonies. The morning and evening sacrifices required, in addition to the lambs, a tenth of a measure of fine flour and a fourth of a hin of beaten oil. Other cereal offerings also required oil. Oil was used during the offering of purification from leprosy. In the New Testament, oil was used to anoint a body in preparation for burial ( Matthew 26:12;  Mark 14:8 ). Several persons in the Old Testament were anointed with oil: kings ( 1 Samuel 10:1;  1 Samuel 16:13 ), priests ( Leviticus 8:30 ), and possibly prophets ( 1 Kings 19:16;  Isaiah 61:1 ). Some objects were also anointed in dedication to God: the tabernacle and all its furniture ( Exodus 40:9-11 ), the shields of soldiers ( 2 Samuel 1:21;  Isaiah 21:5 ), altars ( Leviticus 8:10-11 ), and pillars ( Genesis 35:14 ).

As medicine, oil or ointment was used in the treatment of wounds ( Isaiah 1:6;  Luke 10:34 ).  James 5:14 may refer either to a symbolic use of oil or to its medicinal use.

Oil was used cosmetically as protection against the scorching sun or the dryness of the desert ( Ruth 3:3;  Ecclesiastes 9:8 ). Since olives were found in abundance in Palestine, olive oil was also used as a commodity of trade ( 1 Kings 5:11;  Ezekiel 27:17;  Hosea 12:1 ). See Cosmetics; Commerce .

Oil was regarded as a symbol of honor ( Judges 9:9 ), while virtue was compared to perfumed oil (Song of  Song of Solomon 1:3;  Ecclesiastes 7:1 ). The abundance of oil was a demonstration of blessing and prosperity ( Job 29:6 );  Joel 2:24 ). However, as a symbol of affluence, oil was also associated with the arrogance of the rich (Hebrew: “valley of oil”; KJV: “fat valley,”  Isaiah 28:1 ,Isaiah 28:1, 28:4 ). Oil was a symbol of joy and gladness ( Psalm 45:7 ), and in time of sorrow, anointing with oil was not practiced ( 2 Samuel 14:2 ). See Anoint .

Claude F. Mariottini

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [6]

In most cases the oil that the Bible mentions is olive oil. Olive trees were grown extensively in Palestine, and Israel exported oil to other countries ( 1 Kings 5:11;  Ezekiel 27:17;  Hosea 12:1). Other fruits and plants were also a source of oil. Workers obtained the oil by crushing the fruit, flowers or leaves. This was sometimes done through grinding the substance, using either a thick stick in a bowl or a stone roller in a hollowed out rock. Sometimes the oil was trodden out in a press, other times squeezed out from a sack by twisting it with sticks ( Exodus 27:20;  Deuteronomy 33:24;  Micah 6:15).

People used oils in the preparation of food ( Exodus 29:2;  Leviticus 2:4;  1 Kings 17:12-14), as fuels for lamps ( Exodus 27:20;  Zechariah 4:2-3;  Zechariah 4:12;  Matthew 25:3-4), as medicines and ointments ( Isaiah 1:6;  Luke 10:34), as cosmetics ( 2 Samuel 14:2;  Esther 2:12;  Psalms 104:15; Song of  Song of Solomon 1:12;  Song of Solomon 5:5) and for rubbing on the body to bring soothing and refreshment ( Ruth 3:3;  2 Samuel 12:20;  Amos 6:6;  Luke 7:37-38;  John 12:3). The use of oil in anointing the sick may have had some medicinal purpose, but its chief significance may have been symbolic, demonstrating faith ( Mark 6:13;  James 5:14).

The custom of anointing a person’s head with oil was an ancient way of showing the person honour ( Mark 14:3). This was particularly so when a host welcomed a special guest ( Psalms 23:5). On festive occasions anointing contributed to the joy and merriment of the occasion. As a result oil, like wine, became a symbol of rejoicing ( Psalms 45:7;  Psalms 104:15;  Isaiah 61:3;  Joel 1:10).

Besides being widely used in Israel’s everyday life, oil was frequently used in its religious rituals. It was part of some sacrifices ( Exodus 29:2;  Exodus 29:40;  Leviticus 8:26;  Numbers 6:15;  Numbers 7:19), was offered as both firstfruits and tithes ( Exodus 22:29;  Deuteronomy 12:17), was used as fuel for the tabernacle lamp ( Exodus 27:20) and was put on people in certain ceremonies ( Leviticus 14:10-18).

Oil was used to anoint priests, kings and at times prophets, to symbolize their setting apart for God’s service and their appointment to office ( Exodus 28:41;  1 Samuel 10:1;  Psalms 89:20-21;  1 Kings 1:39;  1 Kings 19:16;  Zechariah 4:11-14). It was used also to anoint things that were set apart for sacred use, such as the tabernacle and its equipment ( Exodus 40:9-11). The oil used to anoint the priests and the tabernacle was prepared according to a special formula, which was not to be used for any other purpose ( Exodus 30:23-33; cf.  Psalms 133:2). (See also Anointing ; Spices .)

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [7]

It is very generally understood by oil what is meant in the common use of it in life; but the holy oil for the sanctuary is of a very different nature, and merits particular attention. When we consider that the whole office of the Holy Ghost in that feature of his sovereign character, namely, the unction of the Spirit, is described by anointing, and this not only of the persons of the members of Christ's mystical body, but Christ, the glorious Head himself; when we consider Christ, really and truly so called, and literally becoming Christ, from this anointing of God the Holy Ghost, the subject of the holy oil, as typical of these blessed things, riseth in importance to our view, and demands the closest attention of every truly awakened heart. If the reader desires Scriptural information on this interesting subject, he should diligently read the Lord's directions concerning the holy oil,  Exodus 30:22-38.

Concerning the office of God the Holy Ghost in his anointing character, as set forth by the holy oil of the temple, it would far exceed the limits of a work of this kind to go through the whole of the blessed Spirit's agency, in the description of it, under the various manifestations. It will be sufficient to say in general, that to this one glorious office of the Holy Ghost all the anointings we read of in the Old Testament, and the uses to which the the holy oil was appropriated, evidently pointed. It is God the Holy Ghost who is uniformly represented, in his divine influences and gifts, by the figure and emblem of the holy oil and the ointment; for as oil hath numberless operations to soften, to take off rust, to counteract poison, to give cheerfulness to the countenance, and to facilitate actions in the limbs when benumbed and grown hard; so the blessed influences of the Holy Ghost, by his divine anointings, soften our hearts, take off the rust of ignorance in our minds, expel the poison of sin and corruption, and not only raiseth up the drooping spirits, by administering to our hearts the oil of joy and gladness, but causeth us "to run the way of God's commandments when the Lord hath set our heart at liberty."

And what a blessed thought it is, that as the holy oil was poured on the head of Aaron, the great high priest of the Jewish dispensation, which ran down to the skirts of his clothing, so God the Holy Ghost anointed Jesus, our great and almighty High Priest, to whom Aaron was but the shadow, with "the oil of joy and gladness above and for his fellows;" yea, the Spirit was not given by measure unto him, for in him all fulness dwelleth? And Christ and his church being one and the same, he the glorious Head, and they his members, of "his fulness do we all receive, and grace or grace." (See Anoint See Holy Ghost. See these Scriptures,  Psalms 45:7; Psa 133:1-3;  John 1:16; Joh 3:34)

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [8]

 Leviticus 14:16 (c) This is no doubt a type of the Holy Spirit Himself.

  • it was to be applied to the ear so that the hearing would be entirely Godward, and for the Word of GOD.
  • it was applied to the thumb for the work of the priest was to be for GOD in the power of the Spirit.
  • it was to be applied to the toe, for his walk was to be with GOD, and before GOD, walking in the Spirit. (See  Leviticus 14:28).

 Numbers 6:15 (c) In this passage the oil again seems to represent the Holy Spirit actuating the life, filling the soul, and especially the coming of the Spirit upon the Lord Jesus Christ

 Deuteronomy 32:13 (b) It is quite evident in this passage that the oil again represents the Holy Spirit given from and by the Lord Jesus Christ who is the eternal Rock of ages.

 Deuteronomy 33:24 (b) This probably represents a smooth, fragrant and delightful walk in the Spirit of GOD by this great man of GOD. An impression would be left behind at each step. So the Spirit-filled man leaves behind him fragrant impressions of his walk with the Lord in the Spirit.

 2 Kings 4:2 (c) Probably this represents the blessings of GOD which He pours out upon the man or the woman of faith in order that the needs of the life may be met.

 Job 29:6 (b) This is an indication of the great wealth and opportunity enjoyed by Job when he lived in prosperity and peace.

 Psalm 23:5 (b) This is emblematic of the blessed experience of the believer in which the Spirit of GOD anoints him for effective service, as a king and as a priest.

 Psalm 141:5 (a) By this type we understand the sweet, refreshing effect of the kindly counsel of a godly friend.

 Isaiah 61:3 (b) The joy of heart, the freedom of soul, and the radiance of spirit are compared to oil because of its sweetness, smoothness and value.

 Matthew 25:4 (b) This probably indicates the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the believer's life.

 Luke 10:34 (c) It may be that the oil represents the kind, sweet comforting words that were spoken, and the wine represents the courage and the new hope brought to the heart of this wounded man. It may be that both of these refer to the healing power and the strengthening power of the Holy Spirit, and (or) the Word of GOD.

 Hebrews 1:9 (b) This describes the blessed anointing of Christ to be both Lord and Saviour, High Priest and King. The King and the Priest were both inducted into office by this anointing from GOD.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [9]

Oil. Of the numerous substances, animal and vegetable, which were known to the ancients as yielding oil, the Olive Berry is the one of which most frequent mention is made in the Scriptures.

Gathering. - The olive berry was either gathered by hand, or shaken off carefully with a light reed or stick.

Pressing. - In order to make oil, the fruit, was either bruised in a mortar, crushed in a press loaded with wood or stones, ground in a mill, or trodden with the feet. The "beaten" oil of,  Exodus 27:20;  Exodus 29:40;  Leviticus 24:2;  Numbers 28:6, was probably made by bruising in a mortar. It was used -

(1) As Food. Dried wheat, boiled with either butter or oil, but generally the former, is a common dish for all classes in Syria.  Exodus 29:2.

(2) Cosmetic. Oil was used by the Jews for anointing the body, for example, after the bath, and giving to the skin and hair a smooth and comely appearance, for example, before an entertainment.

(3) Funereal. The bodies of the dead were anointed with oil.  2 Samuel 14:2.

(4) Medicinal. Isaiah alludes to the use of oil in medical treatment.  Isaiah 1:6. See Also  Mark 6:13 ;  James 6:14 .

(5) For Light. The oil for "the light" was expressly ordered to be olive oil, beaten.  Matthew 25:3.

(6) Ritual. Oil was poured on, or mixed with, the flour or meal used in offerings.  Leviticus 8:12. Kings, priests and prophets were anointed with oil or ointment.

(7) In Offerings. As so important a necessary of life, the Jew was required to include oil among his firstfruit offerings.  Exodus 22:29;  Exodus 23:16;  Numbers 18:12. Tithes of oil were also required.  Deuteronomy 12:17. See Olive .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [10]

Oil. The Hebrews used olive oil as butter and as animal fat is used with us,  Deuteronomy 32:13;  Job 24:11;  Ezekiel 16:13. In some of the Hebrew thank-offerings oil was taken with the meat-offering.  Leviticus 5:11;  Leviticus 7:12;  Numbers 5:15;  Numbers 6:15;  Exodus 29:40. Oil was used for anointing the head and the body; and in the preparation of ointments.  Exodus 30:24;  2 Samuel 14:2;  Psalms 23:5;  Psalms 92:10;  Psalms 104:15;  Proverbs 21:17;  Luke 7:46. The application of oil for medicinal purposes prevailed in the earliest periods.  Isaiah 1:6;  Hosea 12:1;  Mark 6:13;  James 5:14-15. Olive oil was extensively used for the lamps in the tabernacle.  Exodus 27:20. The use of oil is significant of gladness,  Psalms 141:5;  Isaiah 61:3, and the omission of it betokened sorrow.  2 Samuel 14:2;  Matthew 6:17. Oil was also the symbol of abundance and festivity.  Deuteronomy 28:40;  Ezekiel 27:17. The anointing with oil was symbolical of the unction of the Holy Spirit.  Psalms 45:7;  Zechariah 4:14;  Isaiah 61:1;  1 John 2:20.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [11]

1: Ἔλαιον (Strong'S #1637 — Noun Neuter — elaion — el'-ah-yon )

"olive oil," is mentioned over 200 times in the Bible. Different kinds were known in Palestine. The "pure," RV (AV, "beaten"), mentioned in  Exodus 27:20;  29:40;  Leviticus 24:2;  Numbers 28:5 (now known as virgin oil), extracted by pressure, without heat, is called "golden" in   Zechariah 4:12 . There were also inferior kinds. In the NT the uses mentioned were (a) for lamps, in which the "oil" is a symbol of the Holy Spirit,  Matthew 25:3,4,8; (b) as a medicinal agent, for healing,  Luke 10:34; (c) for anointing at feasts,  Luke 7:46; (d) on festive occasions,  Hebrews 1:9 , where the reference is probably to the consecration of kings; (e) as an accompaniment of miraculous power,  Mark 6:13 , or of the prayer of faith,  James 5:14 . For its general use in commerce, see  Luke 16:6;  Revelation 6:6;  18:13 .

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [12]

Was employed from the earliest periods in the east, not only for the purpose of consecration, but to anoint the head, the beard, and the whole person in daily life,  Genesis 28:18 . See  Ezekiel 16:13 . Fresh and sweet olive oil was greatly preferred to butter and animal fat as a seasoning for food, and to this day in Syria almost every kind of food is cooked with oil. It had a place also among the meat-offerings in the temple, being usually mixed with the meal of the oblation,  Leviticus 5:11   6:21 . For lamps, also, pure olive oil was regarded as the best, and was used in illuminating the tabernacle. These many uses for oil made the culture of the olive-tree an extensive and lucrative business,  1 Chronicles 27:28   Ezekiel 27:17   Hosea 12:1 . Oil was as much an article of storage and of traffic as corn and wine,  2 Chronicles 32:28   Ezra 3:7 .

The best oil was obtained from the fruit while yet green by a slight beating or pressing,  Exodus 27:20   29:40 . The ripe fruit is now, and has been from ancient times, crushed by passing stone rollers over it. The crushed mass is then subjected to pressure in the oil-mill, Hebrew, gath-shemen. The olive-berries are not now trodden with the feet. This, however seems to have been practiced among the Hebrews, at least to some extent when the berries had become soft by keeping,  Micah 6:15 . Gethsemane, that is, oil-press, probably took its name originally from some oil-press in its vicinity. See Olive .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [13]

 Exodus 29:7 2 Samuel 14:2 Psalm 23:5 92:10 104:15 Luke 7:46 Exodus 29:40 Leviticus 7:12 Numbers 6:15 15:4 Leviticus 5:11 Numbers 5:15 Exodus 25:6 27:20 Matthew 25:3 Isaiah 1:6 Luke 10:34 James 5:14 Matthew 26:12 Luke 23:56

It was one of the most valuable products of the country ( Deuteronomy 32:13;  Ezekiel 16:13 ), and formed an article of extensive commerce with Tyre (27:17).

The use of it was a sign of gladness ( Psalm 92:10;  Isaiah 61:3 ), and its omission a token of sorrow ( 2 Samuel 14:2;  Matthew 6:17 ). It was very abundant in Galilee. (See Olive .)

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [14]

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.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [15]

In the description of the goodness of the land of promise one of the advantages mentioned is 'a land of oil olive'; and among the blessings enumerated with which God would endow His obedient people is that their oil should be multiplied.  Deuteronomy 7:13;  Deuteronomy 8:8 . It was an article of value, and the people had their olive yards as well as their vineyards. Oil was employed for various purposes. It was used as food,  2 Chronicles 2:10,15;  2 Chronicles 11:11;  Psalm 55:21; for anointing the kings, etc.,  1 Samuel 10:1;  1 Samuel 16:1,13; in the sacrifices of the meat offering,  Leviticus 2:1-16; as an ingredient in the holy ointment,  Exodus 30:24,25 , see OINTMENT;as a cosmetic,  Psalm 23:5;  Psalm 92:10;  Luke 7:46; to give light in the lamps,  Exodus 35:8,14; as an emollient,  Luke 10:34 . Oil is a type of the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 25:3-10;  Hebrews 1:9 .

King James Dictionary [16]

OIL, n. It seems to be named from its inflammability, for aelan, is to kindle, and to oil hence anaelan, to anneal aeled, fire. L. oleum Gr.

An unctuous substance expressed or drawn from several animal and vegetable substances. The distinctive characters of oil are inflammability, fluidity, and insolubility in water. Oils are fixed or fat, and volatile or essential. They have a smooth feel, and most of them have little taste or smell. Animal oil is found in all animal substances. Vegetable oils are produced by expression, infusion or distillation.

OIL, To smear or rub over with oil to lubricate with oil to anoint with oil.

Webster's Dictionary [17]

(1): ( v. t.) To smear or rub over with oil; to lubricate with oil; to anoint with oil.

(2): ( n.) Any one of a great variety of unctuous combustible substances, not miscible with water; as, olive oil, whale oil, rock oil, etc. They are of animal, vegetable, or mineral origin and of varied composition, and they are variously used for food, for solvents, for anointing, lubrication, illumination, etc. By extension, any substance of an oily consistency; as, oil of vitriol.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [18]

oil ( שמן , shemen  ; ἔλαιον , élaion ):

1. Terms

2. Production and Storage

3. Uses

(1) As a Commodity of Exchange

(2) As a Cosmetic

(3) As a Medicine

(4) As a Food

(5) As an Illuminant

(6) In Religious Rites

(a) Consecration

(b) Offerings

(c) Burials

4. Figurative Uses

Shemen , literally, "fat," corresponds to the common Arabic senin of similar meaning, although now applied to boiled butter fat.

1. Terms:

Another Hebrew word, zayith ( zēth ), "olive," occurs with shemen in several passages (  Exodus 27:20;  Exodus 30:24;  Leviticus 24:2 ). The corresponding Arabic zeit , a contraction of zeitun , which is the name for the olive tree as well as the fruit, is now applied to oils in general, to distinguish them from solid fats. Zeit usually means olive oil, unless some qualifying name indicates another oil. A corresponding use was made of shemen , and the oil referred to so many times in the Bible was olive oil (except  Esther 2:12 ). Compare this with the Greek ἔλαιον , élaion , "oil," a neuter noun from ἐλαία , elaı́a , "olive," the origin of the English word "oil." יצהר , yichār , literally, "glistening," which occurs less frequently, is used possibly because of the light-giving quality of olive oil, or it may have been used to indicate fresh oil, as the clean, newly pressed oil is bright. משׁח , meshaḥ , a Chaldaic word, occurs twice:  Ezra 6:9;  Ezra 7:22 . ἔλαιον , élaion , is the New Testament term.

2. Production and Storage:

Olive oil has been obtained, from the earliest times, by pressing the fruit in such a way as to filter out the oil and other liquids from the residue. The Scriptural references correspond so nearly to the methods practiced in Syria up to the present time, and the presses uncovered by excavators at such sites as Gezer substantiate so well the similarity of these methods, that a description of the oil presses and modes of expression still being employed in Syria will be equally true of those in use in early Israelite times.

The olives to yield the greatest amount of oil are allowed to ripen, although some oil is expressed from the green fruit. As the olive ripens it turns black. The fruit begins to fall from the trees in September, but the main crop is gathered after the first rains in November. The olives which have not fallen naturally or have not been blown off by the storms are beaten from the trees with long poles (compare  Deuteronomy 24:20 ). The fruit is gathered from the ground into baskets and carried on the heads of the women, or on donkeys to the houses or oil presses. Those carried to the houses are preserved for eating. Those carried to the presses are piled in heaps until fermentation begins. This breaks down the oil cells and causes a more abundant flow of oil. The fruit thus softened may be trod out with the feet ( Micah 6:15 ) - which is now seldom practiced - or crushed in a handmill. Such a mill was uncovered at Gezer beside an oil press. Stone mortars with wooden pestles are also used. Any of these methods crushes the fruit, leaving only the stone unbroken, and yields a purer oil ( Exodus 27:20 ). The method now generally practiced of crushing the fruit and kernels with an edgerunner mill probably dates from Roman times. These mills are of crude construction. The stones are cut from native limestone and are turned by horses or mules. Remains of huge stones of this type are found near the old Roman presses in Mt. Lebanon and other districts.

The second step in the preparation of the oil is the expression. In districts where the olives are plentiful and there is no commercial demand for the oil, the householders crush the fruit in a mortar, 1009 the crushed mass with water, and after the solid portions have had time to settle, the pure sweet oil is skimmed from the surface of the water. This method gives a delicious oil, but is wasteful. This is no doubt the beaten oil referred to in connection with religious ceremonials ( Exodus 27:20 ). Usually the crushed fruit is spread in portions on mats of reeds or goats' hair, the corners of which are folded over the mass, and the packets thus formed are piled one upon another between upright supports. These supports were formerly two stone columns or the two sections of a split stone cylinder hollowed out within to receive the mats. Large hollow tree trunks are still similarly used in Syria. A flat stone is next placed on top, and then a heavy log is placed on the pile in such a manner that one end can be fitted into a socket made in a wall or rock in close proximity to the pile. This socket becomes the fulcrum of a large lever of the second class. The lever is worked in the same manner as that used in the wine presses (see Wine Press ). These presses are now being almost wholly superseded by hydraulic presses. The juice which runs from the press, consisting of oil, extractive matter and water, is conducted to vats or run into jars and allowed to stand until the oil separates. The oil is then drawn off from the surface, or the watery fluid and sediment is drawn away through a hole near the bottom of the jar, leaving the oil in the container. (For the construction of the ancient oil presses, see The Excavations of Gezer , by Macalister.) The oil, after standing for some time to allow further sediment to settle, is stored either in huge earthenware jars holding 100 to 200 gallons, or in underground cisterns (compare  1 Chronicles 27:28 ) holding a much larger quantity. Some of these cisterns in Beirut hold several tons of oil each ( 2 Chronicles 11:11;  2 Chronicles 32:28;  Nehemiah 13:5 ,  Nehemiah 13:12;  Proverbs 21:20 ). In the homes the oil is kept in small earthen jars of various shapes, usually having spouts by which the oil can be easily poured ( 1 Kings 17:12;  2 Kings 4:2 ). In  1 Samuel 16:13;  1 Kings 1:39 , horns of oil are mentioned.

3. Uses:

(1) As a Commodity of Exchange.

Olive oil when properly made and stored will keep sweet for years, hence, was a good form of merchandise to hold. Oil is still sometimes given in payment ( 1 Kings 5:11;  Ezekiel 27:17;  Hosea 12:1;  Luke 16:6;  Revelation 18:13 ).

(2) As a Cosmetic.

From earliest times oil was used as a cosmetic, especially for oiling the limbs and head. Oil used in this way was usually scented (see Ointment ). Oil is still used in this manner by the Arabs, principally to keep the skin and scalp soft when traveling in dry desert regions where there is no opportunity to bathe. Sesame oil has replaced olive oil to some extent for this purpose. Homer, Pliny and other early writers mention its use for external application. Pliny claimed it was used to protect the body against the cold. Many Biblical references indicate the use of oil as a cosmetic ( Exodus 25:6;  Deuteronomy 28:40; Rth 3:3;  2 Samuel 12:20;  2 Samuel 14:2;  Esther 2:12;  Psalm 23:5;  Psalm 92:10;  Psalm 104:15;  Psalm 141:5;  Ezekiel 16:9;  Micah 6:15;  Luke 7:46 ).

(3) As a Medicine.

From early Egyptian literature down to late Arabic medical works, oil is mentioned as a valuable remedy. Many queer prescriptions contain olive oil as one of their ingredients. The good Samaritan used oil mingled with wine to dress the wounds of the man who fell among robbers ( Mark 6:13;  Luke 10:34 .)

(4) As a Food.

Olive oil replaces butter to a large extent in the diet of the people of the Mediterranean countries. In Bible lands food is fried in it, it is added to stews, and is poured over boiled vegetables, such as beans, peas and lentils, and over salads, sour milk, cheese and other foods as a dressing. A cake is prepared from ordinary bread dough which is smeared with oil and sprinkled with herbs before baking ( Leviticus 2:4 ). At times of fasting oriental Christians use only vegetable oils, usually olive oil, for cooking. For Biblical references to the use of oil as food see  Numbers 11:8;  Deuteronomy 7:13;  Deuteronomy 14:23;  Deuteronomy 32:13;  1 Kings 17:12 ,  1 Kings 17:14 ,  1 Kings 17:16;  2 Kings 4:2 ,  2 Kings 4:6 ,  2 Kings 4:7;  1 Chronicles 12:40;  2 Chronicles 2:10 ,  2 Chronicles 2:15;  Ezra 3:7;  Proverbs 21:17;  Ezekiel 16:13 ,  Ezekiel 16:18;  Hosea 2:5 ,  Hosea 2:8 ,  Hosea 2:22;  Haggai 2:12;  Revelation 6:6 .

(5) As an Illuminant.

Olive oil until recent years was universally used for lighting purposes (see Lamp ). In Palestine are many homes where a most primitive form of lamp similar to those employed by the Israelites is still in use. The prejudice in favor of the exclusive use of olive oil for lighting holy places is disappearing. Formerly any other illuminant was forbidden (compare  Exodus 25:6;  Exodus 27:20;  Exodus 35:8 ,  Exodus 35:14 ,  Exodus 35:28;  Exodus 39:37;  Matthew 25:3 ,  Matthew 25:4 ,  Matthew 25:8 ).

(6) In Religious Rites.

(A) Consecration:

Consecration of officials or sacred things ( Genesis 28:18;  Genesis 35:14;  Exodus 29:7 ,  Exodus 29:21 ff;   Leviticus 2:1 ff;   Numbers 4:9 ff;   1 Samuel 10:1;  1 Samuel 16:1 ,  1 Samuel 16:13;  2 Samuel 1:21;  1 Kings 1:39;  2 Kings 9:1 ,  2 Kings 9:3 ,  2 Kings 9:1;  Psalm 89:20 ): This was adopted by the early Christians in their ceremonies ( James 5:14 ), and is still used in the consecration of crowned rulers and church dignitaries.

(B) Offerings:

Offerings, votive and otherwise: The custom of making offerings of oil to holy places still survives in oriental religions. One may see burning before the shrines along a Syrian roadside or in the churches, small lamps whose supply of oil is kept renewed by pious adherents. In Israelite times oil was used in the meal offering, in the consecration offerings, offerings of purification from leprosy, etc. ( Exodus 29:2;  Exodus 40:9 ff;   Leviticus 2:2 ff;   Numbers 4:9 ff;   Deuteronomy 18:4;  1 Chronicles 9:29;  2 Chronicles 31:5;  Nehemiah 10:37 ,  Nehemiah 10:39;  Nehemiah 13:5 ,  Nehemiah 13:12;  Ezekiel 16:18 ,  Ezekiel 16:19; 45; 46;  Micah 6:7 ).

(C) Burials:

In connection with the burial of the dead: Egyptian papyri mention this use. In the Old Testament no direct mention is made of the custom. Jesus referred to it in connection with His own burial ( Matthew 26:12;  Mark 14:3-8;  Luke 23:56;  John 12:3-8;  John 19:40 ).

4. Figurative Uses:

Abundant oil was a figure of general prosperity ( Deuteronomy 32:13;  Deuteronomy 33:24;  2 Kings 18:32;  Job 29:6;  Joel 2:19 ,  Joel 2:24 ). Languishing of the oil indicated general famine ( Joel 1:10;  Haggai 1:11 ). Joy is described as the oil of joy ( Isaiah 61:3 ), or the oil of gladness ( Psalm 45:7;  Hebrews 1:9 ). Ezekiel prophesies that the rivers shall run like oil, i.e. become viscous ( Ezekiel 32:14 ). Words of deceit are softer than oil ( Psalm 55:21;  Proverbs 5:3 ). Cursing becomes a habit with the wicked as readily as oil soaks into bones ( Psalm 109:18 ). Excessive use of oil indicates wastefulness ( Proverbs 21:17 ), while the saving of it is a characteristic of the wise ( Proverbs 21:20 ). Oil was carried into Egypt, i.e. a treaty was made with that country ( Hosea 12:1 ).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [19]

Oil was far more extensively used among the ancient Hebrews than in our northern climate. The use of oil is equally general throughout Western Asia at the present time, as it was in primitive ages. Oil was much used instead of butter and animal fat, at meals and in various preparations of food (see Food, and comp. ). In such uses oil, when fresh and sweet, is more agreeable than animal fat. The Orientals think so; and Europeans soon acquire the same preference. Oil was also in many cases taken as a meat-offering; and it was then mixed with the meal of oblation [OFFERING]. The rite of sprinkling with oil, as a libation, does not occur in the law, but seems to be alluded to in .

The application of oil to the person has been described in the article Anointing. Whether for luxury or ceremony, the head and beard were the parts usually anointed, and this use of oil became at length proverbially common among the Israelites .

The employment of oil for burning has been illustrated in the article Lamps. It is only necessary to add, that for this, and indeed for most other purposes, olive-oil was considered the best, and was therefore used in the lamps of the tabernacle.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [20]

Bibliography Information McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Oil'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/o/oil.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.