Normally olive oil, which was in plentiful supply in Israel and in general household use. Its ritual uses included the anointing of priests and kings and ceremonial cleansing; in the NT oil was used to anoint the sick. As a sign of God’s provision for his people, oil was associated with prosperity and gladness, and was a mark of spiritual blessing.
The production of oil
Job 24:11 Olives were pressed either with a pestle and mortar or in a stone press; Mt 26:36 “Gethsemane” means “oil press”, named after the stone presses associated with the Mount of Olives.
Oil associated with celebrationPs 45:7The joy with which God anoints his servants is likened to the oil which anoints the bridegroom in preparation for his wedding. See alsoPs 104:15; Ecc 9:8; Isa 61:3; Mt 6:17 Oil draws attention away from the fact that a person is fasting; Heb 1:9
Oil as a sign of honourPs 23:5Oil was used to anoint the heads of honoured guests at a meal. See alsoPs 141:5; Lk 7:46
Dictionary of Bible Themes Scripture index copyright Martin H. Manser, 2009. As Editor, Martin Manser wishes to thank all those who compiled or edited the NIV Thematic Study Bible, on which this work is based.
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