ChristianAnswers.Net WebBible Encyclopedia


The practice of anointing with perfumed oil was common among the Hebrews.

Five types of biblical annointing:

  1. CONSECRATION—The act of anointing signified consecration to a holy or sacred use; hence the anointing of the high priest (Exodus 29:29; Lev. 4:3) and of the sacred vessels (Exodus 30:26).

    The high priest and the king are thus called “the anointed” (Lev. 4:3, 5, 16; 6:20; Ps. 132:10). Anointing a king was equivalent to crowning him (1 Sam. 16:13; 2 Sam. 2:4, etc.). Prophets were also anointed (1 Kings 19:16; 1 Chr. 16:22; Ps. 105:15).

    The expression, “anoint the shield” (Isa. 21:5), refers to the custom of rubbing oil on the leather of the shield to make it supple and suitable for use in war.

    ALSo SEE:

  2. HOSPITALITY—Anointing was also an act of hospitality (Luke 7:38, 46). It was the custom of the Jews to anoint themselves with oil, as a means of refreshing or invigorating their bodies (Deut. 28:40; Ruth 3:3; 2 Sam. 14:2; Ps. 104:15, etc.). Some Arabs still continue this custom today.

  3. MEDICAL—Oil was used also for medicinal purposes. It was applied to the sick, and also to wounds (Ps. 109:18; Isa. 1:6; Mark 6:13; James 5:14).

  4. BURIAL—The bodies of the dead were sometimes anointed (Mark 14:8; Luke 23:56).


  5. MESSIAH—The promised Deliverer is twice called the “Anointed” or Messiah (Ps. 2:2; Dan. 9:25-26), because he was anointed with the Holy Ghost (Isa. 61:1), figuratively the “oil of gladness” (Ps. 45:7; Hebrews 1:9). Jesus of Nazareth is this anointed One (John 1:41; Acts 9:22; 17:2-3; 18:5, 28), the Messiah of the Old Testament.