What is…

Hebrew: מִשְׁחָה —transliteration: mishchah —meaning: consecrated portion

also known as: anoint

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

5 types of biblical annointing

  1. Use in consecration to God

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

    The high priest and the king are thus called “the anointed” (Leviticus 4:3, 5, 16; 6:20; Psalm 132:10).

    Anointing a king was equivalent to crowning him (1 Samuel 16:13; 2 Samuel 2:4, etc.).

    Prophets were also anointed (1 Kings 19:16; 1 Chronicles 16:22; Psalm 105:15).

    The expression, “anoint the shield” (Isaiah 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.

    More information

  2. Use in hospitality

    Anointing was also an act of hospitality (Luke 7:38, 46). It was the custom of the Jews to anoint themselves or others with oil, as a means of refreshing or invigorating their bodies (Deuteronomy 28:40; Ruth 3:3; 2 Samuel 14:2; Psalm 104:15, etc.).

    Some Arabs still continue this custom today.

  3. Medicinal use

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

    Olive oil is useful for soothing and softening, and provides a protective barrier. It is used in massage, dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. It is a skin moisturizer and soothes skin irritations, which were common in hard-working hot dry climates in a time that lacked the modern conveniences and protections of our day. It was used in bathing newborn babies, and soothing their mothers. It is also used in the preparation of soaps, ointments, and liniments. Ancients that had no soaps would massage olive oil into their skin and scrape it off—taking along with it the grime and dead skin cells.

    Anointing with oil was said to prevent dehydration in hot dry climates caused by excessive perspiration.

  4. Burial use

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

    More information

  5. The anointed Messiah

    The promised Deliverer is twice called the “Anointed” or Messiah (Psalm 2:2; Dan. 9:25-26), because he was anointed with the Holy Ghost (Isaiah 61:1).

    Figuratively, He was anointed with the “oil of gladness” (Psalm 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.

    More information

Article Version: July 2, 2021