oils in the Bible

Various oils were available, to one degree or another, in ancient times: olive oil, fish oil, tallow and various other animal fat derived oils, sesame oil, nut oils, radish seed oil, colocynth seed oil, cottonseed oil, balsam oil, rose oil, spikenard oil, and petroleum.

The first mention of oil in the Bible is in the book of Genesis.

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely Yahweh is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How fearsome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” So Jacob rose early in the morning and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. —Genesis 28:16-18 LSB

At Mount Sinai, God told Moses to build a tabernacle and use oils in it for 3 purposes.

Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,

“Speak with the sons of Israel so that they take a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart is willing you shall take My contribution. And this is the contribution which you shall take from them: gold, silver, and bronze, blue, purple, and scarlet material, fine linen, goat hair, rams’ skins dyed red, porpoise skins, acacia wood, oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones, and setting stones for the ephod and for the breastpiece. And let them make a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. —Exodus 25:1-8 excerpt LSB

Olive oil was very abundant in Galilee, and it was one of the most valuable products of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:13; Ezek. 16:13), and formed an article of extensive commerce with Tyre (27:17).

Olive oil was frequently used among the Hebrews for many purposes.

The use of oil was a sign of gladness (Psalm 92:10; Isaiah 61:3), and its omission is a token of sorrow (2 Samuel 14:2; Matthew 6:17).

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Article Version: July 2, 2024