In the Bible, olive oil. Oil of varying qualities was produced by different stages of production. The best oil—beaten oil (1Kgs 4:11)—was produced by placing olives that had been crushed (e.g., by treading on them, Mic 6:1) in baskets and letting the oil drip through. As a component in bread making, oil was a basic part of the diet (1Kgs 17:12-16). It was also a basic component in cereal offerings (Lev 2; Exod 29:40; Num 28:5; Lev 5:11; Num 5:15) and used for cosmetic purposes (Esth 2:12; Song 1:3, Song 4:10). Mourners did not use oil on their bodies during their period of sadness (2Sam 14:2; Isa 61:3; Dan 10:2-3), because it was an expression of gladness, refreshment, and pleasure (Ps 23:5; Ps 104:15). It could be used as an emollient to soften skin of wounds (Isa 1:6) or to treat leather shields (Isa 21:5). Oil was used in the religious anointing of objects and persons (Gen 28:18; Gen 31:13; Gen 35:14; Exod 29; Exod 30:22-33; Lev 14:10; Lev 14:12; Lev 15-18:12; 1Sam 10:1; 1Sam 16:13; 1Kgs 1:39; 1Kgs 19:16). A recipe for the composition of the priestly anointing oil is given in (Exod 30:22-25). In the NT oil is used for anointing in conjunction with healing rites (Mark 6:13; Jas 5:14). Finally, oil was employed as fuel for lamps (Exod 27:20; Lev 24:2). As a symbol, oil may indicate fertility of land (Deut 33:24; Job 29:6) and agricultural abundance (Deut 7:13; Deut 11:14).

1Kgs 4:11

11Ben-abinadab, in all Naphath-dor (he had Taphath, Solomon's daughter, as his wife);

Mic 6:1

God Challenges Israel
1Hear what the Lord says:
Rise, plead your case before the mountains,
and let the hills hear your voice.

1Kgs 17:12-16

12But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of st ... View more

Lev 2

Grain Offerings
1When anyone presents a grain offering to the Lord, the offering shall be of choice flour; the worshiper shall pour oil on it, and put frankince ... View more

Exod 29:40

40and with the first lamb one-tenth of a measure of choice flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offer ... View more

Num 28:5

5also one-tenth of an ephah of choice flour for a grain offering, mixed with one-fourth of a hin of beaten oil.

Lev 5:11

11But if you cannot afford two turtledoves or two pigeons, you shall bring as your offering for the sin that you have committed one-tenth of an ephah of choice ... View more

Num 5:15

15then the man shall bring his wife to the priest. And he shall bring the offering required for her, one-tenth of an ephah of barley flour. He shall pour no oil ... View more

Esth 2:12

12The turn came for each girl to go in to King Ahasuerus, after being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of th ... View more

Song 1:3

3your anointing oils are fragrant,
your name is perfume poured out;
therefore the maidens love you.

Song 4:10

10How sweet is your love, my sister, my bride!
how much better is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!

2Sam 14:2

2Joab sent to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman. He said to her, “Pretend to be a mourner; put on mourning garments, do not anoint yourself with oil, bu ... View more

Isa 61:3

3to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a fai ... View more

Dan 10:2-3

2At that time I, Daniel, had been mourning for three weeks.3I had eaten no rich food, no meat or wine had entered my mouth, and I had not anointed myself at all ... View more

Ps 23:5

5You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Ps 104:15

15and wine to gladden the human heart,
oil to make the face shine,
and bread to strengthen the human heart.

Isa 1:6

6From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
and bleeding wounds;
they have not been drained, or bound up,
or ... View more

Isa 21:5

5They prepare the table,
they spread the rugs,
they eat, they drink.
Rise up, commanders,
oil the shield!

Gen 28:18

18So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it.

Gen 31:13

13I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and return to the land of your birth.’ ”

Gen 35:14

14Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he had spoken with him, a pillar of stone; and he poured out a drink offering on it, and poured oil on it.

Exod 29

The Ordination of the Priests
1Now this is what you shall do to them to consecrate them, so that they may serve me as priests. Take one young bull and two rams ... View more

Exod 30:22-33

The Anointing Oil and Incense
22The Lord spoke to Moses:23Take the finest spices: of liquid myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet-smelling cinnamon half as m ... View more

Lev 14:10

10On the eighth day he shall take two male lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb in its first year without blemish, and a grain offering of three-tenths of an ... View more

Lev 14:12

12The priest shall take one of the lambs, and offer it as a guilt offering, along with the log of oil, and raise them as an elevation offering before the Lord.

Lev 15-18:12

Concerning Bodily Discharges
1The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying:2Speak to the people of Israel and say to them:
When any man has a discharge from his me ... View more

1Sam 10:1

1Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him; he said, “The Lord has anointed you ruler over his people Israel. You shall reign over the ... View more

1Sam 16:13

13Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. ... View more

1Kgs 1:39

39There the priest Zadok took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!”

1Kgs 19:16

16Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place.

Exod 30:22-25

The Anointing Oil and Incense
22The Lord spoke to Moses:23Take the finest spices: of liquid myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet-smelling cinnamon half as m ... View more

Mark 6:13

13They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Jas 5:14

14Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.

Exod 27:20

The Oil for the Lamp
20You shall further command the Israelites to bring you pure oil of beaten olives for the light, so that a lamp may be set up to burn regul ... View more

Lev 24:2

2Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of beaten olives for the lamp, that a light may be kept burning regularly.

Deut 33:24

24And of Asher he said:
Most blessed of sons be Asher;
may he be the favorite of his brothers,
and may he dip his foot in oil.

Job 29:6

6when my steps were washed with milk,
and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!

Deut 7:13

13he will love you, bless you, and multiply you; he will bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the i ... View more

Deut 11:14

14then he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, and you will gather in your grain, your wine, and your oil;

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.