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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Anointing in Holy Scripture is either: I., with oil; or II., with the Holy Ghost. I. With oil. 1. Anointing the body or head with oil was a common practice with the Jews, as with other oriental nations. Deuteronomy 28:40; Ruth 3:3; Micah 6:15. Abstinence from it was a sign of mourning. 2 Samuel 14:2; Daniel 10:3; Matthew 6:17. Anointing the head with oil or ointment seems also to have been a mark of respect sometimes paid by a host to his guests. Luke 7:46 and Psalms 23:5. The bodies of the dead were often anointed, not with a view to preserve them from corruption, but to impart a fragrancy to the linen in which the corpse was wrapped. Mark 14:8; Mark 16:1; Luke 23:56; John 19:39-40. 2. Anointing with oil was a rite of inauguration into each of the three typical offices of the Jewish commonwealth, (a) Prophets were occasionally anointed to their office, 1 Kings 19:16, and are called messiahs, or anointed. 1 Chronicles 16:22; Psalms 105:15. (b) Priests, at the first institution of the Levitical priesthood, were all anointed to their offices, the sons of Aaron as well as Aaron himself, Exodus 40:15; Numbers 3:3; but afterwards, anointing seems not to have been repeated at the consecration of ordinary priests, but to have been especially reserved for the high priest, Exodus 29:29; Leviticus 16:32; so that "the priest that is anointed," Leviticus 4:3, is generally thought to mean the high priest, (c) Kings. Anointing was the principal and divinely appointed ceremony in the inauguration of the Jewish kings. 1 Samuel 9:16; 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Kings 1:34; 1 Kings 1:39. The rite was sometimes performed more than once. David was thrice anointed to be king. After the separation into two kingdoms, the kings both of Judah and of Israel seem still to have been anointed. 2 Kings 9:3; 2 Kings 11:12. (d) Inanimate objects also were anointed with oil in token of their being set apart for religious service. Thus Jacob anointed a pillar at Bethel, Genesis 31:13; and at the introduction of the Mosaic economy, the tabernacle and all its furniture were consecrated by anointing. Exodus 30:26 to Exodus 28:3. Ecclesiastical. Anointing with oil in the name of the Lord is prescribed by James to be used together with prayer, by the elders of the church, for the recovery of the sick. James 5:14. Analogous to this is the anointing with oil practised by the twelve. Mark 6:13. II. With the Holy Ghost. 1. In the Old Testament a Deliverer is promised under the title of Messiah, or Anointed, Psalms 2:2; Daniel 9:24-26; and the nature of his anointing is described to be spiritual, with the Holy Ghost. Isaiah 61:1; see Luke 4:18. In the New Testament Jesus of Nazareth is shown to be the Messiah or Christ, or anointed of the Old Testament, John 1:41; Acts 9:22; Acts 17:2-3; Acts 18:4-5; Acts 18:28; and the historical fact of his being anointed with the Holy Ghost is asserted and recorded. Acts 10:38; Acts 4:27; John 1:32-33. 2. Spiritual anointing with the Holy Ghost is conferred also upon Christians by God. 2 Corinthians 1:21, and they are described as having an unction from the Holy One, by which they know all things. 1 John 2:20; 1 John 2:27.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Anointing'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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