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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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to pour oil upon, Genesis 28:18 ; Genesis 31:13 . The setting up of a stone and anointing it by Jacob, as here recorded, in grateful memory of his celestial vision, probably became the occasion of idolatry, in succeeding ages, and gave rise to the erection of temples composed of shapeless masses of unhewn stone, of which so many astonishing remains are scattered up and down the Asiatic and the European world.

Under the law, persons and things set apart for sacred purposes were anointed with the holy oil; which appears to have been a typical representation of the communication of the Holy Ghost to Christ and to his church. See Exodus 28:29 . Hence the Holy Spirit is called an unction or anointing, 1 John 2:20 ; 1 John 2:27 ; and our Lord is called the "Messiah," or "Anointed One," to denote his being called to the offices of mediator, prophet, priest, and king, to all of which he was consecrated by the anointing of the Holy Ghost,

Matthew 3:16-17 .

When we hear of the anointing of the Jewish kings, we are to understand by it the same as their inauguration; inasmuch as anointing was the principal ceremony on such an occasion, 2 Samuel 2:4 ; 2 Samuel 5:3 . As far as we are informed, however, unction, as a sign of investiture with the royal authority, was bestowed only upon Saul and David, and subsequently upon Solomon and Joash, who ascended the throne under such circumstances, that there was danger of their right to the succession being forcibly disputed, 1 Samuel 10:24 ; 2 Samuel 2:4 ; 2 Samuel 5:1-3 ; 1 Chronicles 11:1-2 ; 2 Kings 11:12-20 ; 2 Chronicles 23:1-21 . The ceremony of regal anointing needed not to be repeated in every instance of succession to the throne, because the unction which the first one who held the sceptre in any particular line of princes had received was supposed to suffice for the succeeding incumbents in the same descent.

In the kingdom of Israel, those who were inducted into the royal office appear to have been inaugurated with some additional ceremonies, 2 Kings 9:13 . The private anointings, which we learn to have been performed by the prophets, 2 Kings 9:3 , comp. 1 Samuel 10:1 ; 1 Samuel 16:1-13 , were only prophetic symbols or intimations that the persons who were thus anointed should eventually receive the kingdom.

The holy anointing oil which was made by Moses, Exodus 30:22-23 , for the maintaining and consecrating of the king, the high priest, and all the sacred vessels made use of in the house of God, was one of those things, as Dr. Prideaux observes, which was wanting in the second temple. The oil made and consecrated for this use was commanded to be kept by the children of Israel, throughout their generations, and therefore it was laid up in the most holy place of the tabernacle and the first temple.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Anoint'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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