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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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The practice of anointing with perfumed oils or ointments appears to have been very common among the Hebrews, as it was among the ancient Egyptians. The practice, as to its essential meaning, still remains in the East; but perfumed waters are now far more commonly employed than oils or ointments.

In the Scriptures three kinds of anointing are distinguishable:— 1. For consecration and inauguration; 2. For guests and strangers; 3. For health and cleanliness. Of these in order:

Consecration and Inauguration

1. The act of anointing appears to have been viewed as emblematical of a particular sanctification; of a designation to the service of God; or to a holy and sacred use. Hence the anointing of the high priests (Exodus 29:29; Leviticus 4:3), and even of the sacred vessels of the tabernacle (Exodus 30:26, etc.); and hence also, probably, the anointing of the king, who, as 'the Lord's anointed,' and, under the Hebrew constitution, the viceroy of Jehovah, was undoubtedly invested with a sacred character.

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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Anointing'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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