Anointing With Oil

A Biblical practice meaning someone is sanctified or set apart. There’s a great deal of information about what the practice signifies and symbolizes, but very little about any original reason for the practice. Things that are symbolic are usually rooted it some practical purpose, but I could find very little on this.

From an explainer at Bible Study Tools:

[…] oil often signified prosperity, blessings, and stability, opposed to other periods throughout Israel’s history where the harvest was not bountiful and famine had swept the land.

Oil had sanctifying (cleansing) properties. Whenever someone poured oil on someone or something, they had set apart that object as a blessed object of the Lord.

Why I Looked It Up

I had read about this practice in various Bible verses. I was familiar with the basic process, but not what it signified. It seemed to be discussed as much in symbolic terms as it was in practical terms – meaning, people talked about it and what it meant more often than they actually did it.


Added on July 3, 2022

I heard a sermon that said anointing with oil was representative of “the Holy Spirit” being poured out onto someone. No citation or documentation for this.

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