: The practice of anointing with perfumed oil was common among the Hebrews.
- The act of anointing was significant of consecration to a holy or sacred use; hence the anointing of the high priest (Exodus 29:29; Leviticus 4:3) and of the sacred vessels (Exodus 30:26). The high priest and the king are thus called "the anointed" (Leviticus 4:3,5,16; 6:20; Psalm 132:10). Anointing a king was equivalent to crowning him (1 Samuel 16:13; 2 Samuel 2:4, etc.). Prophets were also anointed (1 Kings 19:16; 1 Chronicles 16:22; Psalm 105:15). The expression, "anoint the shield" (Isaiah 21:5), refers to the custom of rubbing oil on the leather of the shield so as to make it supple and fit for use in war.
- Anointing was also an act of hospitality (Luke 7:38,46). It was the custom of the Jews in like manner to anoint themselves with oil, as a means of refreshing or invigorating their bodies (Deuteronomy 28:40; Ruth 3:3; 2 Samuel 14:2; Psalm 104:15, etc.). This custom is continued among the Arabians to the present day.
- Oil was used also for medicinal purposes. It was applied to the sick, and also to wounds (Psalm 109:18; Isaiah 1:6; Mark 6:13; James 5:14).
- The bodies of the dead were sometimes anointed (Mark 14:8; Luke 23:56).
- The promised Deliverer is twice called the "Anointed" or Messiah (Psalm 2:2; Daniel 9:25,26), because he was anointed with the Holy Ghost (Isaiah 61:1), figuratively styled the "oil of gladness" (Psalm 45:7; Hebrews 1:9). Jesus of Nazareth is this anointed One (John 1:41; Acts 9:22; 17:2,3; 18:5,28), the Messiah of the Old Testament.