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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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OINTMENT . With two exceptions, ‘ointment’ in our EV [Note: English Version.] is the rendering, in OT, of the ordinary word for ‘oil,’ and in some passages the ointment may have consisted of oil only. In most of the references, however, perfumed oil is undoubtedly meant. The two are distinguished in Luke 7:46 ‘My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but she hath anointed my feet with ointment ( myron ).’ The extensive use of myron in NT in the sense of ‘ointment’ shows that myrrh was then the favourite perfume. The dead body, as well as the living subject, was anointed with this ointment ( Luke 23:56 ). Another ‘very costly’ unguent is described as ‘ointment of spikenard’ ( Mark 14:3 , John 12:3 ), for which see Spikenard. These much-prized unguents were kept in pots of alabaster, as in Egypt, where they are said to retain their fragrance for ‘several hundred years’ (Wilkinson, Anc. Egyp . i. 426, with illust.).

In the Priests’ Code there is repeated reference to a specially rich unguent, ‘ the holy anointing oil ,’ the composition of which is minutely laid down in Exodus 30:23-25 . The ingredients, in addition to a basis of olive oil, are rendered in RV [Note: Revised Version.] as ‘flowing myrrh,’ sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus, and cassia. The penalty for the unauthorized manufacture and sacrilegious use of this sacred chrism was excommunication.

A. R. S. Kennedy.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Ointment'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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