Biblical Oils

When I first got interested in essential oils, I suddenly noticed the number of biblical references there are to aromatic oils.

There are so many it's hard not to see that God has purposely provided these natural substances for our benefit.

All told, there are over 500 direct and indirect references to essential oils in the Bible.

There are fourteen biblical oils that are considered primary. These are: myrrh, frankincense, cedarwood, cinnamon, cassia, calamus, galbanum, onycha, spikenard, hyssop, sandalwood, myrtle, cypress, and rose of sharon. 

Why So Valued?

Each of these oils contain certain chemical compounds that equip them to support overall health -- not only on the physical level, but on an emotional, mental, and spiritual level as well.

Certainly, it's for this reason that we see biblical oils were so highly valued. People have always treasured those substances that support their well-being... and biblical times were no different. 

Consider a few examples of the value clearly placed on these oils...

  • Traders would regularly travel long distances in order to bring treasured aromatic oils to their homeland (Gen.37:25).

  • The magi who visited the Christ child brought Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh -- and some even believe that the gold mentioned was actually referring to a valuable “liquid gold” known as balsam oil (Mt.2:1)

  • The oil used by Mary to anoint the feet of Jesus was equivalent in value to one year's wages (Jn.12:3).

Therapeutic Capabilities

There are numerous instances that show the essential oils of the Bible were believed to have therapeutic value... or were in some way connected to cleansing and restoration.

  • When King David was dealing with the guilt of his sin, he not only confessed his wrong, but sought to purify himself with hyssop (Ps.51:7).

  • When Jesus sent out His disciples to minister, they anointed many sick people with oil (Mk.6:13).

  • When church members were sick, they were to call for the elders in order to be prayed over and anointed with oil (Jas.5:14).

Some have argued that it was not an essential oil, but everyday olive oil that was used in the practice of anointing described in the Bible. While it's true that olive oil was likely used, it does not take into account that it commonly served as a carrier oil to make the more costly essential oils go further. 

The presence of biblical oils, and their many uses and benefits, does much to explain the value placed on them... and why so many are interested in having them to help maintain their own health today. 

As it says in the Proverbs, “There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise...” (21:20).

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