Biblical Oils


When I first became interested in essential oils, the number of biblical oils that there are really got my attention.

You may not notice it at first, but once you start looking for them, you can easily see that there are a lot of essential oils in the Bible. It almost makes you wonder whether God purposely provided these biblical oils for our benefit? 

Actually, the Bible itself indicates this to be the case. . .

“And by the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food. . . their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing” (Ezek.47:12). 

three wise men bearing gifts

In our day, being so accustomed to pharmaceuticals as we are, it can be hard to accept that there might be an alternative to prescription drugs to heal our bodies. But the Bible reveals that an alternative has existed for thousands of years.

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. 


Highly Valued

Each of these healing oils contain certain chemical compounds that equip them to promote 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 improve their health. 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 valued healing 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).

Healing Oils

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

  • 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 and healed them (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).
anointing of Jesus

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 connection with healing those in need, does much to explain the value placed on them, and why anyone would want to have them for their own use in their home – even 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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