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Messiahs and oil?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Brickjectivity, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Turned to Stone. Now I stretch daily.
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    This thread was started as a fork from: Messiah

    If you know something about the messiah, then what is the oil for? The messiah is anointed with oil but why? The term 'Messiah' means "Covered with oil." Why? Why not pomegranate juice? Why covered? Why not just lightly spritzed? Why not scrubbed with hand towels? If you don't know why oil is used to describe this very, very, very important person, then maybe you should ask yourself if you really know what a messiah is. It is always possible for things to hide in plain site. Maybe this is one of those situations? Why oil?
     
  2. Nakosis

    Nakosis Time Efficient Lollygagger
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    Anointing served and serves three distinct purposes: it is regarded as a means of health and comfort, as a token of honor, and as a symbol of consecration. It seems probable that its sanative purposes were enjoyed before it became an object of ceremonial religion, but the custom appears to predate written history and the archaeological record, and its genesis is impossible to determine with certainty.
    Anointing - Wikipedia


    I'd assume from this, anyone claiming to "know" the answer is lying/mistaken.

    I've heard a Hindu blessing is done with flower petals and water. There's an Ayurvedic healing process of slowly pouring warm scented oil on your forehead.

    Ayurvedic Oil Massage Treatment Focuses on the Third Eye
     
    #2 Nakosis, Jan 10, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
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  3. Earthling

    Earthling David Henson

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    From the Biblical perspective the significance is that the person is anointed by Jehovah God. One could anoint ones self for health reasons, to protect from the sun etc, but there was a symbolic anointing of respected ones as well. Luke 10:34 / Psalms 23:5 / Luke 7:38 Luke 7:46. Anointing was a common practice in the Middle East.
     
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  4. Earthling

    Earthling David Henson

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    With Aaronic priests and Kings the anointing with oil signified the confirmation of their official appointment. Judges 9:8, Judges 9:15; 1 Samuel 9:16; 2 Samuel 19:10 but oil wasn't always used. (1 Kings 19:15-16)
     
  5. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    I think the more important aspect is that God assigns a special purpose. For example the Persian King Cyrus, arguably a Zoroastrian, who decreed the rebuilding of the second temple in Isaiah 44:28 and Isaiah 45:1 is anointed by God with no oil.

    Jesus Himself appears to be anointed with perfume from a woman of ill repute (Matthew 26:6-10).
     
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  6. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Turned to Stone. Now I stretch daily.
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    I respect the information thus far:
    • Possible health benefits
    • Could be symbolic for consecration
    • No one knows for sure
    • Cyrus was anointed with oil, so it must be traditional
    • Signifies official appointment

    These are good to know. They don't make me feel like I know what the oil is chosen for, but thank you. So if the messiah is an anointed person we can conjecture that they are officially appointed, that they are following in a tradition, that they have something in common with Cyrus and that there are possible health benefits.
     
  7. Yohanan ben Yaaqov

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    First off, the Masculine Noun – מָשִׁיחַ mashiyaḥ means: someone or something smeared with oil – not “covered in oil.” It originates from the root Verb – מָהַח mashaḥ - to stroke, smear; esp. to anoint; to install in office by anointing. It is closely related to the Masculine Noun – מְשַׁח m’shaḥ - 1) oil, fat; 2) resin. And is also closely related to the Feminine Noun – מִשְׁחַה mish’ḥah – 1) anointing, official installation; the oil used for installation.

    The specific oil is the – שֶׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת־קֹדֶשׁ Shemen Mish’ḥat-Qodesh or “Oil of Holy Anointment” as described in Sh’mot/Exodus 30:22-33. This is the oil that was used to anoint the Mish’kan/Tabernacle and all items found within it; the Ark of Testimony; Aaron and his four sons; eventually all Kings of the originally united Kingdom of Israel, and subsequently the Kings of the Kingdom of Judah; as well as the Temple and all items found within it.


    As for Aaron and his sons, the five of them were anointed once for all generations, meaning that all of their sons, grandsons, etc. are automatically anointed Kohanim or Priests through inheritance.

    In the case of Kings of the Davidic Throne however, each King must be anointed by a confirmed Prophet, or by the High Priest in the presence of a confirmed Prophet. The only instance in which a new King does not have to be anointed with the Oil of Holy Anointment is if he is the previous King’s firstborn son and he assumes the throne within 21 days of his father’s death.

    The Prophet, or far less often the High Priest, smears the Holy Oil on the King’s forehead in the shape of a crown. He does not waste this very special compound by covering him in it.

    Every Kohén who ever lived is a mashiyaḥ, every King who ever occupied the throne of Jerusalem is a mashiyaḥ. Out of the 39 times variants of the word mashiyaḥ are used throughout the Hebrew Scriptures approximately 25 of them are used metaphorically as a synonym for King: “My anointed” = My King; “Your anointed” = Your King; “His anointed” = His King; etc.

    Just for the record, the Noun – הַמָּשִׁיחַ hamashiyaḥ - “the Messiah” never occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures.


     
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  8. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    The word "messiah" comes from the root m-sh-ḥ which means something along the lines of "smear". I don't know why oil specifically was used in anointing, but I would conjecture that it was considered a sign of wealth, and wealth may have been associated with power. The word oil in Hebrew sh-m-n is the same root as the word for "fat", which is also associated with wealth (eg. Gen. 27:28).

    The oil that was used for anointing is the anointing oil described in Ex. 30:22-27. It was used to anoint kings High Priests, War Priests and Temple utensils and objects. In the case of kings, it's only necessary to anoint the first king in the family. Thereafter, it's only necessary to anoint a king in cases where there's multiple candidates.

    In addition to all that, the phrase "anointing" is also used as a non-literal way to refer to someone or something that has been elevated in position. In Num. 18:8 for instance, the heave-offerings of the nation are to be given to the priests "for anointing". Rather than be expected to put oil on all their food, the meaning here is that the this portion is consecrated. Similarly, G-d calls Cyrus, "His anointed". While it's unlikely that G-d personally anointed Cyrus with oil, the non-literal meaning of "elevate in position", is reasonable.
     
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