Olive trees and olive oil have played a major role in the traditions of the Jewish and Christian faiths over the millennia, including being used throughout scripture as symbols of peace, faith, and more.
Olive oil also has a major place in scripture as being used for anointing and being related to the idea of “sanctuary.” Let’s take a look at some examples.
- Some of the first offerings Israel made to God in the book of Leviticus were cakes of bread that were “anointed with oil.” This is seen again later on in the book of Numbers, when the leaders of Israel offered “fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering” to God, in addition to their offering of rams, lambs, and goats.
- In the book of Exodus, scripture describes what occurred when priests were separated for their service. One bull and two rams would be taken, as well as unleavened cakes mixed with oil and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, which were used in the ceremony of sanctification.
- The menorah found in the Tabernacle was traditionally lit with oil for the light, according to Exodus. God says to Moses in Leviticus 24, “Command the children of Israel that they bring to you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to make the lamps burn continually.”
- The cleansing of lepers was performed with olive oil. According to Leviticus, a special sacrifice was made during this cleansing, along with a fine flour mixed with olive oil as a grain offering, and one log of oil (a log being a little over a half quart). The priest would pour some oil into his left hand, dip his right finger into the oil, and sprinkle the oil seven times before God. Out of the rest of the oil in his hand he would then put some on the tip of the right ear, right thumb, and right big toe of the leper being cleansed in the ceremony.
- The “log of oil” that was used in leper cleansing ceremonies (as described in Leviticus 14) was the largest amount of oil used for any individual religious rite, symbolizing the return of honor, joy, and favor to the one being healed, and the restoration of his or her life.
These are just a few examples of the importance olive oil plays in scripture, and the role it had in the lives of ancient Jews. For more examples, contact us today at My Olive Tree.