The practice of anointing with perfumed oil was common among the
Hebrews. (1.) The act of anointing was significant of
consecration to a holy or sacred use; hence the anointing of the
high priest (Ex. 29:29; Lev. 4:3) and of the sacred vessels (Ex.
30:26). The high priest and the king are thus called "the
anointed" (Lev. 4:3, 5, 16; 6:20; Ps. 132:10). Anointing a king
was equivalent to crowning him (1 Sam. 16:13; 2 Sam. 2:4, etc.).
Prophets were also anointed (1 Kings 19:16; 1 Chr. 16:22; Ps.
105:15). The expression, "anoint the shield" (Isa. 21:5), refers
to the custom of rubbing oil on the leather of the shield so as
to make it supple and fit for use in war.

(2.) Anointing was also an act of hospitality (Luke 7:38, 46).
It was the custom of the Jews in like manner to anoint
themselves with oil, as a means of refreshing or invigorating
their bodies (Deut. 28:40; Ruth 3:3; 2 Sam. 14:2; Ps. 104:15,
etc.). This custom is continued among the Arabians to the
present day.

(3.) Oil was used also for medicinal purposes. It was applied
to the sick, and also to wounds (Ps. 109:18; Isa. 1:6; Mark
6:13; James 5:14).

(4.) The bodies of the dead were sometimes anointed (Mark
14:8; Luke 23:56).

(5.) The promised Deliverer is twice called the "Anointed" or
Messiah (Ps. 2:2; Dan. 9:25, 26), because he was anointed with
the Holy Ghost (Isa. 61:1), figuratively styled the "oil of
gladness" (Ps. 45:7; Heb. 1:9). Jesus of Nazareth is this
anointed One (John 1:41; Acts 9:22; 17:2, 3; 18:5, 28), the
Messiah of the Old Testament.