Recipe for Anointing Oil, probable reasons behind ingredients
By: William J Jackson
HaShem ordered a recipe for anointing oil. This was to sanctify His ceremonial offerings, the tabernacle and almost everything within it. Interestingly, YHVH relied on the hearts of the Israelites to willingly donate these precious ingredients (Exodus 35:5-8). The Israelites overly denoted to the point where Moses said stop (Exodus 36:6). So what and how was this concoction used? Let’s first dig into Exodus to determine what required anointing:
a. Priest (29:7, 30:30, 40:15)
b. Holy garments (29:29, 40:13)
c. Alter (29:21, 36)
d. Tent of the tabernacle (30:36)
e. Ark of the covenant (30:36)
f. Utensils and basin (40:10-11)
g. Everything within the tabernacle (40:9)
WARNING: YHVH warns that the anointing oil should only be made and used for His purpose (Exodus 30:32-33)
It is interesting when we review the components of HaShem’s recipe. Each component has a rich history of medical applications. Also, every item has an unique aromatic scent that compliments the other. Maybe with the high volume of animal scarifies, having a disinfecting brew, that could cover up the odor, would have been beneficial. Lets talk about the ingredients:
A. Pure Myrrh – 500 shekels (about 12 ½ – 15 pounds)
Cassia is just like cinnamon but sweeter. It supplements or replaces most cinnamon because it’s cheaper (3). Cassia has antibacterial and antifungal properties (4) like myrrh. However, when applied to the skin, cassia can sometimes cause skin irritation (5). This might explain Exodus 30:32 where its says “It shall not be poured upon human flesh…”
C. Fragrant Cinnamon – 250 shekels (about 6 ¼ – 7 ½ pounds)
True Cinnamon is harder to get than Cassia (6). Maybe this is why it was used with Cassia. This simple household spice has antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic properties (7). This, along with the others, would have been a exceptional way to keep germs down and communicable diseases away.
D. Calamus – 250 shekels (about 6 ¼ – 7 ½ pounds)
E. Olive Oil – 1 Hin (almost a gallon)
Olive oils does contain high levels antioxidants (10) but it’s primary role in this recipe was probably a binding agent that helped the other ingredients mix. It was used throughout history as a base for perfumes and oils (11).
The Aromatherapy for these Essential Oils (12) :
a. Myrrh: Scent black licorice, promotes centering, meditative.
b. Cassia: Scent sweet cinnamon, promotes comfort, energizing
c. Cinnamon: Scent (obvious), promotes refreshing, vitalizing
d. Calamus: Scent a spicy odor: promotes calmness, harmony (13)
If a gallon of oil weighs 7-8 pounds (14) then its easy to imagine this recipe would make about 7 gallons of anointing oil weighing about 42 pounds. This would be about the size of an office waste paper basket and weighs almost as much as a couple of cinder blocks. This large batch was probably necessary for all the anointing that went on during the ceremony.
Modern science would not even know what the germ was until 1861 CE. Yet, approximately 3,300 years earlier Hashem would tell the Israelites how to make this batch of disinfecting anointing oil. An elixir that would have been revolutionary in any American Civil War hospital. I am sure, however, the Israelites were unaware of the micro bacterial battle that was being fought and won every time they used this anointed oil. In truth they were probably just happy to have something that covered the pungent odor of days of sacrificing. In spite of the oils health and cosmetic benefits it’s true power came from the blessing of YHVH.