The powerful rulers of Israel like David and Solomon were anointed king by the great prophet of their time. Anointing oil was precious and reserved for only a few. It was kept in small anointing oil bottles for use.

2021 04175 NT Salbflaschen quer

Vials of anointing oil from the Holy Land.

The biblical gospels tell of a surprisingly different anointing of Jesus of Nazareth. This time it is a woman who anoints. Uninvited, she comes to a dinner at the pilgrims’ lodging in the village of Bethany and anoints Jesus’ head and feet. His companions wonder about the woman. They think: This is a waste! For the expensive money this anointing oil cost, many hungry people could be fed for this. But Jesus rejects them. He lets the woman have her way: “She has anointed me for my burial,” Jesus says, referring to his coming destiny.

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