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The Israelites anointed people and things for three specific reasons. Ordinary anointings included personal grooming or a sign of hospitality. Medical anointings symbolically transferred the disease-causing sin onto God or practically salved a wound. Official anointings bestowed divine favor or appointed to a special place or function, as when a prophet, priest, or king was set apart and consecrated. None of these reasons was trivial, none to be taken lightly; each signified a conferring of authority over self and others. The prescribed penalty of excommunication for using holy oil for common anointing revealed the action’s potency.



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