Lighting for houses was provided by the oil lamp. Originally this consisted of an open earthenware saucer containing olive oil. Part of the saucer was “pinched” in manufacture, so as to provide a place for a flaxen wick. Such lamps obviously had problems arising from spillage, and closed containers were therefore developed with two holes-one for wick and one to put oil in.
SOAP – Cleaner made by mixing olive oil and alikali from burning certain salt-producing plants. It was used of washing the body (Jer 2:22) and of washing clothes (Mal 3:2). Perhaps the scant references to soap are due to the fact that people in the Near East use oil for cleansing the body and pound clothes on rocks while wet to cleanse them.
Most uses of the word oil in the Bible have ceremonial rather than food connections. Oils were harvested from animals fats, minerals, and vegetables. Oil also had medicinal purposes (Ps 23:5; Luke 10:34) and was used to fuel lamps Matt 25:1-13). In a bartering economy, oil was a commodity of value. In 2 Kings 4:1-7 Elijah helps a widow and her two sons by telling them to gather as many containers as possible and pour her meager supply of oil into the jars. The oil didn’t run out until every available jar had been filled. Elisha then told her to see the oil and live on the proceeds. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (OIL)→