Bible Oils

Oil of Scripture

  • The word “oil” is mentioned 191 times in the Bible.
  • “Incense” is mentioned 68 times.
  • There are over 600 references to essential oils or the plants from which they are extracted in the Bible.

Examples of oil being referenced:

  • Proverbs 21:20 – “There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise.”(NASB)
  • Psalm 23 – “You have anointed my head with oil.” (NASB)
  • Psalm 133:2 – Aaron being anointed with “precious oil on the head, running down the beard, upon the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes.”

The Oil of Joy or Gladness

  • Isaiah 61:1-3 – “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me…to comfort those who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. (NIV)
  • Alternate verses:
    • Psalm 45:7
    • Proverbs 27:9
    • Hebrews 1:9


Exodus II

Exodus 30:22-31 reads – “Moreover, the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Take also for yourself the finest of spices: of flowing myrrh five hundred shekels [12 1/2 pounds], and of fragrant cinnamon half as much, two hundred and fifty [6 ¼ lb], and of fragrant cane two hundred and fifty,  and of cassia five hundred, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and of olive oil a hin [about 1 gallon].  You shall makeof these a holy anointing oil, a perfume mixture, the work of a perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil. With it you shall anoint the tent of meeting and the ark of the testimony, and the table and all its utensils, and the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the laver and its stand. You shall also consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them shall be holy. You shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister as priests to Me.You shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations.”



John 19:38-39 – Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.” (NIV)

Alternate verses:

  • Numbers 24:6
  • Psalm 45:8
  • Proverbs 7:17
  • Song of Songs 4:13-14


Cassia {CASH-uh or CASS–ee-uh}

  • In the cinnamon family, and both are in the holy anointing oil of Exodus 30.



1 Kings 5:6 -“So give orders that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. My men will work with yours, and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set.”

Alternate Verses:

  • Psalm 29:5
  • Leviticus 14:4



Genesis 6:14 – “So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.” (NIV)

Isaiah 55:13 – “Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to the Lord, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.” (NASB)

See Vanessa Stegner’s story: Cypress aiding in emotional release:

  • Alternate verses:
    • Isaiah 44:14
    • Isaiah 41:19



Galbanum is another ingredient in the holy anointing oil we read about in Exodus.



Numbers 16:46-50 – “Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Take your censer and put incense in it, along with burning coals from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them. Wrath has come out from the Lord; the plague has started.’ So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the midst of the assembly. The plague had already started among the people, but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped. But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah.Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance to the tent of meeting, for the plague had stopped.” (NIV)

Isaiah 60:6 – Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord. (NIV)

Matthew 2:11 – On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (NIV)



Exodus 12:22 “Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning.” (NIV)

Psalm 51:7 – “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” (NIV)

John 19:29 – “A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.” (NIV)



Genesis 37:25 “As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.” (NIV)

Genesis 43:11 – Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds.” (NIV)

Esther 2:12 “Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics.” (NIV)

Mark 15:23 “Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.” (NIV)



Esther 2:7 – “Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.” (NIV)

  • Esther’s name in this passage in Hadassah, which is Hebrew for Myrtle. During the year of preparation to become a bride for the king, myrtle, her namesake, was probably among the perfumes and odors applied.


Onycha {ON-i-ka)

Onycha is mentioned in the holy anointing oil.

Alternate verse:

  • Sirach 24:13, 15


Rose of Sharon/Cistus

Song of Songs 2:1“I’m a rose of the Sharon plain, a lily of the valleys.” (NIV)



Mark 14:3 –“ While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.” (NIV)

John 12:3 “Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” (NIV)

Alternate verse:

  • Song of Songs 4:13,14


Biblical history is rich with the practice of using essential oils for the purpose of anointing as well as daily life. The oils are a generous gift from God in His creation, and He is so good to give us a means to both draw near to Him by incorporating the sense of smell in our prayer and to advance in wellness by using these oils today.

If you’d like to learn more about the significance of these oils for Biblical figures, ways to use them to enrich your prayer life, incorporate the Twelve Oils of Ancient Scripture into your Advent preparations, or host a class in your home or church, please contact me via email:

Several essential oils mentioned above come in a set called the Twelve Oils of Ancient Scripture. All but Onycha are also sold individually. For information on ordering Young Living essential oils, contact Mandy or see:

To set up a Young Living account and order essential oils, including The Twelve Oils of Ancient Scripture, contact Mandy or go to:


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