Oil. Of the numerous substances, animal and vegetable, which were known to the ancients as yielding oil, the olive berry is the one of which most frequent mention is made in the Scriptures.
1. Gathering.—The olive berry was either gathered by hand or shaken off carefully with a light reed or stick. 2. Pressing.—In order to make oil, the fruit was either bruised in a mortar, crushed in a press loaded with wood or stones, ground in a mill, or trodden with the feet. The “beaten” oil of Ex. 27:20; 29:40; Lev. 24:2; Num. 28:5 was probably made by bruising in a mortar. It was used—(1) As food. Dried wheat, boiled with either butter or oil, but generally the former, is a common dish for all classes in Syria. Ex. 29:2. (2) Cosmetic. Oil was used by the Jews for anointing the body, e.g., after the bath, and giving to the skin and hair a smooth and comely appearance, e.g., before an entertainment. (3) Funereal. The bodies of the dead were anointed with oil. 2 Sam. 14:2. (4) Medicinal. Isaiah alludes to the use of oil in medical treatment. Isa. 1:6; see also Mark 6:13; James 5:14. (5) For light. The oil for “the light” was expressly ordered to be olive oil, beaten. Matt. 25:3. (6) Ritual. Oil was poured on or mixed with the flour or meal used in offerings. Lev. 8:12. Kings, priests, and prophets were anointed with oil or ointment. (7) In offerings. As so important a necessary of life, the Jew was required to include oil among his first-fruit offerings. Ex. 22:29; 23:16; Num. 18:12. Tithes of oil were also required. Deut. 12:17. [Olive.]
Olive Tree and Oil Press.