Ointment. (An oily or unctuous substance, usually compounded of oil with various spices and resins and aromatics, and preserved in small alabaster boxes or cruses, in which the delicious aroma was best preserved. Some of the ointments have been known to retain their fragrance for several hundred years. They were a much-coveted luxury, and often very expensive.—Ed.)
1. Cosmetic.—The Greek and Roman practice of anointing the head and clothes on festive occasions prevailed also among the Egyptians, and appears to have had place among the Jews. Ruth 3:3. 2. Funereal.—Ointments as well as oil were used to anoint dead bodies and the clothes in which they were wrapped. Matt. 26;12. 3. Medicinal.—Ointment formed an important feature in ancient medical treatment. Isa. 1:6; Jer. 8:22; John 9:6; Rev. 3:18, etc. 4. Ritual.—Besides the oil used in many ceremonial observances, a special ointment was appointed to be used in consecration. Ex. 30:23, 33; 29:7; 37:29; 40:9, 15. A person whose business it was to compound ointments in general was called an “apothecary.” Neh. 3:8. The work was sometimes carried on by woman “confestionaries.” 1 Sam. 8:13.