Genesis 28:18 New International Version (NIV)

18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it.

Do you have any scriptural references on where did Jacob get the oil? During those times he is a wanderer, he is exhausted. Why would he bring oil along?

  • 4
    Why couldn't he have just been carrying some around? Oil + water + a little flour + a fire = bread. Seems like a good ration...
    – LCIII
    Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 13:57

3 Answers 3


Genesis 28:18 (NLT)

The next morning Jacob got up very early. He took the stone he had rested his head against, and he set it upright as a memorial pillar. Then he poured olive oil over it.

Olive oil was very important in ancient Israel. It was used for not only as food and for cooking, but also for lighting, sacrificial offerings, ointment, and anointment for priestly or royal office(src).

Olive Oil in Bible Times: Olive oil was considered to be one of the great sources of wealth in the days of King Solomon (cf. I Kings 5:11; II Chronicles 2:10). Solomon gave to Hiram each year in return for services rendered by his men, among other things, twenty thousand baths of oil, one bath being about seven and one-half gallons. The prophets Ezekiel and Hosea make mention of the exporting of oil to other lands (Ezekiel 27:17; Hosea 12:1). Oil has been used for a great variety of purposes in the Orient. It largely took the place of butter in eating, and for cooking purposes it was used in place of animal fat. Ezekiel mentions three important items of diet of which oil is one, and flour and honey are the other two (Ezekiel 16:13). And olive oil was used almost exclusively for light in lamps. The most famous example of this is "the ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom" (Matthew 25:1). Also oil is used today in Bible lands in the manufacture of soap, and it is quite likely that it was so used in Bible days. And oil was often used for anointing the body. Naomi told Ruth, "Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor" (Ruth 3:3). Then oil was many times used in various religious ceremonies. It formed a part of the meal offering (Leviticus 2:1). The prophet was anointed with oil when he took over his duties (I Kings 19:16). The priest was also anointed with oil when he took over his duties (Leviticus 8:12). And the king was anointed either by a prophet or by the priest (I Samuel 16:13; I Kings 1:34). In New Testament times the sick were anointed for the healing of their bodies (Mark 6:13; James 5:14). (source)

Where did Jacob get the Oil?

Matthew Poole's Commentary

As a monument of God’s great kindness and gracious manifestation of himself to him, which might bring this mercy to his remembrance in his return, Genesis 31:13. This was an ancient practice among the patriarchs, Genesis 35:14; but afterwards, upon the growing abuse of it among the heathens, it was forbidden by God, Leviticus 26:1 Deu 7:5 12:3.

The oil he brought with him either for food or medicine, or for the anointing of himself, as need required;

and poured it upon the top of the stone, as a token of his consecration thereof to this use to be a memorial of God’s favour to him. Oil was used in sacrifices, and in the consecration of persons and places, Exodus 30:25,26 40:9.

Though Jacob lived at a very early age of the history of Israel, the use of Olive oil seems to be popular from around that time, as confirmed by Matthew Poole in his commentary. 400 years after Jacob, Moses also used Olive oil for many purposes. Seems like things didn't change much within 400 years.

Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning. (Exodus 27:20, NIV)

  • This thing with Jacob and the rock happened before Israel (the nation) even existed. Your answer refers entirely to things that existed hundreds of years after Jacob. You bring up great things but you have a very false premise.
    – LCIII
    Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 13:54
  • @LCIII What is your assertion that things were different at the time of Jacob? Aren't they the same people? Are you saying that the importance of Olive oil was not yet known in Jacob's time?
    – Mawia
    Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 14:06
  • 1
    @Mawia He's saying that you only have text that say the olive oil was important after Jacob's time. You cannot use what happened after to explain what happens before without citing what actually happened before because it becomes a speculation. I mean, just because I believe in Jesus Christ doesn't mean my family and ancestors waaayyyy before me did too. No, they were probably idolaters. So, it's not solid proof. And I'm definitely not saying that the importance of Jesus Christ was not yet known in my ancestor's time. What you say sounds nice but can't be used to explain Jacob.
    – Zoe
    Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 15:02
  • @Mawia I'm just saying future events can't be identified as the cause of a current one. You can't cite sources that happened after the existence of Jacob to reveal Jacob's intentions.
    – LCIII
    Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 15:14
  • 2
    He can probably use any source that talks about any time to at least back up his claim that it is so useful that it is likely someone from ancient times would have some. That is not as strong as saying "Someone in Solomon's time would have had some because this says so." but saying that "This one person is likely to have had some because so many ancient people throughout time often found it useful" is still somewhat convincing. Not saying that's exactly how he worded it though, so perhaps a small edit would fix it.
    – Loduwijk
    Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 18:07

I think you may be adding unnecessary implications to the text.

Genesis 28:5 ESV Thus Isaac sent Jacob away. And he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother.

Jacob was sent to live at Laban's house for a while. Clearly he was rushed because of Esau, but there's no indication that he was a penniless vagabond. In fact, Jacob's dad was loaded:

Genesis 26:12-14 ESV And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The Lord blessed him, and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him.

Rich dad + Sent off to brother-in-laws house to live = probably well supplied. There is no reason to think that Jacob couldn't simply be carrying the oil because it was a useful ration.

  • Yes, yes. Thanks for the information, although he is from Labans house I'm just a little confused why would he bring oil starting from Beersheba toward Haran. By looking at this link we can see that that is a very long journey. Anyways, @mawia answers that question. Thanks buddy! Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 23:53

Where did Jacob procure this anointing oil? According to his own testimony, when he left the land of Canaan he had nothing with him except the staff in his hand (Genesis 32:10). The Midrash Rabbah explains that he received the anointing oil directly from heaven:

The oil was supplied to him from heaven in abundance, as though from a cruse full to the very top. (Genesis Rabbah 69:8)(FFOZ.org) (for more info see http://torahclub.ffoz.org/portions-library/core/vayetze/anointing-from-heaven.html)

In response to below: What is the "The Midrash Rabbah"? Is that a Jewish traditional writing or something? A link to your source would be great.

My reply: "Midrash is an interpretive act, seeking the answers to religious questions (both practical and theological) by plumbing the meaning of the words of the Torah.

(In the Bible, the root d-r-sh is used to mean inquiring into any matter, including occasionally to seek out God’s word.) Midrash responds to contemporary problems and crafts new stories, making connections between new Jewish realities and "the unchanging biblical text." Please read the following link for more understanding of Misdrash (at least 10 or 11 helpful pages): http://www.myjewishlearning.com/texts/Rabbinics/Midrash/midrash_101.shtml

Jesus and Paul understood Midrash. Many would be surprised at how much Midrash style is in Paul's writings. Christianity knows little of it and is more into Reformed Theology which pretty much doesn't understand Midrash or our Jewish Heritage at all. Reformed Theology has led many astray simply because they are ignorant of our rich Jewish Heritage.

Midrash is a "story". Story is intentionally emphasized. This is not "God inspired" as meaning Holy Scriptures. It must be noted though that many of these ancient sages loved God with all their heart, soul & strength. They were disciples of Moses if you will much like the disciples of Yeshua. The ancient sages asked many questions about the original Jewish writings of Moses and the Prophets, which writings seemed to be designed to leave us hungry to desire to know more of the story. They yearned for more revelation about the text. God inspired the Holy Writings this way so we too would ask questions and yearn for more. The sages asked questions of themselves. Midrash is an avenue into the mind of the ancient sages. Midrash was finally "written" down around the 2nd century A.D., though it was "spoken" for many, many centuries before then.

Let me also say that I'm not saying that I whole-heartedly believe everything Midrash says. Midrash is very beneficial in making you explore more from the text and it may challenge some of your traditionally held beliefs. Be open to the Holy Spirit. Study more and more. Grow.

In response to Question #2 - Does this represent a Christian perspective? FFOZ.org goes to a Messianic Jewish website...

Answer: As it may come as a shock to many Christians (I am a Christian 30+ years) that the Christian Church (most but not all) have water-down and Christianized the Teachings of Jesus and Paul and removed much of it from its original Jewish setting. Various translations and time (1800 + years) have caused the Church to wander from its original Jewish Roots. The Church is guilty of identity theft - they have robbed Jesus (Yeshua) and Paul (Shaul) of their Jewishness. The Church (Gentile Believers within the church particularly) must study their Jewish roots back to the first apostles and their Jewishness and then interpret their writings in light of the 1st century and rabbinical texts of the time. This is what the Gentile believers did who poured into the church the first 50 - 100 years after the resurrection. This understanding was abandoned especially after Constantine led the Church to abandon our connection to our Jewish roots of Yeshua and also our understanding of Abraham our jewish father of the faith. What a great shame!

One last word, Messianic Jewishness is not perfect. Messianic Jews are Christians. Christianity is far from perfect also. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the truth.

I hope this answers your questions. If you have more, please write back. I would love to hear from you. I'm new to this website so I'm guessing I have to check back to see for updates. I don't know if I would get emails from this site if you would have more questions. I strongly encourage you all to study your Jewish roots and use caution toward those who discourage you of doing so. I'm a teacher and love to study the Scriptures. The last 6 years of my Christian walk have been tremendously enlightened since I began study the Jewishness of my faith in God. "Wow" pretty much sums it all up.

God's blessings to you all.


  • What is the "The Midrash Rabbah"? Is that a Jewish traditional writing or something? A link to your source would be great.
    – user3961
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 6:36
  • 2
    Does this represent a Christian perspective? FFOZ.org goes to a Messianic Jewish website...
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 7:36
  • See my new info to the new questions asked about "Where did Jacob get the oil."
    – Fritz
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 1:45

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