Always be clothed in white and always annoint your head with oil - Ecclesiastes 9:8

What is the significance of these in the time of King Solomon?


2 Answers 2


The writer simply signifies an aspect of the laws of God which are spirit but which are embodied in signs and rituals.

Oil signified the power of the Spirit of the living God.

The head and a face are contextual, and in some, often similar in signification, to refer to the inner being or simply the heart of man.The aspect of binding laws as frontlets between the eyes in Deutronomy and Exodus signifies that these laws should be second nature to people.

Deutronomy 6:8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.

Clothings signify deeds, a white colour signifies righteousness.
Therefore white deed refer to righteous deeds and for having which one is in God's favour, which is the advice that the writer of Ecclestiaste appears to give in symbols to the reader in saying 'put on white clothing.

Daniel 7:9 "I kept looking Until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow And the hair of His head like pure wool.

Incidentally the head has also an element of symbolism of hair, as seen from the verse above.

Now whereas the wisdom of God is signified as pure white hair, the wisdom of man is signified simply as possessing hair on the head, and on the body, blackhair without any colour.
This was the symbolism in the laws of dealing with a leper in Leviticus 13, as leprosy signified sin.
The nature of ''hair'' was a main issue to watch out for in the offensive spots at each stage in a leprous case.
Concerning which 'hair' is the reason why 'shaving hair' by foreign powers was a judgement from God for refusing to walk in His laws; Isaiah 7:20, this signifying depriving a people of righteous wisdom in His laws, by the infamous 'razors,' for example in the case of Israel, when they turned their back to their own God in abandoning their national feasts and ordinances, which were said to be their 'wisdom in the sight of the peoples' Deuteronomy 4:6

Also it's the reason that ''hairy scalps'' in Psalm 68:21 are due for judgement, signifying these have little to no knowledge of His ways.

So in anointing the head with ''oil,'' relative to the symbolism of hair, then is the wisdom of God put in the heart of the 'anointed' to walk by it, and that in the form of the Spirit of the living God signified by that oil. While anointing the head relative to the symbolism of the face, is that power given to the innerman or heart to observe His laws by the aid of the same Spirit of God signified as the oil.
This is the reality of these rituals and significations but few were known to a few ancients beyond their symbolism, these ancients including the wise one believed to have written the sayings in Ecclestiates.


In old testament times, anointing with oil was a sign of divine approbation, as shown in 1 Samuel 10 where Samuel anointed Saul with oil in conveying that the almighty chose Saul to be King of Israel, and in 1 Samuel 16, where Samuel anointed David in the same manner, and for the same reason. Also consider Psalm 23, where amoung the benefits provided by the Lord is specified, " ... you anoint my head with oil ...". I can't think of any Biblical references to cite on the significance of white robes, but as a practical matter, before the invention of modern laundry machinery, chemistry, and techniques, white cloth did not stay white very long, and therefore white garments may have been reserved for extraordinary occasions.

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