"And let him dip his foot in oil" (Deut. xxxiii. 24), the Rabbis say,
refers to the portion of Asher, which produces oil like a well. Once on
a time, they relate, the Laodiceans sent an agent to Jerusalem with
instructions to purchase a hundred myriads' worth of oil. He proceeded
first to Tyre, and thence to Gush-halab, where he met with the oil
merchant earthing up his olive trees, and asked him whether he could
supply a hundred myriads' worth of oil. "Stop till I have finished my
work," was the reply. The other, when he saw the business-like way in
which he set to work, could not help incredulously exclaiming, "What!
hast thou really a hundred myriads' worth of oil to sell? Surely the
Jews have meant to make game of me." However he went to the house with
the oil merchant, where a female slave brought hot water for him to wash
his hands and feet, and a golden bowl of oil to dip them in afterward,
thus fulfilling Deut. xxxiii. 24 to the very letter. After they had
eaten together, the merchant measured out to him the hundred myriads'
worth of oil, and then asked whether he would purchase more from him.
"Yes," said the agent, "but I have no more money here with me." "Never
mind," said the merchant; "buy it and I will go with thee to thy home
for the money." Then he measured out eighteen myriads' worth more. It is
said that he hired every horse, mule, camel, and ass he could find in
all Israel to carry the oil, and that on nearing his city the people
turned out to meet him and compliment him for the service he had done
them. "Don't praise me," said the agent, "but this, my companion, to
whom I owe eighteen myriads." This, says the narrator, illustrates what
is said (Prov. xiii. 7), "There is that maketh himself (appear to be)
rich, yet hath nothing; there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath
THE TALMUD, _Menachoth_, fol. 85, col. 2.