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Where Does The Bible Speak About Essential Oils?

Sharon Stay Essential Oils and The Bible

Bible Verses About Essential Oils

There are many verses in the Bible that speak about essential oils. It is a wonderful Bible study, if you have the time,  to look up the verses in their context and see what God is saying about essential oils.

  • In Genesis 37:25 at the very beginning of the Bible, around the time of Joseph, we read the very first reference to essential oils in the Bible. Already, the people were trading in these precious oils. Genesis 37:25 states  “Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm [galbanum], and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.” For thousands of years, essential oils have been highly valued in trade.

  • Cinnamon is mentioned in Exodus, Proverbs, Song of Songs and Revelation. In Exodus 30:22-33, we read that about 3 kg of cinnamon essential oil is required in the recipe for the sacred anointing oil used in the Israelite worship. This anointing oil was to be used on items in the tabernacle as well as on Aaron and his sons as priests. 

  • In John 19:38-39, the Bible speaks of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea using aloes and myrrh as part of the burial ritual used on Jesus' body. About 34 kg of aloes and myrrh (worth about $84 000 in today's prices based on 50% of each) were used, demonstrating their great respect for Jesus, God's son.

  • Cedarwood was used to build Solomon's Temple and palace (1 Kings 6:14-18). It's perfume would have filled the worship sanctuary.  
  • In the book of Esther, we read that Esther completed 6 months of beauty treatments using myrrh in preparation for meeting the King of the Persian Empire (Esther 2:12).

  • Psalm 51 describes David's anguished prayer to Yahweh, after committing adultery, petitioning Him to cleanse him with hyssop.

  • The word Frankincense comes from the french word for ‘real incense’. It is also known as olibanum. In ancient times it was worth more than gold. As part of the holy incense it was used in the tabernacle and temple as part of worship. In Matt 2:11 we read of Wise Men wisely giving Jesus the extravagant gift of frankincense at his birth.
  • In Psalm 133, an abundance of essential oils are likened to the preciousness of brothers living together peacefully in unity and harmony. We read of how Aaron was anointed by Moses his brother, to the extent that the essential oils ran down his beard and onto his clothes.
  • In Isaiah and Luke we read of oils being used to heal wounds, welts and open sores (Isaiah 1:6; Luke 10:34).
  • In Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah and Hebrews we read of essential oils being used to bring emotional healing. Myrrh, aloes and cassia essential oils are referenced as the oils of joy in Psalms. (Ps 45: 7-8; Prov 27:9, Isaiah 61:1-3)
  • In Proverbs, Song of Songs and Exodus essential oils are described as being used to make ointments and perfumes (Ex 30:35-37).
  • Song of Songs refers often to the use of essential oils in marital intimacy. The lover and beloved are fragranced with myrrh and frankincense essential oils. (SS 1:13; 3:6, 4:6,14)
  • Jesus, God's son was given frankincense and myrrh essential oils as gifts soon after his birth, along with gold by the Wise Men;  an indication of how precious these oils were considered to be in Bible times (Matt 2:11). 
  • In the New Testament, we read that Jesus was anointed with spikenard and myrrh on 3 separate occasions before his death (Matt 26:6-7, Luke 7:36-38; Mark 14:3 and John 12:1-3).
  • Jesus' disciples used oils when praying and healing the sick. Mark 6:12,13 records the following, "So they went out and preached that the people should repent. And they were casting out many demons, and were anointing many sick with oil, and healing them."
  • James encourages christians to pray and anoint the sick with oil. James 5:14,15 says "Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven."
  • In Psalm 23, essential oils are likened to overabundant blessings. The writer David, can not help but praise his God, Yahweh.
  • In Proverbs essential oils are likened to a good friend's wise counsel. Both bring joy to the heart. (Proverbs 27:9)

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