Spices and Medicinal Plants of the Holy Bible

Spices and Medicinal Plants of the Holy Bible

Plants are undoubtedly the main source for curing and allievating diseases in ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. Both civilizations belong to the world of old testament. The Bible reflects an intimate knowledge of herbs and spices, which perfumed the Jerusalem Temple (2 Chronicles 2:4), sweetened the home (Song of Songs 7:13) and seasoned meals during the Exodus (Numbers 11:5–6). Repeated references to herbs and spices indicate that the people of the Bible knew how these plants tasted, smelled and looked, where they grew and what medicinal value they provided. The Bible mentions about hundred names of plants. The bulk of them of Erez Israel, the others being trees of Lebanon and tropical plants that yield an aromatic substance or were used in incense. These names refer to specific plants, but some are generic names, like Thorns and Thistles. The biblical plants are chiefly those which were economically important, which are mentioned to a large extent. Specific vegetables are mentioned in one verse only of the Bible, and these are the vegetables of Egypt for which the children of Israel longed during their wandering in the wilderness. (Num. 11:5) The Mishnah. The Talmuds, and the Midrashim add hundreds of names of plants to those mentioned in the Bible.The Bible never gives a specific word for spices, the aromatic vegetable products derived from the bark, root or fruit of perennial plants. In the Bible spices are used primarily for religious purposes—especially as incense. “Spiced wine,” literally wine of a mixture (of spices), in Song of Songs 8:2 is the only Biblical mention of spices used as a flavoring. In ancient times, herbs—the edible leaves, blossoms and soft stems of annuals and perennials—were used primarily as medicine. According to the apocryphal Book of Jubilees,1 angels revealed to Noah all the illnesses of the world and their remedies so that he could “heal by means of the herbs of the earth” (Jubilees 10:12). Noah diligently recorded the cures in a book. Below, I, like Noah, record the herbs and spices of the Near East throughout history.

Publisher RUT Printer and Publisher
Release Date
ISBN 9384663336
Pages 190 pages
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