Manners & Customs
: SpicesSpices in ancient Bible times
Preparing the Body for Burial
PREPARATION OF THE BODY FOR BURIAL
In Syria the custom has prevailed of wrapping the dead. Usually the face is covered with a napkin, and then the hands and feet are bound round with linen cloth. The body is then put upon a bier, with a pole at each corner, and thus carried on the shoulders of men to the tomb for burial. The description of Lazarus, when JESUS called him forth from the tomb, indicates that the same custom was practiced in those days:
"And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go"(John 11:44). Also we know that the body of JESUS was thus wrapped by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus: "Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury" (John 19:40). Embalming spices were used when they could be afforded.
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Spices in Easton's Bible Dictionary
aromatic substances, of which several are named in Ex. 30.
were used in the sacred anointing oil (Ex. 25:6; 35:8;
9:29), and in embalming the dead (2 Chr. 16:14; Luke
24:1; John 19:39, 40). Spices were stored by Hezekiah
treasure-house (2 Kings 20:13; Isa. 39:2).
Spices in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
basam. Not pungent, as pepper, ginger, etc., but aromatic
woods, seeds, or gums (Song of Solomon 6:2; Song of Solomon
5:1). Balsam or balm of Gilead, Amyris opobalsamum; a
tropical plant that grew in the plains of Jericho and the
hot valleys of southern Israel. KJV translated not basam,
but tseri or tsori, "balm". (See BALM.) The balm of Gilead
tree is not more than 15 ft. high, with straggling branches
and scanty foil age. The balsam is procured from the bark by
incision, and from the green and ripe berries.
The nekoth, "spicery" Genesis 37:25, is the storax
or gum of the styrax tree (Speaker's Commentary). Arabic
nekaat, the gum exuding from the tragacanth (astragalus);
when exposed to the air it hardens into lumps or worm-like
spires (Smith's Bible Dictionary). In 2 Kings 20:13 margin,
"house of spicery" expresses the original design of the
house; but it was used ultimutely for storing Hezekiah's
other "precious things." Sammim, a general term for
aromatics used in preparing the holy anointing oil. Certain
Levites especially "oversaw the frankincense and spices" (1
Chronicles 9:29-30). Myrrh and aloes were among the spices
wrapped with Jesus' body (John 19:39-40; compare also 2
Chronicles 16:4; Mark 16:1; Luke 23:56; Luke 24:1).
Spices in Naves Topical Bible
In the formula for the sacred oil
Ex 25:6; 35:8
-Used in the temple
-Exported from Gilead
-Sent as a present by Jacob to Joseph
-Presented by the Queen of Sheba to Solomon
-Sold in the marketplaces of Tyre
-Used in the embalming of Asa
-Prepared for embalming the corpse of Jesus
Mr 16:1; Lu 23:56; 24:1; Joh 19:39,40
Spices in Smiths Bible Dictionary
1. Heb. basam, besem or bosem. In So 5:1 "I have gathered my
myrrh with my spice," the word points apparently to some
definite substance. In the other places, with the exception
perhaps of So 1:13; 6:2 the words refer more generally to
sweet aromatic odors, the principal of which was that of the
balsam or balm of Gilead; the tree which yields this
substance is now generally admitted to be the Balsam-
odendron opobalsamum. The balm of Gilead tree grows in some
parts of Arabia and Africa, and is seldom more than fifteen
feet high, with straggling branches and scanty foliage. The
balsam is chiefly obtained from incisions in the bark, but
is procured also from the green and ripe berries.
2. Necoth. Ge 37:25; 43:11 The most probable
explanation is that which refers the word to the Arabic
naku'at i.e. "the gum obtained from the tragacanth"
3. Sammim, a general term to denote those aromatic
substances which were used in the preparation of the
anointing oil, the incense offerings, etc. The spices
mentioned as being used by Nicodemus for the preparation of
our Lord's body, Joh 19:39,40 are "myrrh and aloes," by
which latter word must be understood not the aloes of
medicine, but the highly-scented wood of the Aquilaria
Spices in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
spis, spi'-sis, -sez:
(1) (besem (Ex 30:23), bosem, plural besamim, all from root
"to attract by desire," especially by smell): The list of
spices in Ex 30:23 includes myrrh, cinnamon, "sweet calamus
cassia." These, mixed with olive oil, made the "holy
anointing oil." Officials of the temple had charge of the
spices (1 Ch 9:29). Among the treasures of the temple shown
by Hezekiah to the messengers of Babylon were the spices (2
Ki 20:13). They were used in the obsequies of kings (2 Ch
16:14) and in preparation of a bride for a royal marriage
(Est 2:12, "sweet-odors" = balsam). Spices are frequently
mentioned in Song (4:10,14,16; 5:1, margin and the King
James Version "balsam"; Song 5:13; 6:2, "bed of spices,"
margin "balsam"; 8:14). These passages in Song may refer in
particular to balsam, the product of the balsam plant,
Balsamodendron opobalsamum, a plant growing in Arabia.
According to Josephus it was cultivated at Jericho, the
plant having been brought to Israel by the Queen of Sheba
(Ant., VIII, vi, 6; see also XIV, iv, 1; XV, iv, 2; BJ, I,
(2) cammim (Ex 30:34, "sweet spices")): "Take unto thee
sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; sweet spices
with pure frankincense." It is a general term for fragrant
substances finely powdered. Compare Arabic shamm, "a smell"
or "sense of smell"; generally translated "sweet incense"
(Ex 25:6; 30:7; 31:11; 35:8,15,28; 39:38; 40:27 (the King
James Version only); Lev 4:7; 16:12; Nu 4:16; 2 Ch 2:4 (the
King James Version only); 2 Ch 13:11). In Ex 37:29; 40:27; 2
Ch 2:4, we have qsToreth cammim, "incense of sweet spices."
(3) (nekho'th; thumiamata (Gen 37:25, "spicery," margin "gum
tragacanth or storax"); thumiama "incense" (Gen 43:11,
"spicery"; some Greek versions and the Vulgate (Jerome's
Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) have "storax")): Storax is the
dried gum of the beautiful Styrax officinalis (see POPLAR),
which was used as incense--different article from that now
passing under that name. Tragacanth is the resinous gum of
several species of milk vetch (Natural Order, Leguminosae),
especially of the Astragalus gummifer. Septuagint "incense"
is probably the best translation.
(4) (reqach, "spiced" wine (Song 8:2)).
(5) (aroma, "spices" (Mk 16:1, the King James Version "sweet
spices"; Lk 23:56; 24:1; Jn 19:40; in 19:39 defined as a
mixture of aloes and myrrh)).
See PERFUME; BURIAL.
(6) (amomon (Rev 18:13), margin "amomum"; the King James
Version "odours"): The Greek means "blameless," and it was
apparently applied in classical times to any sweet and fine
odor. In modern botany the name Amomum is given to a genus
in the Natural Order. Zingiberaceae. The well-known cardamon
seeds (Amomum cardamomum) and the A. grana Paradisi which
yields the well-known "grains of Paradise," used as a
stimulant, both belong to this genus. What was the substance
indicated in Rev 18:13 is quite uncertain.
Spices Scripture - 1 Kings 10:25
And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and
vessels of gold, and garments, and armour, and spices, horses,
and mules, a rate year by year.
Spices Scripture - 2 Chronicles 16:14
And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made
for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed
which was filled with sweet odours and divers kinds [of
spices] prepared by the apothecaries' art: and they made a
very great burning for him.
Spices Scripture - 2 Chronicles 9:1
And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she
came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a
very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in
abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to
Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.
Spices Scripture - 2 Chronicles 9:24
And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and
vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses, and
mules, a rate year by year.
Spices Scripture - 2 Chronicles 9:9
And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold,
and of spices great abundance, and precious stones: neither
was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave king
Spices Scripture - 2 Kings 20:13
And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the
house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and
the spices, and the precious ointment, and [all] the house of
his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was
nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah
shewed them not.
Spices Scripture - Exodus 30:23
Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five
hundred [shekels], and of sweet cinnamon half so much, [even]
two hundred and fifty [shekels], and of sweet calamus two
hundred and fifty [shekels],
Spices Scripture - Isaiah 39:2
And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of
his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices,
and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour,
and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in
his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them
Spices Scripture - Mark 16:1
And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the
[mother] of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that
they might come and anoint him.
Spices Scripture - Song of Solomon 4:16
Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my
garden, [that] the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved
come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.