Bible Society of South Africa
Xanthe Hancox

The role of trees in the Bible – Day 18

Myrrh, aloe and cassia — the scent of the King

Bible text(s)

6The kingdom that God has given you

will last for ever and ever.

You rule over your people with justice;

7you love what is right and hate what is evil.

That is why God, your God, has chosen you

and has poured out more happiness on you

than on any other king.

8The perfume of myrrh and aloes is on your clothes;

musicians entertain you in palaces decorated with ivory.

Psalms 45:6-8GNBOpen in Bible reader

Psalm 45 comes with a superscription, a note added to the psalm to give more information, much like titles or headers on sheet music today. The superscription tells us that this is a love song, a wedding song for the king. We are not told which king it is, but tradition has it that it is Solomon. But as we read through this psalm, we soon realise that it goes far beyond Solomon to the ultimate king – King Jesus.

Myrrh was an especially important spice in biblical times. This highly-prized oil was extracted from the myrrh tree by cutting the bark. The gum resin exudes as a pale-yellow liquid which dries into reddish-brown lumps the size of a walnut from which the oil is distilled. In Esther’s era, any queen-to-be had to undergo a year of preparations prior to coronation (Esther 2:12) which included a six-month treatment with oil of myrrh.

The Magi brought Jesus myrrh (Matthew 2:11) when he was born. On the cross, Jesus was offered wine mixed with myrrh (Mark 15:23-24). His burial garments were strips of linen anointed with a mixture of myrrh and aloes (John 19:39-40).

When we consider these things, we start to see a beautiful picture of our King Jesus as a bridegroom coming for his bride. His garments smell of myrrh, aloes and cassia — reminders of his human birth, death and burial that were essential accomplishments before the great victory could be won over Satan. And we, the Church, are the bride of this glorious King! His friendship means eternal safety, eternal victory. His throne will last for ever and ever. As the objects of his love, we never have to fear. Who would refuse such a bridegroom?

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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