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Sweet Cane

The English word calamus, which was derived from the Latin word for cane, is used to translate the Hebrew word (pronounced) kan-eh. It's mentioned in the Scriptures as one of the ingredients of the holy anointing oil used by the Levite priests (see Levites). Also translated as "sweet cane," "sweet flag," or "fragrant cane," it refers to a plant originally found in India which was dried and used in precious perfumes. It was traded in markets widely through the Middle East, as The Lord even mentions Himself (see the verses below).


Calamus "Sweet calamus" was one of the specified ingredients of the holy anointing oil:

"Moreover The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 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, And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil."

"And thou shalt anoint The Tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and The Ark of the testimony, And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense, And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot. And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy." (Exodus 30:22-29 KJV)

Solomon included calamus among his listing of choice fruit and spices:

"Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with Spikenard, Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices: A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon." (Song of Solomon 4:14-15 KJV)

The Lord mentioned "sweet cane," that is, calamus, as being sold in the markets. Unfortunately, the occasion for the mention involved Israel's forsaking of Him:

"But thou hast not called upon Me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of Me, O Israel. Thou hast not brought Me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured Me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense. Thou hast bought Me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled Me with the fat of thy sacrifices:" (Isaiah 43:22-24 KJV)

Because they had forsaken Him (even though some apparently did not regard themselves as having done so, they simply replaced Truth with their own "truth" - see also "I Did It My Way...), The Lord no longer found their offerings, including "sweet cane" acceptable:

"Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto My Words, nor to My Law, but rejected it. To what purpose cometh there to Me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto Me." (Jeremiah 6:19-20 KJV)

Calamus was traded in Tyre, which was one of the major ports of the Middle East. Tyre is also used as an analogy for someone, and something, else - see the Fact Finder question below.

"The word of The Lord came again unto me, saying, Now, thou son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyrus; And say unto Tyrus, O thou that art situate at the entry of the sea, which art a merchant of the people for many isles ... bright iron, cassia, and calamus, were in thy market" (Ezekiel 27:1-3,19 KJV)

Fact Finder: How is Tyre used in Prophecy?
See King Of Tyre

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