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Sweet Spices

The King James translation of the Holy Bible sometimes uses "sweet spices" to describe various aromatic herbs or substances that were used for things such as the sacred anointing oil or for embalming the dead. Other translations use terms such as "fragrant spices" which indicates that "sweet" did not necessarily refer to taste.

"Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome had bought sweet spices that they might come and anoint Him"

The precise mixture of sweet spices for the holy anointing oil, as specified by The Lord, were to be used for that purpose exclusively, otherwise "Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people."

Mortar and Pestle

"And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it ... And The Lord [see YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD] said unto Moses [see The Education Of Moses], Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight: And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy: And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy. And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for The Lord. Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people." (Exodus 30:1,34-38 KJV)

The apothecary (see the Fact Finder question below) prepared the sweet spices as directed.

"And he made the incense altar of shittim wood: the length of it was a cubit [see Cubits], and the breadth of it a cubit; it was foursquare; and two cubits was the height of it; the horns thereof were of the same. And he overlaid it with pure gold, both the top of it, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns of it: also he made unto it a crown of gold round about. And he made two rings of gold for it under the crown thereof, by the two corners of it, upon the two sides thereof, to be places for the staves to bear it withal. And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold."

"And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary." (Exodus 37:25-29 KJV)

Other "sweet spices" were used for embalming, although "embalming" in ancient times was more a matter of disguising the presence of decomposition rather than preventing or slowing it. This example is from King Asa of Judah (see Kings of Israel and Judah).

"And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign. 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" (2 Chronicles 16:13-14 KJV)

The women discovered the Resurrection of the Christ when they came with sweet spices for the Body. They discovered an empty tomb however because the Resurrection had already occurred late the previous afternoon, an event that they did not witness because they had remained at home during the Sabbath (see Sun Worship to understand when Christ was placed in the tomb, and what "three days and three nights" truly meant).

"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. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?"

"And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted."

"And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here: behold the place where they laid Him. But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you."

"And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid." (Mark 16:1-8 KJV)

Fact Finder: What was the purpose of the apothecary?
See Apothecary


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