Wise Men HeaderMagi, or Wise Men.

By Rev. Phil Greetham. © Copyright 1996. This Version, 2012.

8: Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.
Very little gold can be found in Israel itself but it was imported from Eastern Egypt, Western Arabia, Armenia and Persia. Any king would have quantites of personal gold to send with his magi so it mustn't be supposed that the Wise Men must have come from that area. Gold was often shaped into objects or coins. It is not known in what form the gold took when it was given to Mary. Neither do we know how much gold was given to her nor what happened to the gold afterwards.

This yellow gum is collected by peeling back the bark of the frankincense-tree. The local source of this was from the plant boswellia sacra, found in in S. Arabia. When the wood is cut it oozes a yellow drop which hardens. These are then pulled off the wood. The resulting resin gives off a sweet scent when warmed or burned. It was one of elements used in the holy anointing oil (Ex. 30:34), and was also burnt with other substances during the cereal-offering (Lv. 6:15). Frankincense was placed in purified form on the showbread in the tabernacle (Lv. 24:7). The giving of this incense to Jesus has been interpreted as symbolizing his priestly office.
See also Exodus 30:34-38; Leviticus 2:1, 15-16; Matthew 2:11
Like frankincence this is extracted by cutting and collecting the hardened sap. The stems and branches of the prickly shrub, Commiphora myrrha oozes an oily yellow/brown resin. This plant is native to S Arabia and adjacent parts of Africa.
Myrrh was another ingredient of the holy anointing oil (Ex. 30:23-33). It was used basically as a deoderent, along with aloes, to anoint a dead body.
See Also
Ps. 45:8; Pr. 7:17; Mk. 15:23; Jn. 19:39
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