A precious gum yielded by a tree common in Africa and Arabia, which is about eight or nine feet high; its wood hard, and its trunk thorny. It was of several kinds, and various degrees of excellence. The best was an ingredient in the holy ointment, Ex 30:23. It was also employed in perfumes, Es 2:12; Ps 45:8; Song 4:6; 5:5,13; and in embalming, to preserve the body from corruption, Joh 19:39. The magi, who came from the East to worship Christ, offered him myrrh, Mt 2:11.
In Mr 15:23, is mentioned "wine mingles with myrrh," which was offered to Jesus previous to his crucifixion, and intended to deaden the anguish of his sufferings. It was a custom among the Hebrews to give such stupefying liquors to persons who were about to be capitally punished, Pr 31:6. Some have thought that the myrrhed wine of Mark is not the same as the "vinegar mingled with gall" of Mt 27:34. They suppose the myrrhed wine was given to our Lord from a sentiment of sympathy, to prevent him from feeling too sensibly the pain of his sufferings; while the potation mingled with gall, of which he would not drink, was given from cruelty. But the other explanation is the more probable. See GALL.
Heb mor. (1.) First mentioned as a principal ingredient in the holy anointing oil (Ex 30:23). It formed part of the gifts brought by the wise men from the east, who came to worship the infant Jesus (Mt 2:11). It was used in embalming (Joh 19:39), also as a perfume (Es 2:12; Ps 45:8; Pr 7:17). It was a custom of the Jews to give those who were condemned to death by crucifixion "wine mingled with myrrh" to produce insensibility. This drugged wine was probably partaken of by the two malefactors, but when the Roman soldiers pressed it upon Jesus "he received it not" (Mr 15:23). (See Gall.)
This was the gum or viscid white liquid which flows from a tree resembling the acacia, found in Africa and Arabia, the Balsamodendron myrrha (Illustration: Balsamodendron Myrrha) of botanists. The "bundle of myrrh" in Song 1:13 is rather a "bag" of myrrh or a scent-bag.
(2.) Another word lot is also translated "myrrh" (Ge 37:25; 43:11; R.V., marg., "or ladanum"). What was meant by this word is uncertain. It has been thought to be the chestnut, mastich, stacte, balsam, turpentine, pistachio nut, or the lotus. It is probably correctly rendered by the Latin word ladanum, the Arabic ladan, an aromatic juice of a shrub called the Cistus or rock rose, which has the same qualities, though in a slight degree, of opium, whence a decoction of opium is called laudanum. This plant was indigenous to Syria and Arabia. Illustration: Ladanum
Hebrew mor from maarar "to drop," and lot. An ingredient of the holy anointing oil (Ex 30:23), typical of Messiah's graces (Ps 45:8) as well as the church's through Him (Song of Solomon). In Song 1:13 translated "a scent box of myrrh." The mowr is the Balsamodendron myrrha, which yields myrrh, of the order Terebinth aceae. The stunted trunk has a light gray odorous bark. It grew in Arabia around Saba; the gum resin exudes in drops which harden on the bark, and the flow is increased by incision into the tree. It is a transparent, brown, brittle, odorous substance, with bitter taste. The "wine mingled with myrrh," offered to but rejected by Jesus on the cross, was embittered by it.
As it stupefies the senses He would not have that which mitigates death's horrors, but would meet it in full consciousness. It was one of the three offerings of the wise men (Mt 2:11). Nicodemus brought it to embalm His sacred body (Joh 19:39). Bal is its Egyptian name, bol the Sanskrit and Hindu. Lot is not strictly myrrh but ladanum, the resinous exudation of the Cistus ("rock rose") Creticus, growing in Gilead where no myrrh grew, and exported into Egypt (Ge 37:25; 43:11). "Odorous, rather green, easy to soften, fat, produced in Cyprus" (Dioscorides i. 128); abounding still in Candia (Crete), where they gather it by passing over it an instrument composed of many parallel leather thongs, to which its gum adheres.
2. mor, Arabic murr. The true myrrh, so called because it distils its gum as tears, which harden into a bitter aromatic gum. It was an ingredient in the holy anointing oil, and was much prized as a perfume. Ex 30:23; Es 2:12; Ps 45:8; Pr 7:17; Cant. 1:13; Cant. 3:6; Cant. 4:6, 14; Cant. 5:1, 5, 13. It is identified with the balsamodendron myrrha and other allied species. In the N.T. the same is alluded to under the name of ??????. The Magi presented myrrh with frankincense to the Lord at His birth, and it was used at His burial. Mingled with wine it was offered to Him as a stupifying drink before He was crucified, but He refused it. Mt 2:11; Mr 15:23; Joh 19:39.
This substance is mentioned in
as one of the ingredients of the "oil of holy ointment:" in
as one of the substances used in the purification of women; in
and in several passages in Canticles, as a perfume. The Greek occurs in
among the gifts brought by the wise men to the infant Jesus and in
it is said that "wine mingled with myrrh" was offered to but refused by, our Lord on the cross. Myrrh was also used for embalming. See John 19;39 and Herod. ii. 86. The Balsamodendron myrrha, which produces the myrrh of commerce, has a wood and bark which emit a strong odor; the gum which exudes from the bark is at first oily, but becomes hard by exposure to the air. (This myrrh is in small yellowish or white globules or tears. The tree is small, with a stunted trunk, covered with light-gray bark, It is found in Arabia Felix. The myrrh of
was probably ladalzum, a highly-fragrant resin and volatile oil used as a cosmetic, and stimulative as a medicine. It is yielded by the cistus, known in Europe as the rock rose, a shrub with rose-colored flowers, growing in Palestine and along the shores of the Mediterranean. --ED.) For wine mingled with myrrh see GALL.
MYRRH, ???, Ex 30:23; Es 2:19; Ps 45:8; Pr 7:17; 13'>Song 1:13; 3:6; 4:6,14; 5/1'>5:1,5,13; ??????, Ecclus. 24:15; Mt 2:11; Mr 15:23; Joh 19:39; a precious kind of gum issuing by incision, and sometimes spontaneously, from the trunk and larger branches of a tree growing in Egypt, Arabia, and Abyssinia. Its taste is extremely bitter, but its smell, though strong, is not disagreeable; and among the ancients it entered into the composition of the most costly ointments. As a perfume, it appears to have been used to give a pleasant fragrance to vestments, and to be carried by females in little caskets in the bosom. The magi, who came from the east to worship our Saviour at Bethlehem, made him a present of myrrh among other things, Mt 2:11.