The use of perfumes was common among the Hebrews and the Orientals generally, before it was known to the Greeks and Romans. Moses also speaks of the art of the perfumer, in the English Bible "apothecary;" and gives the composition of two perfumes, of which one was to be offered to the Lord on the golden altar, Ex 30:34-38. And the other to be used for anointing the high priest and his sons, the tabernacle, and the vessels of divine service, Ex 30:23-33. The Hebrews had also perfumes for embalming their dead. The composition is note exactly known, but they used myrrh, aloes, and other strong and astringent drugs proper to prevent infection and corruption. See EMBALMING, and OINTMENT.
were used in religious worship, and for personal and domestic enjoyment (Ex 30:35-37; Pr 7:17; Song 3:6; Isa 57:9); and also in embalming the dead, and in other funeral ceremonies (Mr 14:8; Lu 24:1; Joh 19:39).
The free use of perfumes was peculiarly grateful to the Orientals,
whose olfactory nerves are more than usually sensitive to the offensive smells engendered by the heat of their climate. The Hebrews manufactured their perfumes chiefly from spices imported from Arabia though to a certain extent also from aromatic plants growing in their own country. Perfumes entered largely into the temple service, in the two forms of incense and ointment.
Nor were they less used in private life; not only were they applied to the person, but to garment,
and to articles of furniture, such as beds.