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#88676 - 12/05/02 12:41 AM Frankincense and Myrh?
chadahic Offline

Registered: 11/09/02
Posts: 8
Loc: St. Paul, MN, USA
Here is the question: A lady calls me and asks if I have "Frankincense and Myrh (sp), you know like the three wise men etc.?" (I sell cooking spices)

Then it dawns on me - I have no idea WHAT Frankincense and Myrh were or if there is a modern different name for these items


And thanx

#88677 - 12/05/02 12:55 AM Re: Frankincense and Myrh?
sjm Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/19/02
Posts: 742
Loc: Akina
Courtesy of WorldBook 2002:

Myrrh, pronounced mur, is a fragrant gum resin that has been used as a raw material for perfumes since ancient times. It also has been burned as an incense, and used in medicines and in embalming (preserving bodies). The Bible says that one of the wise men brought Jesus a gift of myrrh (Matt. 2). Myrrh comes from trees of the genus Commiphora found mainly in Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia. The tree discharges the resin from between the outer layers of the bark, and the resin falls to the ground. The perfume ingredient is an oil obtained by heating the resin to produce a vapor, then cooling the vapor.

Frankincense is a fragrant gum resin used as a raw material for perfumes. Perfumers call it olibanum. Since ancient times, people have burned it as an incense in religious services. The ancient Egyptians used it in medicines. The Bible says that one of the wise men brought Jesus a gift of frankincense (Matt. 2). Today, it also serves to mask the unpleasant odors of mixtures used for fumigation.

Frankincense comes from trees of the genus Boswellia that grow in the southern Arabian peninsula and northern Somalia. Harvesters cut into the bark of the trees and collect the resin in the form of colorless to pale yellow drops called tears. Perfumers extract oil from the tears by dissolving them in alcohol, then passing steam through them. The oil gives perfumes a long-lasting, spicy fragrance.

#88678 - 12/05/02 05:56 AM Re: Frankincense and Myrh?
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
Both are available in gum* form in fine hippy flash-back stores everywhere. As sjm so ably points out, their modern names are frankincense and myrrh, respectively.

*That'd be um-gooey tree sap type gum, not the chewing variety, as also evidenced by sjm's post.

#88679 - 12/05/02 06:23 AM Re: Frankincense and Myrh?
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
And what are the symbolic implications of the three gifts in terms of the life that was to come for Christ?

I remember hearing about the symbolic implications a while back, but have forgotten them.

#88680 - 12/05/02 06:54 AM Re: Frankincense and Myrh?
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
symbolic implications

All I remember is the verse form the carol:

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
breathes a life of gathering gloom.
Sorrowing, sighing,
bleeding, dying,
sealed in a stone cold tomb.

Hey! It's almost a limerick!

#88681 - 12/05/02 02:50 PM Re: Frankincense and Myrh?
Capfka Offline

Registered: 06/28/02
Posts: 1624
Loc: Utter Placebo, Planet Reebok
Frankincense and myrrh were extremely expensive items in the first century AD (and for many centuries afterwards,too) and the symbolism was purely that the three kings were forking out for extremely valuable gifts, thus allegorically underlining the putative importance of the birth. Parr-apapa Pum!

Donkey fodder, infant formula and disposable diapers would probably have been much more practical, of course. But you couldn't expect kings to think of things like that, could you?

- Pfranz


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