Commentators on the Bible list out 21, others 27 verses that they believe refer to cancer and healing.
I think the closest reference to cancer can be seen in Isaiah 38:21 – “For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaister upon the boil, and he shall recover.”
Healing during Biblical times would have followed the practices of the Ancient Egyptians and the Greeks. Egypt was probably the leader in medicine in the 2nd and the 1st millennium BC when the Bible verses were first enunciated.
Egyptian texts contain many references to herbs, including frankincense, myrrh, cedar, balsam, pine, myrtle, benzoin, labdanum, mastic, juniper berry, cardamom, and calamus. Many of these herbs were ingredients in Kyphi (known as Kapet in ancient Egypt), an antiseptic, perfumed substance used extensively in ancient Egyptian temples and the homes of the rich. Papyrus Harris, written during the reign of Rameses IV (c. 1155– 1149 BC),
The oldest papyrus, the Ebers papyrus, dates back to 1550 BC. The Ebers papyrus discusses medicinal herbs used by ancient Egyptian doctors dating back to 3400 BC. It mentions opium, cannabis, myrrh, frankincense, fennel, cassia, senna, thyme, henna, juniper, aloe, linseed, and castor oil. Like castor and juniper, many were locally available; others were imported from Africa and Asia (e.g., mandrake, cedar oil, henna, aloe, and frankincense).
The Greeks and Romans translated the Egyptian texts into their languages. Over the centuries, Greek and Roman texts became the basis of Arabic and European medical texts.
The Bible is not just a book of faith but has immense historical value. It is our window of the life and times that existed for probably close to 1800 years of the human history of Mesopotamia, Judea, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
Holy Herbs: Modern Connections to Ancient Plants