Herbs and plants have been integral to human society since the beginning. The Bible is not just a book of faith. The writing of the Old Testament is said to have commenced around 1200 BC. The New Testament writing took place in the 1st century AD. Trees, herbs, and nature were integral to life and times during that period.
Let me share some of the verses that I found to be relevant to herbs and plants.“The trees that are fed and nourished by the water that flows from the sanctuary have nourishing and healing properties. And by the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all [kinds of] trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing” (Ezekiel 47:12).
Hebrews 6:7 “For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God;” demonstrating society’s value on vegetation.
The Book of Jubilee 10:12–13 states, “As we explained to Noah all the medicines of their diseases, together with their seductions, how he might heal them with herbs of the earth. And Noah wrote down all things in a book as we instructed him concerning every kind of medicine. Thus the evil spirits were precluded from (hurting) the sons of Noah.”
Sirach 38:4–5 and 7–8 state, “The Lord created medicines out of the earth, and the sensible will not despise them. Was not water made sweet with a tree in order that its power might be known? … By them, the physician heals and takes away pain; the pharmacist makes a mixture from them.”
There are extensive references to herbs and plants in the Bible for several reasons:
- Use in medicine: Many of the herbs and plants mentioned in the Bible were used for medicinal purposes and were believed to have therapeutic properties. For example, myrrh and frankincense were used for their anti-inflammatory properties, and aloe was used to treat skin wounds.
- Symbolism: Herbs and plants were also used as symbols in the Bible, representing different qualities and concepts. For example, the olive tree was a symbol of peace, and the vine was a symbol of abundance and fertility.
- Agricultural significance: Agriculture was a central part of life in the ancient world, and herbs and plants were a major source of food and income. The Bible often references crops, orchards, gardens, and the importance of caring for the land and its bounties.
- Religious significance: Some herbs and plants were also associated with religious rituals and beliefs and were used in religious offerings and ceremonies. For example, incense was used in the Tabernacle and Temple to symbolize prayer rising to heaven and in other religious rituals.
Overall, the references to herbs and plants in the Bible reflect their important role in the daily lives and beliefs of ancient people and their significance as sources of medicine, food, and spiritual nourishment. Similar references exist in other ancient texts belonging to other faiths.
Holy Herbs: Modern Connections to Ancient Plants