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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Frankincense

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lebonah , from laban "to be white." A vegetable resin, brittle, glittering, bitter, used for fumigation at sacrifices (Exodus 30:7-8; Exodus 30:34-36), got by incisions in the bark of the Αrbor thuris; the first flow is white and transparent, the after yield is yellowish. It was imported from Arabia (Isaiah 60:6; Jeremiah 6:20). Arabian frankincense now is inferior to that of the Indian archipelago; the latter frankincense is yielded by the Βoswellia serrata or thurifera , growing 40 ft. high in Amboyna and the mountains of India. Arabia may have anciently, as now, imported the best kind. The papyrifera grows on the E. of Africa. The Indian is called looban in Hindu temples, related to libanos and lebonah .

Frankincense, with its sweet perfume, symbolizes prayer accepted before God (Psalms 141:2; Revelation 5:8; Revelation 8:3-4). The angel does not provide the incense; it is "given" to him by Christ, whose meritorious obedience and death and intercession are the incense rendering the saints' prayers well pleasing to God. They do not pray to the angel; he is but the king's messenger, and did not dare to appropriate what, is the king's alone (Malachi 1:11). The time of offering the incense, morning and evening, was the chosen time for prayer (Luke 1:10).

Frankincense was among the offerings of the wise men to the infant Savior (Matthew 2:11). Song of Solomon 3:6, "Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness, like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense?" Israel, with Jehovah's pillar of smoke by day and fire by night, and smoke from the altars of incense and atonement, was the type. Jesus, ascending to heaven with the clouds while the question is asked "Who is this King of glory?" (Psalms 24:8-10) is the antitype. So Isaiah 63:1; Isaiah 63:5, "Who is this?" etc. The bride too comes up with Him from the wilderness, exhaling frankincense-like graces, faith, love, joy, peace, prayer, praise; of her too it is asked, "Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?" (Song of Solomon 8:5; Revelation 7:13-17.)

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Frankincense'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/f/frankincense.html. 1949.

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