FRANKINCENSE

FRANKINCENSE (Heb. לְבוֹנָה), the chief ingredient of the temple incense . It is mentioned a number of times among the treasures of the Temple (Neh. 13:5; I Chron. 9:29). It was burnt with the sacrifice of meal offering (Lev. 2:1) and placed upon the rows of showbread (Lev. 24:7). The frankincense on the meal offering along with a handful of the rest of its ingredients were scooped up by the priest as the "token portion" (azkarah) of the offering which he deposited on the altar to go up in smoke as a "soothing odor" offered to the Lord (Lev. 6:8; cf. Isa. 66:3). Pure frankincense was one of the four ingredients of the incense of the Tabernacle (Ex. 30:34; and cf. Ecclus. 24:15). It was brought to Ereẓ Israel from Sheba (Jer. 6:20). The maiden in the Song of Songs (3:6) came from the wilderness perfumed with myrrh and frankincense; in the erotic imagery of the Song of Songs, the lover refers to the body of his mistress as "the mountain of myrrh" and "the hill of frankincense" (Song 4:6), while the beloved is compared to "an enclosed garden" in which grow exotic perfumes including "all trees of frankincense" (Song 4:14–15). Ben Sira emphasizes its aromatic scent (Ecclus. 39:14; 50:9). Frankincense is frequently mentioned in rabbinic literature in connection with the laws of meal offerings, where it was used in the form of globules or grains (Men. 1:2). A potion of wine and frankincense was prepared for those condemned to death, "that they should not suffer pain" (Sem. 2:9; cf. Sanh. 43a). The name levonah is common in Semitic languages. It has its origin in the white color of the fresh sap, "pure frankincense." From the Semitic the name passed also into the Greek libanos. Frankincense was extracted from trees of the genus Boswellia, of which there are two species: Boswellia sacra Flückiger (also known as Boswellia Carterii) found on the Arabian Peninsula and in North Somalia, and Boswellia frereana Bird-wood found in North Somalia. These trees are still the source for the frankincense used as incense in the Catholic Church. In ancient Egypt, as in other countries of the east, frankincense was very important, and it seems that efforts were made to plant it locally. The bringing of pots of frankincense for planting in Egypt is depicted in ancient Egyptian drawings. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Loew, Flora, 1 (1928), 312–4; J. Feliks, Olam ha-Ẓome'aḥ ha-Mikra'i (19682), 260–2. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: HALOT, 493; DISO, 564; W. Holladay, Jeremiah 1 (1986), 222; W. Mueller, in: ABD II, 854. (Jehuda Feliks)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Frankincense — from Yemen Frankincense, also called olibanum (Hebrew: לבונה, levonah; Arabic: لُبَّانٌ, lubbān; Armenian: խունկ, khunk), is an aromatic resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia, particularly Bo …   Wikipedia

  • Frankincense — Frank in*cense, n. [OF. franc free, pure + encens incense.] A fragrant, aromatic resin, or gum resin, burned as an incense in religious rites or for medicinal fumigation. The best kinds now come from East Indian trees, of the genus {Boswellia}; a …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • frankincense — (n.) late 14c., apparently from O.Fr. franc encense, from franc noble, true (see FRANK (Cf. frank) (adj.)), in this case probably signifying of the highest quality + encens incense (see INCENSE (Cf. incense) (n.)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • frankincense — ► NOUN ▪ an aromatic gum resin obtained from an African tree and burnt as incense. ORIGIN from Old French franc encens high quality incense …   English terms dictionary

  • frankincense — [fraŋ′kin sens΄] n. [ME < OFr franc encens (in sense “pure, high grade” incense): see FRANK1 & INCENSE1] a gum resin obtained from various Arabian and African trees (genus Boswellia) of the bursera family and used in perfumes and as incense;… …   English World dictionary

  • frankincense — /frang kin sens /, n. an aromatic gum resin from various Asian and African trees of the genus Boswellia, esp. B. carteri, used chiefly for burning as incense in religious or ceremonial practices, in perfumery, and in pharmaceutical and fumigating …   Universalium

  • Frankincense —    (Heb. lebonah; Gr. libanos, i.e., white ), an odorous resin imported from Arabia (Isa. 60:6; Jer. 6:20), yet also growing in Palestine (Cant. 4:14). It was one of the ingredients in the perfume of the sanctuary (Ex. 30:34), and was used as an… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • frankincense — frank|in|cense [ fræŋkın,sens ] noun uncount a substance that is burned to produce a nice smell in some religious ceremonies. Frankincense is a type of incense …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • frankincense — [[t]fræ̱ŋkɪnsens[/t]] N UNCOUNT Frankincense is a substance which is obtained from a tree and which smells pleasant when it is burned. It is used especially in religious ceremonies …   English dictionary

  • frankincense — UK [ˈfræŋkɪnsens] / US [ˈfræŋkɪnˌsens] noun [uncountable] a substance that is burned to produce a nice smell in some religious ceremonies. Frankincense is a type of incense …   English dictionary

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