Exodus 30:23-25 Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels,
And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive a hin:
And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be a holy anointing oil.
This oil was to be used to anoint the tabernacle of the congregation, the ark of the testimony, vessels, candlesticks, alter, laver, ... you get the picture. A lot of oil everywhere. There was alot of pomp and ceremony around it all. They were to be sanctified-set apart- for the purpose of the service to the Lord. There was a warning to not use it wrongly or to copy it.
So what is the oil? A mixture after the art of apothecary sounds so very medicinal and scientific!
I love google!
First Pure myrrh- A bitter herb which "bleeds" a resin when broken. The plant is very fragrant, and was one of the gifts brought to Jesus by the wise men. I have read that this gift speaks to his office as a prophet, and the verse "man of sorrow" may be significant in relating the bitter trait of this herb. One fact I found interesting is unlike most other resins, myrrh expands and "blooms" when burned instead of melting or liquefying. (see link)
Next, sweet cinnamon- This we know is very fragrant... and tasty! The bark near the roots of this herb is what we use. The branches stand upright and are very strong, and they are stripped and allowed to dry into what we know to be sticks. The shoots are encouraged by cutting the tree very near the ground, and thus causing many little shoots that can be harvested. This (coppicing) actually causes the tree to be more fruitful than if left alone, and the tree will never die of old age. Another interesting thing is it can be harvested only after heavy rains when the bark is soft enough to cut.
Thirdly, sweet calamus- It is a wetland plant that had long, thin, very fragrant leaves. There is a main vein through the entire length of it, with many secondary and even more tertiary veins. It also has been banned in by the USDA for its drug properties. It is quite an effective psychotropic drug.
Last herb, cassia- This is very much like cinnamon, but a little more pungent, and used more for spicy dishes. It comes from a shrub that has little yellow flowers that hang down from the branches, and bark that dries into sticks so hard they are nearly impossible to grind. (It is recommended to only buy it pre ground!)
Finally, olive oil- The ingredient that holds it all together. Olive oil is pressed out, and it allows all the qualities of the ingredients to blend together and become useful. A bunch of dried and gritty spices aren't of much use until compounded after the art of the apothecary. Very neat stuff. Another note, olive oil was the fuel used in the lampstands in the tabernacle.
So, we take the bitter, fragrant, sweet, non-consumed, main vein-fed, upright, humble, tender yet strong, and blend it all together with oil that has been pressed from the fruit.
I found many practically applicable things in this study. I need to be humble like the little yellow flowers, bowing down off the cassia branches. When tried, I need to bloom like myrrh and not be consumed. I need to be willing to be cut down over and over that I will produce more fruit... and never die! I must remain tapped into the main vein, like the leaf of sweet calamus. Jesus Christ, my source of water and nutrients. Above all I need to be immersed in the infusing properties of the Holy Spirit. The indwelling part of the Godhead. That gift from God that is with me always.