Precious Oils ~ A Study of the Fragrances of the Bible~Flowers~Lily~שׁוּשַׁן shuwshan

The flowers and plants named in the Bible are more than likely not the flowers that we associate them with. The debate of the proper identification of lily is our example.

Although every flower may possess, secondarily, its own specific symbolism, for all that, flowers generally are symbols of the passive principle.  The calix of a flower, like the chalice, is the receptacle of heavenly instrumentality, among the symbols of which dew and rain should be mentioned.  Furthermore, the way flowers grow up out of earth and water symbolizes manifestation rising out of these passive elements. …  The allegorical use of flowers is endless.  Jean Chevalier and Alain Gheerbrant, The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols, 1969

In the shape of a trumpet, “Lily” in Scripture could be one of many different varieties: lily of the valley, hyacinth, anemone, crocus, narcissus or mountain tulip. No matter how the debate ends, most all agree that the lily is called Shoshanah.

The word Shoshanna finds it’s root in the word shesh, meaning six, which refers to the six petals of all the above named flowers. In the spring the hillsides of Israel put on all their glory after a long– drab winter, the spark of life in the beauty of the flowers is a welcome site. Take note that the six petal flowers just as the Magen David (Star or Shield of David) is also six-sided.

The red rose as we know it was not an ancient part of the landscape. In the Bible, Shoshanna is an image of feminine beauty, especially in the Song of Songs allegory as the Lover compares his Beloved “as a lily (narcissus) among thorns.”

Modern day aromatherapy is unable to capture the lily of valleys into an essential oil, perhaps because parts of the Lily of the Valley flowers are highly poisonous. What you normally find on the commercial market is a synthetic oil that mirrors the fragrance of the little white bell flower that often grown on the shady side of older homes. No therapeutic or benefits can be associated with the synthetic oil of lily of the valley. Narcissus oil can be obtained, at a premium price, and is used in high-end perfumes.

In the Hebrew root word of “lily” we find the best description of flowers: to rejoice and be exuberant.  Lily of the Valley says “Return to Happiness” in the Language of Flowers.

And the chapiters (the capital crown) that were upon the top of the pillars were of lily work in the porch, four cubits. . . And upon the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.      I Kings 7:19&22

I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.  As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.   Song of Solomon 2:1-2

I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow (blossom) as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.  His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.  Hosea 14:4-7

A page from Precious Oils ~ A Study of the Fragrances of the Bible by Apothecary Cynthia Hillson Copyright 2008 ~ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Book is available from  and

Precious Oils is a resource for anyone who desires to learn about the fragrances of the Bible. Apothecary, Cynthia Hillson shares her notes that she has complied over the last 19 years in this Precious Oils study. Preachers, Women’s Group Leaders and Educators will find the Precious Oils Study an easy-to-reference guide for their sermons and lectures. Included are five Biblical oils to give you a fragrant approach to your Bible study. Great for sermon illustrations, children’s church workers and home-school families.  Precious Oils ~ A Study of the Fragrances of the Bible includes: * Symbolic meanings of Biblical botanicals. * Bible Dictionary and Scripture References to many Biblical botanicals. * Uses of Biblical essential oils, yesterday and today. * Mountain of Myrrh and Hill of Frankincense explained. * The Two Anointings of Yeshua (Jesus) by Mary of Bethany and a Sinful Woman. * The Holy Anointing Oil and The Holy Incense. The cover of Precious Oils ~ A Study of the Fragrances of the Bible is a photograph that Cynthia took at The Botanical Garden in Ein Gedi, Israel. This region is rich in history and lore. The Ein Gedi Botanical Garden is a sanctuary and is thought to be where Solomon penned the Song of Songs. Today you find a wonderful Kibbutz guest house and spa, a favorite destination for many who travel to Israel. Just down the road is the nature reserve where David hid from Saul. Across the road is the Dead Sea where you see Jordan, the land of Gilead. This is the locality where valuable perfumes were blended in the days of old. Cleopatra loved the Ein Gedi region. She asked Anthony to purchase it for her own personal spa. The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Psalms 92:12

Precious Oils Up On The Hill is the Registered Trademark of Cynthia Hillson



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