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This topic contains info, links, and lesson ideas related to the three gifts of the Magi in Matthew 2:  gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Some of these links go to previous posts at that fit this subject. 

You are welcome to add your own links and ideas.

 There are a number of lesson topics and ideas in our public Magi forum which reference gold, frankincense, and myrrh. For example, this Magi Games Workshop lesson or this Magi Art "scented potpourri" workshop.

 The meaning of the word "Messiah" as it relates to a "pleasing smell" (such as frankincense) is discussed here. More about "smells" and the purpose of frankincense in Temple offerings is discussed in this Zechariah in the Temple topic.

 The Magi, a lesson set written by the Writing Team (supporting member access required). It includes a "computer" presentation lesson with a free software download that teaches the meaning of the three gifts: 

"Treasures" ~ A Computer or "Presentation" Workshop.  This lesson was written both for those with only one computer and for those with many. It uses a fun piece of Bible software to explore the entire story and focus in on the meaning of the Magi's gifts, and those gifts young people can bring to Jesus.

Original Post

Why did the Magi bring gold, frankincense, and myrrh?

  • Biblical Archaeological Society  online article about "why."  An excerpt from their longer article “The Magi’s Gifts—Tribute or Treatment?” in Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 2012.

  • Gift of Frankincense

    Frankincense comes from tree resins. Frankincense was once greatly valued throughout the Middle East from Rome to India. It was very expensive and has a wonderful fragrance. Frankincense occurs fifteen times in the Bible. A quick survey reveals it was used primarily in biblical times for making incense (Exodus 30:34) and as an ingredient in sacrifices (Leviticus 2:1-2). Song of Solomon 3:6; 4:14 reveals it was also an ingredient in perfume. Since frankincense was primarily used in the Bible in worship, frankincense speaks of the worship of God.

  • Gift of Myrrh

    Myrrh is extruded from the gum of the Commiphora myrrh plant. Myrrh was less expensive than frankincense, but was still highly valued. Myrrh is referred to seventeen times in the Bible and is first mentioned in Genesis 37:25, where it was being carried by camels in a caravan. Myrrh was used for a variety of purposes in biblical times as a perfume (Song of Solomon 1:13; 3:6; 4:6, 14; 5:1, 5, 13), an anesthetic, for burial embalming (John 19:39), as an ingredient in anointing oil (Exodus 30:23-25), and to deodorize clothes. According to Esther 2:12, it was also used in a cosmetic for women. John 19:39 records that myrrh was used in Jesus’ burial.



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Last edited by Luanne Payne

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