Day 19 The Esther Ritual Precious Oils and Perfumes
The Pampered Bride
Sarah began to enjoy the foods of her Esther ritual. The dates were in season; soft and so sweet she could never eat more than one at a time. While pomegranates were a treat in her family growing up, only used for special feasts or Shabbat, now she had them daily as they were known to enhance fertility. Sarah also noticed improvement in her withered foot as she ate more of the vegetables and lots of fresh olive oil every day. It seemed her foot was “moving more freely” for the first time in her life.
“Today”, Hannah announced, “we begin the ritual baths and anointing”. We must prepare your body for you groom, get rid of the stench of walking through this world and give your body a sweet aroma Jacob will never forget.”
Hannah was again referring to the rituals from the story of Esther. Sarah was the only one among her family and friends to be treated to the full Esther ritual; it was far too expensive for most of the village. However, since Sarah was given full access to Jacob’s father’s resources and with Hannah as her maid, Sarah was treated as a Princess preparing her body for marriage.
Hannah and Sarah returned to the pool where Sarah had consecrated herself as “set apart” to Jacob in the Mikveh bath nearly 7 years earlier. Hannah gave Sarah the ritual soap; a recipe God gave to Moses centuries before. (1)
The soap recipe given to Moses in Numbers 19 had anti-bacterial and scouring properties, necessary in this desert environment. “Every evening” Hannah told Sarah, “we will come to the Mikveh pool and you will add some of the ceremonial soap to the waters and you must scrub every part of your body with it. We must remove the dust and dirt and cleanse your body.” Precious dried salt from the Dead Sea was secretly delivered by one of Jacob’s father’s employees; this too was added to the bath water every evening.
Every night Sarah placed a packet of Myrrh and Henna blossoms, thought to stimulate her desire for her groom and increase fertility, between her breasts while she slept in anticipation of the arrival of her groom. Each night Hannah gently quoted the Song of Songs as Sarah fell into a peaceful sleep dreaming of her grooms’ arrival. Song of Solomon 1
“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine; 3 your anointing oils are fragrant; your name is oil poured out; therefore virgins love you. 4 Draw me after you; let us run. The king has brought me into his chambers.”
Fear turned to anticipation as Sarah heard the words of the Song of Songs. Her heart memorized every line and her body and mind began to long for her groom, not out of fear but out of love and desire. Song of Solomon
“As an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. 4 He brought me to the bridal chamber and his banner over me was love. 5 Sustain me with raisins; refresh me with apples, for I am sick with love. 6 His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me!”
Daily Sarah received massages of olive oil and Myrrh. Her feet were painted with mud and salt from Dead Sea and then scrubbed with stones. Sarah began to feel life coming into her withered foot. While the new foods had helped the pain to diminish, these bridal treatments were bringing new feeling and strength to this foot she had wished a thousand times would be healed.
Over the weeks Hannah began to add other spices to the oil and myrrh. Cloves and cardamom, myrtle and cassis. Sarah’s evening massages, after her purification bath contained lavender and sweet marjoram and frankincense added to the myrrh and olive oil giving her peaceful, restful sleep.
Sarah’s steps became easier as her body was nourished, cleansed and healed. Her skin was bright and beautiful and her hair shined. The villagers began to notice her outward beauty. Other brides envied Sarah of such extensive Esther ritual treatments.
A New Distinction
As a child Sarah was “set apart” from others due to her handicapped foot. Since her betrothal and preparation for her groom, Sarah’s inner beauty and faith was the defining character that set her apart and above the other village girls. The nourishment of her body, as had the nourishment of her soul was now creating more definition. Sarah was truly beautiful inside and out
We Must Prepare Our Bodies For Our Groom
Oh how I wish we would develop a way to prepare our daughters for marriage in the way the ancients prepared theirs; how would our marriages differ? How would our families prosper if we put the time, money and energy into preparing for the Marriage, rather than preparing for the wedding?
I don’t know about you but just reading the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) causes my heart and body to be turned towards my husband. Many years ago I realized that when I was a young girl of only 15 who felt unworthy and unloved God gave me a 17 year old boy, Phil, who would grow into a man who always loved and cherished me. This showed me God’s love and care and delight in me, that he would give me someone who filled such a deep need in my life; a need I did not realize I had. It has taken years to really receive this love.
The ancient practices handed down by God to his people were much more than rituals.
The Soap (1)
The soap added to Sarah’s bath water was a physical purification recipe God gave to Moses. It had the ashes of a red heifer, hyssop, scarlet sheeps wool and cedar chips.
Hyssop contains “thymol”, an antiseptic compound used today in some mouthwashes. It is known for it’s antiseptic and antiviral properties. The cedar chips and sheep’s wool served to scrub and cleanse the skin. The ashes formed lye which gave the soap it’s substance.
The Mud and Dead Sea Salt
Today we know the salt from the Dead Sea is rich in magnesium, essential for over 300 cellular functions. Magnesium opens the cell to receive calcium for relaxing the muscles, regulates the circulatory system and assists with brain function.
The mud from the Dead Sea is used today to treat illnesses such as muscle stiffness, joint inflammation and rheumatoid conditions.
God’s creations always bring healing without side effects.
The Essential Oils, Perfumes and Spices
Olive Oil was used daily as a carrier for massage, used topically Olive Oil promotes colon health, bowel activity and moisturizes the skin.
Myrrh was the primary oil used. Myrrh has been clinically proven to stimulate the production of white blood cells…activating the immune system. It is also know to increase glucose tolerance and kill parasites. (2) Myrrh affects the emotions promoting the release of fear and recovery from difficult circumstances (3)
Many spices and perfumes were used in the ancient Esther ritual.
It is believed the primary oils were:
- Myrtle – antiseptic, deodorant, sedative
- Cardamom – digestive, antispasmodic,
- Coriander – aphrodisiac, digestive, antispasmodic
- Frankincense – comfort, regulates hormones, reduces anxiety, increases relaxation and spiritual awareness and is used today for healing cancer.
- Sweet Marjoram – aphrodisiac, antiviral, antiseptic
- Lavender – calming, disinfectant, improves circulation
- Lemon – detoxifying, sleep
- Cassis – supports emotions and mind, antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial
- Cloves – aphrodisiac and extremely high antioxidant to repair and protect at the cellular level
As you can see, the essential oils used in ancient times had many benefits with little to no side effects.
Of course many of us recognize Frankincense and Myrrh as oils brought to Jesus at his birth and used to anoint His body at his burial.
Hannah the Maid
Hannah, Sarah’s maid, was left for Sarah by Jacob to counsel, comfort and give her the skills needed to be Jacob’s wife. Hannah was there to help bind Sarah to her groom in body, soul and spirit. Hannah’s role as instructor gave Sarah the skills she would need to be a good steward of her husband’s affairs and possessions. Hannah also worked with Sarah on her attitudes and ultimately brought healing to her body through the Esther rituals. Hannah’s whole purpose with Sarah was to prepare her for her groom.
Our Groom Sent Us A Helper
In our story, Hannah is a type of the Holy Spirit; the Ruach HaKodesh. He is the fragrance (the lingering reminder) of Christ our groom. John 14:16-17
16“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.…
The Holy Spirit is all about revealing Jesus. John 14:13-14
13“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14“He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.…
Like Hannah, Sarah’s helper, the Holy Spirit gives us special gifst to enhance our ability to be good stewards of our groom’s resources. 1 Corinthians 12 tells us
4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. 7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other…..
11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
Just as Sarah learned stewardship of her groom’s resources, she also experienced personal reward and beauty as well; healing of her body, her mind and her spirit. Sarah’s life bore the fruit of her time with Hannah.
As we spend time in God’s Word and allow the Holy Spirit to teach us we bear the fruit of that time with him. Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, and temperance
When we prepare ourselves as the Bride of Christ we become a sweet fragrance. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17
14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.
I am reminded again of our call to Honor God in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. (NLT)
It is my responsibility to Honor God with my physical body. To care for it and nourish it in a way that I can be a steward of the gifts and talents, the responsibilities and callings He created me for.
I’m certainly not perfect at this but I know that I can do this by nourishing my body with God-Made foods. Using God’s remedies of essential oils and a healthy lifestyle rather than man made drugs. I must move my body daily so, like the virtuous woman, my arms are strong for the tasks I encounter. I also must consciously allow the Holy Spirit to challenge my attitudes and my heart so I can be the fragrance of Christ and reveal the fruit of the Spirit to those around me.
My Groom will soon come for me, I must make myself ready. Even so Lord Jesus, Come!
About the Author: Celeste Davis, is a passionate follower of Jesus Christ with a heart to walk fully in Covenant with Him. As Founder of The Wellness Workshop, Celeste’s heart is to teach women and impact their families to “Be Nourished” as opposed to dieting or trying different life strategies. We nourish our bodies with God-Made Food, our Souls with God-Made Relationships and our Spirits with the Word of God and Prayer. More Info about Celeste
(1) Soap Numbers 19:5
(1)Precious Oils Up On the Hill