Question:What did gold, frankincense, and myrrh have to do
with gifts to Christ? What do the gifts represent?
Bible Answer: Gold, frankincense, and myrrh
were the gifts that were given to Jesus by the wise men according to
And they came into the house and saw the Child with
Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their
treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.
(NASB) Matt. 2:11
Gift of Gold. The gift of gold was considered
worthy of a king. The buildings and treasures of kings and pharaohs from
the ancient past have left reminders that gold was the prize of rulers
and kings. Both secular and biblical kings valued gold. Men such as King
Solomon and King Nebuchadnezzar treasured gold. The following two passages
reveal that kings and gold were often connected. King Solomon highly
valued gold and King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold idol or image
All King Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and
all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold;
silver was not considered valuable in the days of Solomon. (NASB) 2 Chronicles
Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, the height
of which was sixty cubits and its width six cubits; he set it up on the
plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. (NASB) Dan. 3:1
While gold can be a gift for anyone, gold was a gift especially for
Gift of Frankincense. Frankincense and myrrh
come from tree resins. Frankincense was once greatly valued
throughout the Middle East, from Rome to India. It was very expensive
and a gift having a wonderful fragrance. It was used for a variety of
purposes such as incense (Ex. 30:34), medical treatment, and perfume
(Song of Solomon 3:6; 4:14). We discover from the Bible that frankincense
was used in worship.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take for yourself
spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, spices with pure frankincense;
there shall be an equal part of each. (NASB) Ex. 30:34
Frankincense speaks of the worship of God.
Gift of Myrrh. Myrrh was less expensive
than frankincense, but was still highly valued. It is first mentioned
in the Bible in Gen. 37:25, where it was being carried by camels on a
caravan. Myrrh was used for a variety of purposes, such as: a perfume
(Song of Solomon 3:6; 4:14), an anesthetic, burial embalming (John 19:39),
as an ingredient in anointing oil, and to deodorize clothes. According
to Esther 2:12, it was also a cosmetic used by women. John 19:39 records
that myrrh was used in Jesus' burial.
Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also
came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. (NASB)
In the New Testament, myrrh is primarily associated with death.
Conclusion:Since gold, frankincense and myrrh
were highly prized by kings and emperors, these magi gave Jesus three
very expensive gifts. The gift of gold would have had great value to
a young married couple whom God would soon send to Egypt. Besides their
monetary values, frankincense and myrrh would have had medical and deodorizing
benefits - great gifts for a couple with an infant. The gifts also speak
of Jesus Christ.
Gold speaks of His birth. He is born a King. Frankincense
speaks of the fragrance of His life. Myrrh speaks of His death. All
of this is indicated in the gifts that were brought to Him at His first
coming. - Dr. J. Vernon McGee. Thru The Bible. Nelson Publishing. 1983.
vol. IV, p. 16.