Bible Study Blog
What is Hyssop in The Bible?
What Is Hyssop?
Hyssop is known to be an evergreen plant that grows originally in southern Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia. It is grouped as a garden herb and is part of the mint family.
The hyssop plant is a perennial type of plant, meaning it can stay for many years, with at least some fresh growth of the plants on it every season. It grows to about 1 1/2 feet in height, and during summer its flowers grow beautifully in various colors, like white, red, and violet.
The Hyssop’s valuable flavoring fragrance and medicinal features have been known for years. Its distinguished bitter taste gives warmth to foods such as fish, meat, salads, and vegetables. And it has also been used as an ingredient in honey, dessert, and even in special liquors.
The tea that is made from this plant is known to be very helpful with physical problems in the nose, lungs, and throat. It can also be used on bruises by applying it externally on top of the skin as a healing balm.
Biblical relation to Hyssop
Hyssop is an herb that belongs to the Mediterranean area. It is mentioned many times in the Old and New Testaments of the holy Bible. Hyssop was talked about when it comes to cleansing and purification.
The scripture spoke of hyssop many time, especially in the Old Testament. In the book of Leviticus, God commanded His children to use hyssop plant for cleaning of people and their houses.
A very good example was when God told the priests to use hyssop mixed with cedar wood, scarlet yarn, and the blood of a clean bird to sprinkle someone who just got healed from a skin disease such as leprosy.
This process would formally purify the person that has the disease which permits him to re-enter the camp (Leviticus 14:1–7). This same process was used to cleanse a house that had formerly contained mold (Leviticus 14:33–53).
Hyssop is also used symbolically in the Bible. When the Israelites marked their doorposts with lamb’s blood so that the angel of death will pass their door.
God instructed the people of Israel to use a bunch of hyssop as a “paintbrush” (Exodus 12:22). This could be because hyssop was firm and could withstand the brushing, but it also indicates that God marked his children as “clean” and the target that God was about to deal with the Egyptians.
David also made mention of hyssop in Psalm 51:7: it says “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” David here doesn’t mean physical cleansing but he asked God to purify him spiritually as he confessed his sins.
The bible also mentioned Hyssop at the crucifixion of Jesus when the Roman soldiers gave Jesus a drink of vinegar wine on a sponge at the bottom of a stalk of hyssop (John 19:28–30).
This was practically, Jesus’ last deed before he said “it is finished and gave up his spirit. While the hyssop stalk might have been used for only practical reasons i.e., it was long enough to get to his mouth as he was hung on the cross. This particular plant was chosen for this purpose.
There is a possibility that God proposed it for his cleansing, since Jesus Christ took away our sins and bought our forgiveness with his sacrifice. Just as in the Old Testament blood and hyssop cleansed a person that was defiled. So Jesus shed his blood on the cross to cleanse us from our sins which separates us from God.
Hyssop significantly portrayed an important role in history. It tells us that humans are not the only important creatures, plants in their own way have their significance. Plants and animals were also of great importance.
The scripture also says in Exodus, how the children of Israel used hyssop to sprinkle blood over their doors at the feast of unleavened bread. The plant wasn’t placed on the door steps but it was rather used to sprinkle the blood on their door.
The bible tells us in Exodus that Pharaoh had issues with God concerning the Israelites. The people of Egypt believed that their first born sons were God. So God sent, plagues, insects, frost, darkness flies etc, just to make Pharaoh release the Israelites but yet he hardened is heart and kept them in bondage. At the end God dealt with them.
When God sent plagues to the Egyptians, to destroy them, but Pharaoh was stiff-necked and refused to set the Israelites free.
God instructed Moses to tell his people. Every family in a Israel is to take a one-year-old lamb or goat, without defects, and sacrifice the animal. And if a family didn’t have a lamb or a goat, they should join another family.
They were to kill, roast and eat at night, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Exodus 12:1-14 KJV). The Israelites were told what to put on when they ate the animal and how they were to eat the food. They were also told to collect some of the blood from the animal into a basin and sprinkle it on their door and on their house. They were told to use Hyssop to sprinkle it on the door.
The blood was a symbol of protection for the Israelites because God said he will pass that night and he will kill all the first born of Egypt.
This feast was also called the “Feast of the Passover” it is a feast they used to remember when God used Moses to deliver them from bondage and God’s protection on the night that he slew every first born of Egypt.
The Passover feast is celebrated by the Jews in spring and the lasts seven or eight days. The first night of Passover there’s a special meal prepared called the “Seder”. The Israelites used it to remember the history of the Israelites and the way God “passed over” their homes with the blood on their door.
What Does Hyssop Tell Us about God?
When you read about the Hyssop in the bible, it reminds us of the love of God for us. It also reminds us that there’s consequence for every of our actions. Once we obey and follow God’s commands, we become closer to God and it enables us have a better relationship with him
This doesn’t mean we won’t have problems and challenges. But he has assured us that whatever we go through in life, he will be with us to direct and protect us. You can go to God and cry to him for help. King David realized he sinned against God, so he asked him to cleanse him with Hyssop that him might be made whole.(Psalm 51).
God always delivers his children, that was why he gave specific instructions to the Israelites, so that they will be protected from the breeze of death that blew in Egypt that night.
He is the mighty God that never forsake his children. He is a great healer, so he provides both spiritual and physical healing for his children.
So, Hyssop as we have learnt from this article is used for cleansing and purification as mentioned in the bible.
Some bible verses on hyssop
1 Exodus 12:22
You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.
3 Psalm 51:7
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing. Now he shall be brought to the priest, and the priest shall go out to the outside of the camp. Thus the priest shall look, and if the infection of leprosy has been healed in the leper,read more.
5.1 Kings 4:33
He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.
For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.” And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood.
Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb. You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning. For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “This is the statute of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect and on which a yoke has never been placed. You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall be brought outside the camp and be slaughtered in his presence. read more.
Then for the unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the burnt purification from sin and flowing water shall be added to them in a vessel. A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it on the tent and on all the furnishings and on the persons who were there, and on the one who touched the bone or the one slain or the one dying naturally or the grave. Then the clean person shall sprinkle on the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall purify him from uncleanness, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and shall be clean by evening. read more.
ALSO, READ How Does Heaven Look Like?