Perfume

Concise Bible Dictionary:

From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

In many parts of the East the people are excessively fond of perfuming their garments, sometimes making the fragrance so strong that Europeans can scarcely endure it. They sprinkle their clothing with sweet scented oils extracted from spices or sandal wood, and with a great variety of strongly perfumed waters. They fumigate them with powerful incense or by burning scented woods. They make use of camphor, civet wood, sandal wood, aloes, and even sometimes sew chips of perfumed wood into the garments. Reference is made to this custom in Song of Solomon 4:11: “The smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon”; and possibly in Hosea 14:66His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. (Hosea 14:6). Most commentators suppose an allusion to this custom to be made also in Genesis 27:2727And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed: (Genesis 27:27), where Isaac kissed Jacob, and it is said, “he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord Hath blessed.” This, however, is disputed by some. Kurtz refers to Tuch’s view of the passage, and agrees with his interpretation. “We must, therefore, agree with Tuch, that an aromatic smell of the herbs, flowers, and other produce of the field, must have been felt off the garments of Esau, who was a man of the field; a supposition this which involves no difficulty, considering that the country was so rich in aromatic and smelling herbs” (History of the Old Covenant, vol.1, p. 298).