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CAMPHIRE (See Plants: Henna)

CAMPHIRE (כֹּ֤פֶר). In Song of Solomon, we read: “My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire” (KJV), and in Song of Solomon 4:13: “Thy plants are an orchard...camphire with spikenard” (KJV).

It is generally agreed that the plant referred to is Lawsonia inermis, the henna plant, called the Egyp. privet in some quarters. It is the henna of today. Moffatt makes the tr. far more romantic by saying in Song of Solomon 1:14—“My darling is my bunch of henna blossom.”

This Lawsonia is a common plant in Pal., growing nine to ten ft. tall, and having privet-like leaves and masses of yellow or white scented flowers. The flowers were used, it is understood, as an OT version of bath salts!

The leaves of the Henna, when dried and powdered, can be made into a paste which was used in the E for dyeing the toenails, fingernails, and even the soles of the feet, and palms of the hands. Men colored their beards with Henna, and groomed their horses’ tails. It was a cosmetic dye much used in Egypt at the time of Moses—and the Israelites learned the practice of dyeing from the Egyp. women. See also Henna.

See also

  • Henna