Bad smells have played an important role in human history and culture. In ancient times, people used fragrances and incense to ward off bad odors and create pleasant scents. The Bible also mentions smells several times, both good and bad. However, the Bible uses bad smells as a metaphor for sin and evil, and good smells as a metaphor for righteousness and holiness. This article will delve deeper into the biblical meaning of bad smells and explore the significance of this symbolism in the Bible.
The Significance of Smells in the Bible
The use of smells in the Bible is not limited to incense and fragrances. The Bible also uses smells to describe various situations and events. For example, in Genesis 27:27, Isaac blesses his son Jacob, saying, “See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed.” Here, the smell of Jacob is associated with God’s blessing. Similarly, in Song of Solomon 1:3, the bridegroom says to his bride, “Your oils have a pleasing fragrance, your name is like purified oil.” Here, the bride’s fragrance is associated with her beauty and goodness.
In the Old Testament, there are many references to the burning of incense as an offering to God. Incense was used in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple as a way to symbolize prayer and worship. In Exodus 30:34-38, God gives Moses instructions for making incense. This incense is to be burned in the Tabernacle as an offering to God. The sweet smell of the incense is pleasing to God and represents the prayers of His people.
In the New Testament, references to perfume and fragrances are more common. In Luke 7:37-38, a woman who was known to be a sinner, came to Jesus with an alabaster jar of perfume. She poured the perfume on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the perfume filled the room, and Jesus said that her actions showed great love and forgiveness.
The Symbolic Meaning of Bad Smells in the Bible
In the Bible, bad smells are often used as a metaphor for sin and evil. The smell of death and decay is associated with sin and disobedience to God. For example, in Genesis 3:17-19, God tells Adam that because he disobeyed Him, “cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” This passage illustrates how sin has a pervasive effect on creation, turning something good (the earth) into something bad (thorns and thistles).
The smell of death is one of the most potent bad smells mentioned in the Bible. It is associated with sin and disobedience to God. In Leviticus 26:30, God warns the Israelites that if they continue to disobey Him, “I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars, and heap your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you.” This passage shows how sin leads to death and destruction, and how the smell of death is a reminder of this fact.
The smell of decay is another bad smell mentioned in the Bible. It is also associated with sin and disobedience to God. In Ezekiel 39:11-16, God warns the Israelites that if they continue to disobey Him, “I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the Lord. And I will make known my holy name among my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel.” This passage shows how sin leads to decay and destruction, and how the smell of decay is a reminder of this fact.
The smell of burning is another bad smell mentioned in the Bible. It is associated with sin and disobedience to God. In Deuteronomy 9:21, Moses tells the Israelites that when he came down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments, he found that they had made a golden calf and were worshiping it. He says, “I took your sinful thing, the calf which you had made, and burned it with fire and crushed it, grinding it very small until it was as fine as dust; and I threw its dust into the brook that came down from the mountain.” This passage shows how sin leads to burning and destruction, and how the smell of burning is a reminder of this fact.
The smell of sulfur is another bad smell mentioned in the Bible. It is associated with sin and disobedience to God. In Revelation 19:20, John describes the final judgment of the wicked: “And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” This passage shows how sin leads to sulfur and destruction, and how the smell of sulfur is a reminder of this fact.
Biblical Examples of Bad Smells
There are many examples of bad smells in the Bible. In Genesis 19:28, God destroys the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and sulfur. The smell of sulfur would have been overwhelming. In Exodus 7:17-18, God turns the Nile River into blood. As a result, the fish in the Nile die and begin to rot, causing a terrible smell. In Exodus 10:14-15, God sends a plague of locusts that eat everything in sight. When they are done, the land is desolate and barren, with a terrible smell.
The Importance of Good Smells in the Bible
While bad smells are associated with sin and evil in the Bible, good smells are associated with righteousness and holiness. In Exodus 30:34-38, God gives Moses instructions for making incense. This incense is to be burned in the Tabernacle as an offering to God. The sweet smell of the incense is pleasing to God and represents the prayers of His people.
In 2 Corinthians 2:14-15, Paul describes how Christians are a sweet fragrance to God: “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” Here, Paul uses the metaphor of fragrance to describe how Christians should live their lives, spreading the knowledge of Christ wherever they go.
In conclusion, the use of smells in the Bible is not limited to incense and fragrances. The Bible also uses smells to describe various situations and events. Bad smells are often used as a metaphor for sin and evil, while good smells are associated with righteousness and holiness. As Christians, we should strive to be a pleasing aroma to God, offering our prayers and our lives as a sweet fragrance to Him. We should also remember that bad smells can serve as a reminder of the consequences of sin and disobedience to God.
What is the meaning of bad-smelling?
Words such as malodorous, stinking, fetid, noisome, putrid, rank, fusty, and musty all refer to unpleasant smells. The severity of the odor may vary, with malodorous being the mildest and putrid being the strongest. Stinking and fetid specifically indicate a repulsive or revolting odor.
What is the biblical meaning of odor?
According to the Bible, it is frequently mentioned that God, known as Jehovah, was pleased and satisfied with the smell of burnt offerings, which signifies acceptance and appreciation. Scriptures such as Exodus 29:18, 25, 41; Leviticus 1:9, 13, 17, 23:12, 13, 18; and Numbers… discuss how God appreciated the smell of these offerings.
What does bad smell lead to?
Intense smells can cause discomfort for some individuals, including a burning sensation, coughing, wheezing, or breathing issues. Headaches, dizziness, and nausea may also occur for people exposed to strong odors. Prolonged or recurring odors can also impact a person’s mood, anxiety, and stress levels.
What are the three scents in the Bible?
That worship included presenting the child gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Each of the gifts symbolizes a part of Christ’s mission, scholars say.
What Scripture says stench of death?
2 Corinthians 2:15-17 New Living Translation (NLT) 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.
Why do I smell something bad but it’s not me?
“When someone is smelling something and there is no source of that smell, similar to when people have phantom limb pain, it’s called phantosmia,” said Stephanie Hunter, a postdoctoral fellow at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. “It’s thought that this might be caused by overactive neurons.”