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Ancient Hebrews: Jewish Culture and Health, Hygiene, & Beauty Rebekah Elliott Mattox.

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Presentation on theme: "Ancient Hebrews: Jewish Culture and Health, Hygiene, & Beauty Rebekah Elliott Mattox."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ancient Hebrews: Jewish Culture and Health, Hygiene, & Beauty Rebekah Elliott Mattox

2 The ancient kingdom of Israel was influenced by cosmetics as recorded in the Old Testament—2 Kings 9:30: where Jezebel painted her eyelids—approximately 840 BC.Old Testament Jezebel The Biblical book of Esther describes various beauty treatments as well.Esther

3 The symbolism of water has a universal undertone of purity and fertility. Rebekah at the Well, by Michael Deas. Rebekah in Hebrew means “ensnarer.” She was the wife of Isaac and the mother of Esau and Jacob. Rebekah served water to Abraham’s servant at the well and later accepted his offer to go to the land of Canaan to marry Abraham’s son, Isaac. WATER = PURITY & FERTILILTY!

4 Rebekah, by Del Parson. After the long journey, Rebekah met Isaac. When she saw him, Rebekah put on a veil as a sign of her virtue, modesty, respect, and readiness for a covenant marriage. (See Genesis 24:45–65.)Genesis 24:45–65

5 Cosmetics and the Hebrew Culture It is believed that the Hebrews traded and bought cosmetics and fragrances from Egypt and brought them back to Judea. Hebrew women often used cosmetics to enhance their facial features although many Jewish prophets looked down upon the act. Jezebel is remembered as the “painted woman” in the Bible. She was said to have used cosmetics and eye paints made of kohl in an attempt to appear seductive. Jezebel not only worshipped idols but also practiced witchcraft !

6 Lack of water = famine! Jezebel's domination of her husband was directly responsible for the whole of Israel falling into the sin of idolatry. The whole nation suffered a famine caused by the lack of rain. (

7 Make-up = evil! The main characters in the life of Jezebel were all affected in one way or another by her evil deeds!

8 The Hebrews valued aromatics and believed that the qualities they possessed could heal the sick.

9 Perfumes played a large role in religious ceremonies.

10 Cleanliness There is much that can be found in the Bible’s Old Testament about being “clean” And “unclean.”

11 Hygienic laws Hygienic laws were to be obeyed for religious and disciplinary rather than medical reasons. These regulations reached into virtually every activity: isolation of the sick, time and location of burial, frequency of sexual intercourse, washing before meals, bathing after coitus and menstruation, slaughtering of animals, and preparation of food.

12 Leprosy Many skin diseases considered to be leprosy probably were not.

13 Cleanliness is next to godliness Because the Jews were very focused on what was clean and unclean, it could be that blemished skin, as a sign of being unclean, was enough to be outcast from the group. Sickness was usually a sign of “sin” which meant behavior which God had condemned causing “bad-luck” & various infirmities.

14 The Talmud & cleanliness The precepts and prohibitions of Biblical times on personal and public hygiene were continued in the Talmud. " Physical cleanliness is conducive to spiritual purity" ( Avoda Zara in the Jerusalem Talmud). In much later times, during the Middle Ages, Jews were to be a repository of Greek and Roman learning.

15 Hebrew, Greek, & Roman Cosmetic Practices Among the early Jews, it was required by the Babylonian Talmud for a man to provide his wife with cosmetics. Attractiveness was a factor, but cosmetics were mostly used for body cleanliness. Moses indicated people should guard their bodies as a gift from God, and the use of cosmetics was one tool.

16 Cleanliness The Greeks and Romans also shared with the Hebrews this understanding and attitude of the body as a temple. One of these practices involves powdering the face with a white lead powder, which is a dangerous practice and can be fatal! The Greeks, who influenced Jewish [& Christian] culture, had very advanced practices in the area of public baths and toilets, but prostitutes were the only ones who wore cosmetics regularly in that culture., and it was basically the same, as far as “heavy-make-up,” in Jewish culture.

17 Primary ingredients A number of medications are mentioned in the Bible, such as mandrake, balsams, gums, spices, oils.

18 MANDRAKE Mandrake in Hebrew is דודאים (dûdã'im), meaning “love plant.”Hebrew It is believed to ensure conception. Genesis 30:14 refers to a "love plant," and Song of Songs 7:13 says, "The mandrakes send out their fragrance,” so we can deduct that it is a fragrant ingredient.Song of Songs


20 Hebrew mythology has attributed the mandrake with human characteristics because of its appearance.


22 Frankincense and Myrrh

23 Healing Oils Said to Have Been Given to Jesus Are Used for Skin, Cancer, “Energy Work.” What are Frankincense and Myrrh? Balsams are aromatic resins: Myrrh and frankincense are closely related species of balsams, Commiphora myrrha (myrrh) and Boswellia carteri (frankincense), which originate in Africa and the Middle East. The resin is harvested from the small, knotted trees and essential oil can be distilled from the resin.


25 Frankincense and Myrrh in Ancient History Myrrh is listed one of the world’s oldest medical texts. Myrrh, in ancient times, was a sacred substance, and those who could afford the resin used it as incense and to treat virtually every illness. Frankincense was used in ancient times and throughout the Middle Ages by the Christian church as holy anointing oil. Myrrh is the most often repeated aromatic essential oil in the Bible. ( )

26 Healing Oils of the Bible In his book Healing Oils of the Bible, Dr. David Stewart suggests that essential oils and their uses were well known at the time the Bible was recorded. Although healing oils such as myrrh and frankincense were very valuable and not commonly used except by the rich, most people would have known exactly what they were and how they could be used--which is why the Bible could refer to these and other herbs and oils without explaining their use.

27 MORE ON Frankincense and Myrrh in Modern Healing Frankincense and myrrh are used in essential oil form as a natural treatment for the skin, to strengthen the immune system and fight viruses and bacteria, and for emotional and spiritual benefits.strengthen the immune system Myrrh has been said to represent mother energy, and frankincense father energy. They are still used for spiritual “anointing” and in “energy work,” where the vibrational frequency of these oils can uplift the spirit, draw on spiritual and emotional protection, and aid in meditation.vibrational frequency They may be diffused in the air, as at holiday time, or applied on the chakras or energy tapping treatment points.chakrasenergy tapping ( )


29 “He [SOLOMAN] discoursed of the trees, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows in the rocks.” The fragrant hyssop is still today an important spice and medicinal plant.


31 The Dead Sea The Dead Sea has been flocked to for centuries as it is a “natural spa.” Cleopatra loved it there. The Dead Sea is the world's richest source of natural salts, hiding wonderful treasures that accumulated throughout thousands of years.


33 In Conclusion The Hebrews, or Jews, used cosmetics for cleanliness and for religious rituals. Water is related to both cleanliness and purity which was considered highly important for Jewish wives. Water also symbolizes fertility; famine results from lack of rain. Cosmetics are related to sex in that Jezebel, the evil temptress, seduced men as did prostitutes. Wives probably wore cosmetics at home to seduce their husbands because having children was important in order to carry on the lineage.

34 Sharing? Classmates: We “newbies” are very excited about our new course of endeavor! If you’d like to share your PowerPoints, please email them to me, and I’ll place them on my website!

35 my email Web site: www.tutorpal Click on Becks’ Back Porch Click on Talk to Becks (to see our PowerPoints again)! {I’ll get a separate Public Board fro WGTC a.s.a.p; then, I’ll re- post our PowerPoint's there!}

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