Cinnamon is referenced four times in Scripture.
Exodus 30:23, Proverbs 7:17, and Song of Solomon 4:14 all mention cinnamon.
The word used is Strongs 7076 qinnamown – from an unused root (meaning to erect); cinnamon bark (as in upright rolls).
In Revelation 18:13 the word is Strongs 2792 kinamomon – of foreign origin; cinnamon.
Let us examine the passages where cinnamon is used, and the Scriptural meanings that go along. The first mention of cinnamon is in Exodus 30:23, where we read, “Take thou also unto the principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels.” The next verse continues, “And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin.”
Yahweh was telling Moses to take the principal spices, which were myrrh, (sweet) cinnamon, (sweet) calamus, and cassia, along with olive oil. Moses was to make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil (vs 25). The Tabernacle and all its contents were to be anointed with this oil, to sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy (vv. 26-30). Aaron and his sons were also to be anointed with the oil, to consecrate them (vs 31). Then, Yahweh commanded Moses to tell the children of Israel that this shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations. Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you. Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people (vv. 31-33). This oil was holy. The word “holy” in verses 25, 31, 32, and the first half of verse 29 is Strongs 6944 – a sacred place or thing. In the second half of verse 29, the word “holy” is Strongs 6942 – to be (make, pronounce, or observe as) clean. So, we see that this oil was sacred and clean. Moses was also told that it was not to be poured on man’s flesh. Man is Strong’s 120 – a human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.). The last thing Moses was told concerning this oil was that if anyone made any like it, or put any of it on a stranger, that person would be cut off from his people.
If we put all these instructions together, we see that this oil, made from cinnamon and other spices, was made holy, not to be used on the common people, and was not to be duplicated for one’s own personal use, no matter how sweet and pleasant the fragrance was. To disobey any of these commands would result in being cut off from the people. The second place where cinnamon is mentioned is Proverbs 7:17: I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. This chapter of Proverbs starts out speaking about wisdom, and understanding, and how they are to be as close to us as a family member. The mention of cinnamon itself is not significant to the story, just the fact that the woman has used sweet-smelling spices to perfume her bed. If we are simple and without understanding, we can be just as the young man. He was out in the night hours, whereas we are to walk in the day (see John 11:9-10). The woman can represent the harlot of Revelation 17, or just sin in general. Sin, like the woman, is appealing, but we must not be caught up in it. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths (Prov. 7:25).
The third mention of cinnamon is in Song of Solomon 4, Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard; Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices (vv.13-14). This list of plants includes the three things listed in Proverbs 7:17, and most of the ingredients of the holy anointing oil in Exodus 30:23-24. The word “chief” in Song of Solomon 4:14, talking about the chief spices, is the same word as “principal” in Exodus. 30:23, speaking of the principal spices. So, the list in Song of Solomon 4:13-14 could very well contain all of the spices that were in the anointing oil.
The picture of the spouse (or, the Beloved) in Song of Solomon represents the Bride of Christ, and the love Christ has for her. The plants listed in the spouse’s “garden” are no doubt sweet-smelling plants. We see that when the Bridegroom returns, He will find His Bride flawless (vs 7), and as sweet smelling to Him as these plants. The spouse tells her Bridegroom to blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. v16. We are to be that Bride of Christ. Let us fill our lamps with oil so that we may be ready when the Bridegroom comes (see Matt. 25:1-12). The last verse where cinnamon is used is Revelation 18:13, which says, And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, slaves, and souls of men. This list, along with the previous verse, is a list of merchandise that the merchants of the earth (vs 11) once sold.
However, after that, Babylon has fallen, they shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise no more (vs 11). As in the reference in Proverbs, the mention of cinnamon is not an integral part of the passage, but has its part nonetheless. In these last days, let us not purchase the “merchandise” of these “merchants of the earth”, or have any part of it. Even so, come Lord Jesus (Rev. 22:20). Cinnamomum zeylanicum, which is cinnamon, is native to Sri Lanka, Burma, and part of southern India. It now thrives in South America and the West Indies.
Cinnamon is an evergreen tree, of the laurel family. It is cultivated as low bushes, to make the harvesting process easier. The bushes do best with shelter and moderate rainfall, with temperatures that don’t fluctuate greatly. After three years the branches are harvested during the rainy season, because the humidity makes the bark peel more easily. There are several steps in the process of harvesting, but we won’t look at them. Cinnamon has numerous culinary uses, but it also has many medicinal uses as well. Like many culinary spices, cinnamon is a powerful antiseptic. It can be used to relieve nausea, vomiting, and indigestion. It can be sprinkled on minor cuts, as a prevention of infection, and for minor pain relief. One folk remedy suggests that cinnamon can be used to help diabetes, because it can help fat cells to recognize and respond to insulin better. Cinnamon oil also has its uses, but you have to be careful with it because it can burn the skin. For pets, cinnamon can also be used. Cinnamon oil (for consumption) can be used internally to prevent colitis and heal intestinal infections.
Ground cinnamon can be put in pets’ food. Cinnamon leaf oil is excellent to repel fleas. You can put it on your dog’s coat, though it must be extremely diluted. Yet another use for cinnamon is one we are all familiar with: potpourri.
Try this recipe at home: Take a small saucepan that or an old tea kettle, and fill it with water. Put in on the stove and simmer, and throw in any combination of spices you’d like. One of our favorites is orange peels, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and whole allspice.