Musk Mallow

Musk Mallow is a native British plant, though the Encyclopaedia Britannica says it originates in India. It is attractive and easy to grow, its five-petaled pink flowers providing colour to cottage gardens throughout the summer. Despite its name, I never thought its smell sufficiently strong nor especially noteworthy, though the Plantlife site says the blooms smell best when cut and brought indoors. Its musk name refers to its seeds, the essential oils of which can be used as a base note for perfumes rather than actual musk, which comes from the glands of a deer. 

Scent plays an interesting role in the Bible. The harlot of Proverbs 7 entices her victim with perfume:

I have spread my bed with tapestry,

Coloured coverings of Egyptian linen.

I have perfumed my bed

With myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.

In Isaiah 57, idolatrous Israel is criticised for its use of perfumes in its ungodly business. Yet there are also may positive references in the Bible. The scent of Solomon’s beloved is better than all spices (Song 4:10) and the tabernacle’s incense was made according to the perfumer’s art in Exodus 30.

In 2 Cor. 2:15, Paul beautifully asserts that “we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” There are many enticing and dangerous perfumes about this world, and many foul-smelling things beside, but what does God smell? A strange question perhaps of a Being with no body. Yet like Isaac sniffing Jacob and inhaling his beloved Esau, so the Father beholds the ruddy beauty of Christ when He senses Christ’s perfumed people.