frants'-in-sens (lebhonah, from root meaning "whiteness," referring to the milky color of the fresh juice: Ex 30:34; Le 2:1 f,Le 15:1-33 f; Le 5:11; 6:15; 24:7; Nu 5:15; 1Ch 9:29; Ne 13:5,9; Song 3:6; 4:6,14; Isa 43:23; 60:6; 66:3; Jer 6:20; 17:26; 41:5; translated in the last six references "incense" in the King James Version, but correctly in the Revised Version (British and American); libanos: Mt 2:11; Re 18:13. The English word is derived from old French franc encens, i.e. "pure incense"): The common frankincense of the pharmacopeas is a gum derived from the common fir, but the frankincense of the Jews, as well as of the Greeks and Romans, is a substance now called Olibanum (from the Arabic el luban), a product of certain trees of the genus Boswellia (Natural Order, Amyridaceae), growing on the limestone rocks of south Arabia and Somali-land (Isa 60:6; Jer 6:20). The most important species are B. Carteri and B. Frereana. Some of the trees grow to a considerable height and send down their roots to extraordinary depths. The gum is obtained by incising the bark,
and is collected in yellowish, semitransparent tears, readily pulverized; it has a nauseous taste. It is used for making incense for burning in churches and in Indian temples, as it was among the Jews (Ex 30:34). See INCENSE. It is often associated with myrrh (Song 3:6; 4:6) and with it was made an offering to the infant Saviour (Mt 2:11). A specially "pure" kind, lebhonah zakkah, was presented with the shewbread (Le 24:7).
E. W. G. Masterman