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What Does the Balm of Gilead Mean According to the Bible?

Balm of Gilead Meaning

Have you ever heard of the balm of Gilead? Perhaps you’ve heard about it from a sermon, sang about it in hymn, or perhaps even read it in the Bible.

But what does “balm of Gilead” mean? Does it actually exist? Is it a real thing, or simply a metaphor for something else?

That’s what we’re going to explore in this post. We’ll discover the true meaning behind the balm of Gilead, and why it’s important to know.

Balm of Gilead in the Bible

Balm of Gilead Bible

The best place to discover the true meaning behind the balm of Gilead is the Bible. The first thing to uncover is if a place called “Gilead” truly ever existed?

Excitingly, yes, it did!

Gilead was a region east of the Jordan River where the tribes of Gad and Manasseh lived.

I found a map online to give you a visual.

Gilead Map


However, the next question is, did a special balm from Gilead ever exist?

Well, there are exactly three instances of where the balm of Gilead is mentioned in the Bible.

Let’s take a look at what the Bible says on this:

1. Genesis 37:25

“Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt.”

– Genesis 37:25 (NLT)

2. Jeremiah 8:21-22

“Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?”

– Jeremiah 8:21-22 (NIV)

3. Jeremiah 46:11

Go up to Gilead, and take balm, O virgin daughter of Egypt! In vain you have used many medicines; there is no healing for you.”

– Jeremiah 46:11 (ESV)

So there definitely is a balm of Gilead mentioned in the Bible, but what does the balm of Gilead mean?

Balm of Gilead Meaning

Balm of Gilead Meaning

In order for you to understand the meaning of the balm of Gilead, it helps to have a little bit of historical context as to what’s going on in the Jeremiah passages mentioned above.

Jeremiah is a prophet of the Lord, and he has been chosen by God to warn the Israelites of their sin and to encourage them to repent and turn back to God.

In the verses mentioned above, (Jeremiah 8:21-22) Jeremiah has just heard that Babylon is going to attack Israel as an act of God’s punishment for Israel’s sinful ways.

Jeremiah is overwhelmed and completely distraught by this news.

In response to this word of the Lord Jeremiah cries out in anguish:

Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?

So, what we see is the balm of Gilead being used in association with a physician and the healing of wounds.

Healing Balm of Gilead

Healing Balm of Gilead

The healing balm of Gilead.

So, what we can gather from this Scripture is the balm of Gilead was used in reference to the healing of wounds.

One of my favorite resources when it comes to understanding how God is our healer is Our God is Healer by Joel Worrall. Click here or the image below to check it out!

Our God Is Healer by Joel Worrall

You see, in the ancient world balms were a common medicinal way to heal the sick and wounded.

However, the region of Gilead was particularly known for making a special balm that had famously strong healing properties.

So, when Jeremiah referenced the balm of Gilead after hearing that Babylon was going to attack Israel, what he’s really saying is:

“God, is there any other way Israel can be spared from this punishment and be healed from their sin?”

Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?”

Jeremiah 8:21-22 (NIV)

The balm of Gilead was known for having the best healing properties, but Jeremiah was correct, there was no balm in Gilead that could heal the wounds of the nation.

Just like there was no physician who could spare Israel from the attack they were about to face.

However, there is hope because we have to keep in mind that Jeremiah is also a prophet! So, his words carry much deeper meaning.

By referencing the balm of Gilead as a way to heal the nation, Jeremiah is foretelling the coming of a person who is like a balm of Gilead.

The only person who can truly heal the wounds of the people.

Jesus is a Balm in Gilead

Jesus is the Balm of Gilead

That’s right, you guessed it. Jesus is a balm in Gilead.

Jeremiah cried out to God asking if there is any way Israel could be spared from their terrible punishment and be healed from their sin.

However, at the time of Jeremiah’s writing, there was no way of healing Israel’s sin. There was no “balm of Gilead”.

But now there is!

Because of what Jesus did on the cross we now have a great physician who can heal us from all our sickness and wounds. Jesus is the only One who can take away all our sin and restore everything that has been broken.

Check out Joel Worrall’s book, Our God is Healer for even more info on how Jesus is our great physician. Click here or the image below to view.

Our God Is Healer by Joel Worrall

Whether it be relational healing, spiritual healing, or physical healing, Jesus is always the answer.

Jesus Christ is our balm in Gilead, the only One who could ever provide true and lasting healing.

When we are in trouble we should always look to Jesus because He is the only balm that can truly heal us from our sin.

Balm of Gilead Oil

Balm of Gilead Oil

The balm of Gilead referenced in the Bible was a representation and foretelling of Jesus Christ, but an actual balm of Gilead oil still exists today.

However, this balm of Gilead oil is an extremely rare and unique oil that’s only known by a few people.

Because it’s so rare, not many oil companies even sell it.

In fact, the only company that I’m aware of selling it is the Israel-based oil company, Holy Shaya.

Holy Shaya actually specializes in finding these rare oils mentioned throughout the Bible and makes them accessible for consumers.

They use pure ingredients without any artificial substances, and ensure the highest quality of balm of Gilead, as well as other biblical oils like frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon, and lavender.

If you are interested in checking it the balm of Gilead oil, just click this link here and use the code LV15% at checkout for 15% off your order!

Holy Shaya Balm of Gilead Oil

Balm of Gilead Uses

Now you might be wondering, “How was the balm of Gilead used?”

Well, in ancient days people would use the balm of Gilead most famously as a medicinal ointment, but it was also used as a perfume, and even as an anointing oil when preparing bodies for burial.

We even see this practice used in Jesus’ burial in Mark 16:1:

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.

Mark 16:1 (NIV)

However today the balm of Gilead is used mostly as a perfume as suggested in Holy Shaya’s Original Oil Pack.

But don’t limit yourself to just perfume! It can also be used as an anointing oil or can be diffused throughout your home in an oil diffuser.

If you are interested in checking it the balm of Gilead oil, click here for more information!

Don’t Forget: For 15% off your order, use the coupon code LV15%!

Holy Shaya Balm of Gilead Oil

Bible Study Resources!

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Just for fun, here’s some of my favorite Bible study tools that have really helped me in understanding the Word of God:

Favorite Bibles and Commentaries:

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Bible Journaling Supplies:

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Balm of Gilead Meaning in the Bible

Did this post help you understand the meaning of the Balm of Gilead? Let me know in the comments below!


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I’m Tiffany, a travel lover, small business owner, and expert-level cat cuddler. Sharing the love of Jesus is one of my favorite things ever, hence why I started this blog! You’re gonna find loads of goodies on this site, but one of my fav’s is my brand spankin’ new free ebook on your identity in Christ. Cut to the chase – Jesus thinks you’re pretty cool – but my ebook explains just how cool you really are. It’s kinda amazing.

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  1. Mr.bDaniel

    I find the posting on meaning of balm of gilead very interesting and helpful to me.

  2. Saula

    Well done!
    Well explained. Truly appreciate every line you wrote about the balm in Gilead/balm of Gilead.

  3. Minnie Berghuis

    Thank you for taking the time to explain the meaning and message of the balm of Gilead. Beautiful site. The Lord bless and keep you ❤️

  4. Shelia Phillips

    Very informative.


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