Proverb for the Day 27:9 — How Sweet It Is!

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.
This wise saying notes what all the ancients knew, “perfume and incense” are sweet smelling compounds which “bring joy to the heart.” Perfume tended to make a person smell good while incense tended to make a place smell good (or at least better!).
“Perfume,” is actually the standard word for “oil,” whether sweet smelling or not. It was olive oil which was regularly used in antiquity for medicinal purposes, as well as for refreshment of the body by anointing.
“Incense” was also a vegetable compound – generally just dried sap from myrrh or frankincense trees known to grow in the lands along both the African (west) and Arabian (east) sides of the Red Sea. Of course used for religious rituals, incense was also utilized within everyday domestic and industrial contexts to make things a bit nicer.

In this verse, these two pleasantries of the ancient world were compared to “the pleasantness of a friend.” What made interaction with this friend so pleasant was “their heartfelt advice.”

What will really add value to my life is not something that makes the outside look or smell better, but something that will make me better on the inside. “Heartfelt advice” – from the heart, to the heart – can make a real and permanent difference in me.

Admittedly, I may not always appreciate what the heartfelt advice offers, but when that’s what it is (heartfelt) and it comes from a friend – it will be good for me. So, bring it on!