We mentioned that the Egyptians imported products from different places to make their ointments and fragrances, and it is curious to note the fact, as told in the Bible, that Joseph, son of Jacob, was sold by his brothers to spice merchants from the lands of Gilead in Palestine, who were on their way to Egypt to sell their products.
In its account of the history of the people of Israel, the Bible mentions fragrant spices and oils on several occasions and provides us with countless facts about the use of fragrances.
The Israelites were nomadic shepherds who led their flocks from one land to another in search of good pastures, and sometimes, fleeing from the droughts, they ranged far from their homeland, known as Canaan. It is possibly for this reason that a good many Israelites settled in Egypt for centuries, where they were enslaved and forced to work the hardest jobs until, as told in Exodus, Moses, the Deliverer, led them to the land that God had promised to Abraham and all his descendants. It is more than possible that some Israelites learned the art of making perfumes and ointments in Egypt, but the first mention of their use in the Bible refers to their religious or liturgical purpose.