botanical backgorund


order: Lamiales

family: Lamiaceae

genus: Origanum

species: Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

attributes: herbaceous, up to 70 centimeters in height, aromatic scent/taste

origin: Canary islands to China

habitat: globally in warm moderate climates

Note: Origanum maru/Origanum syriacum does not grow in the Botanical Garden. Origanum vulgare is shown instead.


in the Bible

Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, Draw out and take a lamb for yourselves according to your families, and kill the passover. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip in the blood in the bowl, and strike the lintel and the doorposts with the blood in the bowl. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For Jehovah will pass through to strike the Egyptians. And when He sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, Jehovah will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. And you shall observe this thing for a law to you and to your sons forever.

Exodus 12,21-24


The plant Origanum vulgare probably wasn‘t used, but another species such as Origanum maru Syn. or Origanum syriacum.

Origanum vulgare is a very popular herb in modern cuisine, known mostly for it‘s use on pizza.

The Hebrew word אֵזוֹב (’ezôv) was meditated in the most translations. Martin Luther opted for hyssop, a spice and remedy. Unfortunately hyssop is not indigenous to Palestine. The Bible probably refers to Origanum maru/Origanum syriacum, which was translated with hyssop by mistake and often used for purification rituals in the Bible. In the Old Testament, for instance, the blood of the lamb slain at Pesah is applied to the door posts of the Isrealites with a bunch of hyssop so the Hebrews are not effected by the punishment the Egyptians receive (Exodus 12,22).

In the New Testament the Gospel of John reports that the bystanders offered the crucified Christ a sponge with vinegar on a hyssop stem.


mentions: several

other text passages (selected): 

Exodus 12,22 (penitance) 

Leviticus 14,4.6.52

Numbers 19,6.18

1.Kings 5,13

John 19,29-30



Modern King James Version.

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© Bibelmuseum Münster