Now from the outset, I must admit that my botany skills are non-existent! So readers please inform me of this plant if not hyssop! But the images attached I think illustrate the intent of the hyssop plant. Israeli’s consider the green-grey marjoram plant or za’tar to be the hyssop. It is thought to be similar to the thyme, and has a very strong flavour, small amounts added to food taste “minty” The Samaritans still use the plant called za’tar within their passover rituals.
The Hyssop plant was used as a mechanism to sprinkle blood. The hyssop was very absorbent of the fluid to which it was used. It was absorbent in biblical terms of water Num 19, Lev 14 and of blood Ex 12. It indicates to us the need for meditation and association with the message of the scriptures, and more particularly the scriptures seen in actual living, that is most pointed within the life of Christ.
The hebrew idea of sprinkle has more of the idea of spurting, and so the plant would collect droplets of blood from the immersion and then as flicked, small spurts of blood would be flung away from the person carrying the blood. The first lesson then from Hyssop is that it indicated direction. It was commonly used to direct blood toward the tent of congregation, and by implication the direction towards the most holy place. It was used in the passover as the mechanism to spurt blood on the door posts and the lintel Ex 12:22. The verse continues to say that not one was to leave the building until morning. The sprinkled blood then contains direction and movement. An observant Israelite would question the direction of the blood and contemplate its movement. The door posts and lintel were the structures that provided access to and from the house. The most holy place was the most inaccessible area in the experience of the nation, and spoke of access to God through the mercy seat. And to be in access and fellowship with God meant that all the features of God Himself would have to be shared with the person accessing Him: moral purity, mental sincerity and physical splendour, particularly in immortality, all the direction from which hyssop pointed.
Not only does it provide direction, it provides locomotion. Blood that was once still and lifeless in a bowl, becomes a dynamic and moving force. So blood once spilt in a paddock by Cain then would become “blood that speaketh” and provided a demonstration of the nature of the blood. Christ’s blood is described as “precious” and could only be thus pronounced because it has been figuratively “sprinkled” and so affects others. This power described that we thus judge if one has died (who was morally perfect) then all are dead, and henceforth we all live in the spirit of him who has been resurrected, 2Cor 6. The power of the hyssop then is not in the blood of “dead” animals, but the sprinkling of conscience to live with God Heb 9:18-20.
Hyssop was described as “growing out of a wall” 1Kings 4:33 and is the beginning of the process of men to grow into Cedars of Lebanon, a figure of immortality and righteousness (Lebanon Heb root Laban white). Walls are created from stones Heb Eben, a similar word to Ben, sons. The sons that are created in the house of God commence from atonement. A similar sentiment is seen in Ps 51:7 where cleansing from sin is associated with hyssop, so a man can be “whiter” than snow.
Hyssop was used for the cleansing of the leprous house Lev 14:49 and the leprous person Lev 14:6.
Hyssop is the mechanism used within the red heifer Num 19:6,17.
It is strongly attached to covenant making Heb 9:16 as it was used by Moses at Sinai to ratify the acceptance by the people the terms of covenant.
Hyssop finds itself used as the means by which Christ would take vinegar on the cross John 19:29 and would highlight all of the features seen in the offering of the red heifer of Num 19. There is some peculiar features of this particular offering. It was to be an offering presided by high priest elect Eleazar, the power of helping. While he watched the cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop is thrown into the fire 19:6 Whereas hyssop is used to transport fluids, it was the finger of the priest previous used 7x (no of covenants) to transport blood towards the tent of assembly 19:4. A clear message that the law was not the method or locomotion that could deliver from the taint of death. But in the case of Christ, the hyssop, wood, (scarlet by inference to bind the hyssop) were not destroyed, and being the last action of Christ, pointed to the absorption, delivery and locomotion of the living principles of God Himself John 19:29.