Camphire blog title

Song of Solomon  1:14

My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.

Camphire is translated from the Hebrew word KopherKopher is used 17 times in the Old Testament but is only twice translated as camphire.

Kopher means the ransom that is paid. For instance, in Job 33:24, kopher is translated as a ransom that prevents man from going into the pit.

Kopher is taken from the root word kaphar meaning to make an atonement for sin. The root word kaphar is mentioned 102 times in the Old Testament.

There is something of interest to me about the first usage of both kopher and kaphar. Both words appear in the same verse the first time they are used. This verse is Genesis 6:14. They both refer to the pitch, or bitumen,  that covered the ark both from within and without.

So, both words here mean to cover with pitch but have slightly different meanings:

Basically – you shall make an atonement kaphar with a ransom kopher.

Thus, both words point to our Saviour Jesus Christ. He is our atonement because He was willing to offer Himself up as a ransom for all.

Therefore, just as the covering of the ark protected the inhabitants from water, which was the means used by God to pour his wrath upon a sinful world, so the blood of Christ covers us and delivers us from the next judgement which will be of fire.

The ark


Answers in Genesis rightly notes that the ark is a tremendous picture of the salvation that Christ offers to a sinful world. There was only one door into the ark for Noah and his family to be saved. Jesus said of Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” The ark was the only means to be saved from the wrath of God poured out in the deluge of water, and Jesus is the only door into heaven.

Therefore, the pitch that covered the ark has wonderful significance since it portrays to us the blood of Jesus that atones for our sins and pacifies God’s wrath.

So we see that Leviticus 1:3-4 tells us that the offering of the burnt sacrifice made atonement for the sinner. Interestingly, the word atonement here is kaphar.

So how does the covering of the inside and outside of Noah’s Ark typify the salvation that is in Christ?



There is an external application of the blood of Jesus that can be seen by all people. This is shown by a repentant life lived for the glory of God. It is revealed by an obedience to the gospel that can only be lived by the transformed heart of a new life. This is also acknowledged by a baptism in water.

For example, Exodus 12 shows us how the covering of blood protected all who took cover from God’s wrath.  There was an external application of blood that was visible, upon the doorposts and lintel of the house.

So, in Acts 16:33-34, there is external evidence of the application of the blood of Jesus. It brings a change that is visible for all to see.  Other scriptures that show an external view of the blood of Christ’s salvation are 2 Corinthians 7:10 and James 2:26.



There is an internal application that is not visible. This application delivers us from the guilt of our sins. This is revealed in scriptures such as Romans 5:9; Ephesians 1:6 and Hebrews 9:14

Thus, the pitch saved the inhabitants of the ark from the wrath of God. The Bible tells us that there is coming wrath again, but this time, instead of destruction by water, this will be destruction by fire.

(2 Peter 3:7)

Therefore, all those who are hiding in the ark, Jesus, will be saved from the wrath of God that is coming. Romans 5:9 and 1 Thessalonians  1:10.

So now let us return to our scripture in the Song of Solomon:

My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.

The vineyards speak to us of the blood of Christ. The cluster of camphire is the full covering of the blood of Jesus that atones for our sins.

Note the words: This is what my beloved is unto me. It is what Christ is to me that is in view.

Therefore the question has to be asked, is this what Christ is to you? Has His blood washed your sins away. Have you asked God to allow the blood of Christ to cleanse you from your sins, so that you can experience the forgiveness of those sins, and have a clean conscience?

His blood has been shed but has it cleansed you from your sins?

In the vineyards of Engedi


Now we come to the words, ‘in the vineyards of Engedi’. The camphire is in the vineyards of Engedi. Engedi means the fountain of the kid.  It comes from an unused root meaning to cut off. Here, again, we have the theme of Christ being cut off to save us.  But why, Engedi?

Engedi was a place of safety. It was actually an oasis in the wilderness. We are told in 1 Sam 23:29  that David went there to flee from the persecution of Saul because it was a place of safety. It was a stronghold and place of fortification.

Christ is our Engedi from the onslaught of our enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil.


The place of protection from the enemy of our souls is Engedi. Saul could not harm David in the strongholds of Engedi.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians that Christ is our place of safety.

1 Corinthians 1:30

30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

What do we see here? Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.

Satan seeks to cause us harm by moving us away from the wisdom of Christ. He wants us to doubt the righteousness and sanctification that the blood of Christ affords us. Then, finally, he wants us to doubt the redemption that we have in Christ alone. But the strongholds of Engedi with the covering of camphire are impenetrable. We must hide in the love of Christ under His shed blood.

Satan seeks to attack us in Engedi.

In 2 Chronicles 20:1-30, we see Jehoshaphat is faced with an enemy, who is encamped in Engedi. The enemy knows that Engedi is our greatest strength, so He needs to destroy our trust in Engedi. He needs to move us from that place of fortification so that He can destroy us. What does God say to Jehoshaphat? Ye shall not need to fight in this battle. Jehoshaphat only needed to rest in the salvation that God had already won. As Jehosophat rested, God wrought a great deliverance.

You see, Engedi is not a place we need to fight for, Engedi is a place we need to fight from.

2 Corinthians 5:17; Gal 3:26; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:13; Col. 1:27;

If Satan can get us to start to doubt our position in Christ, he knows that he can begin to make inroads into our lives.

So, camphire speaks to us of the finished work of the blood of Christ. He is our peace, He is our salvation. Let us just rest in Him.

For other studies in this series see:  Spikenard; Calamus and Myrrh. Other studies will be appearing in the future.

Scripture quotations are taken from the KJV. Strong’s Concordance and have been used in the preparation of this Bible study.

7 thoughts on “Camphire – The Perfect and Unique Covering of Christ”

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