Rosemary officinalis was a common and relatively large shrubby herb found throughout the Middle East during the time of Mary and Joseph. Why is it not mentioned in the Bible? It would be like writing about dish soap — something functional, necessary and completely irrelevant to The Story.
In those days, rosemary was a utilitarian herb used for maintaining a household. One if it’s many uses was to repel insects. It would be strewn on the interior floors, and especially incorporated into straw mattresses. Joseph, having been a bachelor for most of his life, would have known well about adding this herb in his own bedding.
When it came time for Mary to give birth, Joseph probably busied himself by preparing a bed in the manger for the newborn. More than likely he only had to step a few feet outside the stable to find this bushy herb in Bethlehem. Snapping off a few tender and fragrant, oily springs, Joseph would have added them to the stable’s straw to protect the baby Jesus from bugs.
The Holy Family lived as any family would in that century, and the chore of laundering fell to the mother; in this story that was Mary. Here again rosemary was used. The freshly washed clothing was laid to dry on its branches. The heat of the sun against the clothing drew the oils into the cloth to freshen and again protect. Throughout Jesus’ life, from childhood and into his ministry, clean clothes carried this fragrance