Biblical Blue – What Is Tekhelet ?

According to Baruch StermanJudy Taubes Sterman, for ancient Israelites, tekhelet was God’s chosen color. It was the color of the sumptuous drapes adorning Solomon’s Temple (2 Chronicles 3:14) as well as the robes worn by Israel’s high priests (Exodus 28:31). Even ordinary Israelites were commanded to tie one string of tekhelet to the corner fringes (Hebrew, tzitzit) of their garments as a constant reminder of their special relationship with God (Numbers 15:38–39).


I was watching one of  The Naked Archaeologist”documentaries hosted by the Emmy Award–winning journalist Simcha Jacobovici about finding the elusive Tekhelet,  biblical color blue that according to the Talmud is called chilazon, and was thought to come from cuttlefish, however it has been proven that the cuttlefish gives a purple dye, not blue.

Recently, the marine snail Murex trunculus has been identified as possibly being the elusive chilazon. Now, making a dye from this snail is a very stinking business, so much that if a woman marries a man that becomes a “dyer’ after they married, she can ask for divorce in the basis of bad smell.
When you first dye wool in this dye from the Murex trunculus snail, it looks purple, but after a few minutes of sun exposure, it turns the Tekhelet blue color.

The color blue represents both the sky and the sea and is associated with open spaces, freedom, intuition, imagination, inspiration, and sensitivity. Blue also represents meanings of depth, trust, loyalty, sincerity, wisdom, confidence, stability, faith, and intelligence.  In Iran, blue is the color of mourning while in the West the “something blue” bridal tradition represents love.

The color blue in many cultures is significant in religious beliefs, brings peace, or is believed to keep the bad spirits away.

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