The Colors of the Tabernacle

Rare Fabric found in the Judean Desert

Image: Rare cloth found in the Judean Desert

Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority

Israel Antiquities Authority has reported that archaeologists have discovered some Roman-era cloth that they believe was dyed with the same extracts that produced the colors of the Tabernacle and was used in the preparation of the priestly garments.

The following is an excerpt taken from an article published in The Blaze:

Israeli archaeologists have uncovered three rare, Roman-era fabrics believed to have been dyed using murex snail extracts in unique colors mentioned in the Bible.

Israel Antiquities Authority researchers say they have identified three pieces of cloth dyed in colors considered the most valued at the time, including special shades of blue, purple and crimson-scarlet — colors cited in scripture. The textiles are believed to have been used in the clothing of wealthy residents 2,000 years ago.

“The importance of this fabric is extremely significant as there are practically no parallels for it in the archaeological record,” Yoli Shwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority spokeswoman said in a statement.

According to the book of Exodus, when God gave Moses instructions for building the tabernacle, he told Moses: “Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twisted linen, and blue, purple, and crimson yarns” (Exodus 26:1).

When God told Moses to prepare sacred vestments for Aaron to serve as the High Priest, God told Moses: “You shall make sacred vestments for the glorious adornment of your brother Aaron.
. . . When they make these sacred vestments for your brother Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests, they shall use gold, blue, purple, and crimson yarns” (Exodus 28:2-5).

The article in The Blaze explains how the colors blue, purple, and crimson were made. The garments were discovered in caves south of Qumran, in the Wadi Murabba‘, the same area in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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This entry was posted in Archaeology, Book of Exodus, Tabernacle and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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