Color blue, or its other variants, appears at least 51 times in the Bible which makes it one of the most mentioned colors in the Bible. The Hebrew word for blue is Tekeleth (Strong’s Concordance #H8504). It refers to the animal from which the blue die was obtained. Historians believe the blue dye was derived from a type of sea snail or a shellfish.
Blue has two main meanings in the scriptures – God’s presence and royalty. God instructed Moses to use blue fabric in making curtains for the Tabernacle as they would represent His presence. Blue was also used by kings and other political leaders as a symbol of wealth and royalty.
The color blue was used as a symbol of God’s presence. The first hint of this is in the Genesis account of creation. God creates the heavens and earth on day one, separating the two. Even though Genesis doesn’t say it, we know the sky to be blue and since the sky symbolizes the heavens, we can infer that the color blue also symbolizes God. Prophet Ezekiel’s prophecy gives more clarity on this:
“And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.” Ezekiel 1:26
From this, we can infer that it’s not just the sky that is blue in color – even the throne of God is blue (the likeness of a sapphire stone).
Another illustration is when God appeared to Moses, Aaron, and the 70 elders upon Mt. Horeb.
“And they saw the God of Israel. And there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.” Exodus 24:10
Sapphires are mostly blue in color due to the presence of Iron and Titanium. They are highly valued because of their beautiful blue and transparent color. In the scripture above, they saw what resembled a pavement overlaid with sapphire stone. It could imply that the pathway was glass and precious but more importantly, it implies that the pavement was blue in color.
The use of the color blue in the Tabernacle and articles of worship is another illustration of how the color represents God. After God gave Moses the blueprint for the Tabernacle, he advised Moses to take an offering of the materials he needed. Of these materials, he was asked to receive an offering of blue fabric.
“And this is the offering which you shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass. And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair,” Exodus 25:3-4
The fabric was used in making the curtains and tablecloths as well as other decorative work in the Tabernacle. Here is a scripture that gives more detail on this:
“They are to cover the curtain with a durable leather and spread a cloth of solid blue over that and put the poles in place. … They are to spread a blue cloth over the table of the Presence and place the plates and dishes on it, as well as the bowls and the jars for the drink offering; the bread that is continually there is to remain on it. … They are to take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand that is for light, together with its lamps, its wick trimmers and trays, and all its jars for the olive oil used to supply it. … Then they are to wrap it and all its accessories in a covering of the durable leather and put it on a carrying frame.” (Numbers 4:6-12, NIV)
In addition to using blue fabric, blue threads (as well as purple and scarlet) were also used in disposing of fullness. Blue and purple are considered royal colors and their use together was to symbolize the presence of the King of Kings.
“And the hanging for the gate of the court was needlework, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen: and twenty cubits was the length, and the height in the breadth was five cubits, answerable to the hangings of the court.” Exodus 38:18
The color blue is also used in the scriptures as a symbol of royalty. In the book of Esther, we see the story of how King Xerxes used white and blue linen as a way of showcasing his kingdom.
King Xerxes organized a lavish feast in the garden of his palace, displaying opulent white and blue linen curtains fastened with cords of fine linen and purple on silver rings and marble pillars. Gold and silver couches adorned the floor, offering a grand spectacle.Esther 1:6:
In Ezekiel 23, the prophet uses a parable of two women who became wayward, and one of their sins was how they lusted after the dignitaries of Assyria. In Verse 6, these dignitaries are described as being clothed in blue.
clothed in blue, governors and commanders, all of them handsome young men, and mounted horsemen. Ezekiel 23:6
In the olden times, it was common practice for governors, commanders, and kings to be dressed in blue because the color symbolized royalty. As Prophet Jeremiah observes, even the idols were dressed in blue.
Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish and gold from Uphaz. What the craftsman and goldsmith have made is then dressed in blue and purple— all made by skilled workers. Jeremiah 10:9
Blue is not only a popular color in the Bible but in modern society as well. Over 50% of the countries use blue on their flag. This could be because the color symbolizes royalty and prosperity. But blue also symbolizes God’s presence. This is why the Tabernacle of Moses utilized blue gemstones (mostly Sapphires) as well as blue curtains and embroidery.