(תּכֵלֶת, teke'leth), almost constantly associated with purple, occurs repeatedly in Exodus 25-39; also in Nu 4:6-7,9,11-12; Nu 15:38; 2Ch 2:7,14; 2Ch 3:14; Es 1:6; Es 8:15; Jer 10:9; Eze 23:6; Eze 27:7,24; Sept. generally ὑάκινθος, ὑακίνθινος, and in Ecclus. 40:4; 45:10; 1 Macc. 4:23; and so Josephus, Philo, Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, Vulgate, and Jerome. (In Es 1:6, the word translated " blue" is the same elsewhere rendered " linen.") This color is supposed to have been obtained' from a purple shell-fish of the Mediterranean, the conchylium of the ancients, the Helix ianthkna of Linnaeus (Syst. Nat. t. i, pt. 7:p. 3645; and see Forskal's Descriptio Animal. p. 127), called chilzon (חַלזוֹן) by the ancient Jews. Thus the Pseudo-Jonathan, in De 33:19, speaks of the Zebulonites, who dwelt at the shore of the great sea, and caught chilzon, with whose juice they dye thread of a hyacinthine color. The Scriptures afford no clew to this color; for the only passages in which it seems, in the English version, to be applied to something that might assist our conceptions are mistranslated, namely, "The blueness of a wound" (Pr 20:30), and "A blue mark upon him that is beaten" (Ecclus. 23:10), there being no reference to color in the original of either. The word in the Sept. and Apocrypha refers to the hyacinth; but both the flower and stone so named by the ancients are disputed, especially the former. Yet it is used to denote dark-colored and deep purple. Virgil speaks of ferrugineos hyacinthos, and Colunella compares the color of the flower to that of clotted blood, or deep, dusky red, like rust (De Re Rust. 10:305). Hesychius defines ὑακίνθινον, ὑπομελανίζον, πορφυρίζον. It is plainly used in the Greek of Ecclus. xl, 4, for the royal purple. Josephus evidently takes the Hebrew word to mean "sky-color;" for in explaining the colors of the vail of the Temple, and referring to the blue (Ex 26:31), he says that it represented the air or sky (War, v, 4); he similarly explains the vestment of the high-priest (Ant. 3:7, 7; and see Philo, Vita Mosis, 3:148; t. ii, ed. Mangey). These statements may be reconciled by the fact that, in proportion as the sky is clear and serene, it assumes a dark appearance, which is still more observable in an E stern climate. SEE PURPLE.
The chief references to this color in Scripture are as follows: The robe of the high-priest's ephod was to be all of blue (Ex 28:31); so the loops of the curtains to the tabernacle (Ex 26:4); the ribbon for the breastplate (Ex 28:28), and for the plate for the mitre (ver. 37; comp. Ecclus. 45:10); blue cloths for various sacred uses (Nu 4:6-7,9,11-12) the people commanded to wear a ribbon of blue above the fringe of their garments (Nu 15:38); it appears as a color of furniture in the palace of Ahasuerus (Es 1:6), and part of the royal apparel (Es 8:15); array of the idols of Babylon (Jer 10:9); of the Assyrian nobles, etc. (Ezra 23:6; see Braunius, De Vestitu, i, 9 and 13; Bochart, 3:670). SEE COLOR.