What Do the Ancient Biblical Priesthood, Israeli Flag, and Outer Space Have in Common?
- [Reporter] Did you know the ancient
blue and purple dyes in Biblical times
were extracted from snails?
- Tekhelet is the blue color that was used
to dye the most importantfabrics and textiles.
Tekhelet was extracted from a sea snail,
the Murex snail, in the ancient world.
The Phoenicians were knownas the purple people.
Phoenicia actually, theorigins of the word, is purple,
and the color wastekhelet blue and argaman,
argaman is like a purple.
- Blue and purple arementioned dozens of times
in the Hebrew scriptures.
And those colors are thetheme of a new exhibit,
Out of the Blue here at theBible Lands Museum in Jerusalem.
- We decided to do an exhibition
that looks at the originsof the color blue.
Everything from the chemistry
and the original types of stones,
and attempts to copy blue,
and make a lasting color, and the dye.
- [Julie] The exhibittraces the color's history
in the Middle East, fromPagan cultures to the Bible.
Tekhelet and argaman were used
in the tabernacle's curtains and veil,
and God commanded theJewish people to wear blue
in their clothes.
"Speak to the children of Israel,
"tell them to make tassels onthe corners of their garments
"through their generations,
"and to put a blue thread inthe tassels of the corners,
"that you may look upon it andremember all the Commandments
"of the Lord and do them."
One Rabbi asked why the tekhelet
is different from other colors,
he says it's becauseit looks like the sea,
which looks like the sky,
which looks like sapphire stone,
and that looks like the throne of Glory.
- It's almost like magic.
You have this jar of thisvery yellowish-gooey liquid,
and you dip your wool in,and when you pull it out,
it looks yellow for a moment,
and the longer it's in the air,
it starts to transformcolor in front of your eyes,
and as you open it up, itbasically takes on the hues
that are such an exquisite array here.
Only those that were in royalty,
or of religious significance,
wore colors that were so exquisitely dyed.
- [Julie] There's alsothis amazing Persian jar
from the time of King Dariusin the book of Daniel.
- It's a jar made of alabaster,
and if you look at it closely
you can see a little bitof purple tint to it,
and King Darius' jar hasfour different inscriptions,
four languages, written on it.
- [Julie] And a tiny scrollof the Book of Esther,
where the people aredressed in blue and purple.
Fast forward to modern times,
where a huge Israeli flagis the first one to fly
at the United Nations afterIsrael became a state.
- The inspiration for theflag of the modern state
of Israel was something that was discussed
by the early Zionists in avariety of design options,
but all of them seemed to be based
on the same basic principle,that it had to reflect
the prayer shawl of theJewish people, the Tallit.
- [Julie] Another smallerflag wraps up the exhibit.
It flew aboard the world's first
international space flight in 1975.
So from snails to outer space,
for Israel, it's all about the color blue.
Julie Stahl, CBN News, theBible Lands Museum, Jerusalem.