Continuing our series on colors in the Bible, today, we will examine yellow in the Bible. (If you’ve missed the previous posts, you can find them here: Red and Blue).
The Bible is rich in symbolism and color is no exception. Yellow, is, in my opinion, one of the most significant colors as it is believed to symbolize faith and Glory of God, anointing, and Joy. Gold and yellow are often associated or used interchangeably in the Bible. While we will cover gold, briefly today, we’ll go into more depth on gold in a future post.
What few people know is that not only is yellow the most visible color of the spectrum, its high reflectance of light allows it to act as a secondary light source. It is the first wavelength of light processed by the human eye (which belies its use in certain signage and on some emergency rescue vehicles). Our peripheral vision (the ability to see side or fringe areas when we look straight ahead) is 2 1/2 times higher for it than for red.
Yellow in the Bible Significance
In the KJV Bible, at least two Hebrew words translate to our English word ‘yellow’:
Definition: gleaming, yellow
Original Word: צָהֹב
In Greek translations, we find at least three words that translate to yellow:
Definition: a chrysolite (a yellow gem)
Original Word: χρυσόλιθος, ου, ὁ
Definition: a chrysoprase (a greenish-yellow gem)
Original Word: χρυσόπρασος, ου, ὁ
Definition: orichalcum, or frankincense of a yellow color
Original Word: χαλκολίβανον, ου, τό
Its use in the Bible lends itself to symbolically representing gold or something of great value (Psalm 68:13), or something leprous or having leprosy (Leviticus 13:30, 32, 36).
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The actual word “yellow” is only found four times in scripture. All in Leviticus; all related to leprosy or to our spiritually dead and dying condition. Think about it, when leaves start to change color in the fall, they turn from green to yellow. It only makes sense that yellow would signify a spiritually dying condition.
But variations of the word yellow, sometimes with the connotation of gold are found throughout. Here are a few verses which illustrate this:
The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold.
Out of the north he comes in golden splendor;
God comes in awesome majesty.
Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.
All of the above verses use the word “zahab”, which is a variation of gold/yellow in the Bible in the Hebrew text.
Yellow in the Bible, as with most other colors, has deep significance. Did you learn something new today? If so, tell me in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
If you are looking for more on Bible symbolism, I recommend this great resource, although there’s not much in here about colors in the Bible, it is a great overall resource on Bible symbolism.
Because of Him,