Tekhelet dye

Tekhelet – The Unknown

Want to know the Unknown?

Want to know what Tekhelet is?

Want to know why was Tekhelet so special and important in the Bible?

Want to what exactly is the “Blue” which is mentioned in the Bible?

Then this article is for you, read until the end to find a special note for you.


What is Tekhelet?

Significance of Tekhelet in our lives

Where is Tekhelet in the Bible?

How is Tekhelet used?

How was Tekhelet lost?

Where does Tekhelet come from?

Three clues from Ancient texts which help us identify the true origin of Tekhelet and how this differs from the dye Indigo

Who rediscovered Tekhelet?

Along the time, the Tekhelet has played an influential role in the history of Israel. We see Tekhelet mentioned many times in the Bible. Tekhelet has been everywhere, from the curtains of the Tabernacle to being placed on the Priestly Breastplate.

This is a very hard topic to understand, there are many theories around Tekhelet, but let’s only focus on what’s necessary for. To make it easy I’ll break it down and make it simple for you to understand.

Now, let’s dive deep into and know what exactly Tekhelet is.

What is Tekhelet?

There was once a color in the history of Israel which was very supreme, this color was known as the purest form, named as the most magnificent and glorious in all the shades of blue, this color is called Tekhelet in Hebrew and Biblical blue in our dialect. Tekhelet is a unique blue color which is very rare to find. Tekhelet was worn only by Priests, Kings, and Royals of Israel thousands of years ago, making Tekhelet a royal and unique color.

Tekhelet dye on the rock

Significance of Tekhelet in our lives:

As we know now that what Tekhelet is? Let’s talk about the significance of Tekhelet in our lives.

  • The color blue is mentioned 51 times in the Bible. From establishing the Tabernacle, taking offerings of blue dye to use the bluestone on the Priestly breastplate.
  • Mainly, blue signifies the healing power of GOD in the spiritual realm. This blue is such a soothing color that reliefs us from our pain, making us spiritually and physically all right.
  • Another important factor is that Tekhelet resembles the color of the sea and firmament (sky), which reminds us for each and every single moment that GOD is the creator of the sea and the firmament, HE is the one who divided them and we the people belong to HIM.
GOD’s creation – The Firmament and the Water

This one’s my personal favorite, give heed to it, and understand how GOD is instructing here to the people of Israel about the use of blue in their clothing.

Then the LORD said to Moses, 

“Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: Throughout the generations to come you must make tassels for the hems of your clothing and attach them with a blue cord. 

When you see the tassels, you will remember and obey all the commands of the LORD instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves, as you are prone to do. 

The tassels will help you remember that you must obey all my commands and be holy to your God.I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt that I might be your God. I am the LORD your God!” – Numbers 15: 38 – 41

Tzitzit tied to Tallit (Prayer shawl)

Where is Tekhelet in the Bible?

There they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself. Exodus 24:10 (NLT)

Make the Tabernacle from ten curtains of finely woven linen. Decorate the curtains with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim. – Exodus 26:1 (NLT)

The craftsmen must make the ephod of finely woven linen and skillfully embroider it with gold and with blue, purple, and scarlet thread. – Exodus 28:6 (NLT)

Then, with great skill and care, make a breastplate to be worn for seeking a decision from God. Make it to match the ephod, using finely woven linen embroidered with gold and with blue, purple, and scarlet thread. – Exodus 28:15 (NLT)

Make the robe that is worn with the ephod from a single piece of blue cloth. Exodus 28:31 (NLT)

Make pomegranates out of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and attach them to the hem of the robe, with gold bells between them. – Exodus 28: 33 (NLT)

The courtyard was beautifully decorated with white cotton curtains and blue hangings, which were fastened with white linen cords and purple ribbons to silver rings embedded in marble pillars. Gold and silver couches stood on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and other costly stones. – Esther 1:6 (NLT)

Then Mordecai left the king’s presence, wearing the royal robe of blue and white, the great crown of gold, and an outer cloak of fine linen and purple. And the people of Susa celebrated the new decree. – Esther 8:15 (NLT)

These were the few mentions of Tekhelet/blue from the Bible. By reading those you must have known now, that how influential and important the Biblical blue has been.

How was Tekhelet used?

For the ancient Israelites, it was a holy color. Blue is often mentioned in the Bible as God’s color — for example, “the pavement under His feet are made of lapis lazuli.” It has been everywhere, from the curtains of the Tabernacle to being placed on the Priestly Breastplate. Including, covering for sacred vessels, and among other furnishings. The same styles were used later in Solomon’s Temple. Every man was ordered to attach a string colored with Tekhelet, called the Tzitzit, to the corner of his garment, as a constant reminder of the relationship between God and himself in times of Moses. And the use of Tekhelet on the prayer shawl called a tallit, later on, inspired the blue stripes of Israel’s national flag. 

Tekhelet Fringes with Lapis Lazuli

How was Tekhelet lost?

Roman’s quest for Israel diminished the produce and took dyeing of Tekhelet under their control as they came to know how lucrative and royal Tekhelet was. This makes The Romans pass a bill stating “Anyone wearing a cloth dyed in Tekhelet will be put to death.” On the other hand, Rome taking control of Israel made the Jewish community impoverished.  Finally, the Arabs conquering the Middle East brought to an end of this ancient craft of dyeing with Tekhelet.

Where does Tekhelet come from?

This color is not easy to get. It comes from a snail called Chilazon in Hebrew and Hexaplex trunculus or also known as Murex trunculus in Latin. This snail washes up to the shore once in 70 years or must to get Tekhelet, it must be fished out from the deep Mediterranean Sea bed. For this reason, Tekhelet is the most expensive and rare dye. The result of many Empires conquering Israel made this craft’s foundation to lose its firm. As the snail was rare to find and as it was becoming hard to extract Tekhelet from Chilazon, the wealthy people’s urge to grab the Tekhelet and add it to their wardrobe was reaching the zenith. This led the Tekhelet to emerge as a very magnificent, royal, and a costly dye.

Tekhelet comes from the Hexaplex trunculus/Chilazon’s glands. When the gland is exposed to sunlight and air, the enzymes are turned into a brilliant blue color.

Three clues from Ancient texts which help us identify the true origin of Tekhelet and how this differs from the dye Indigo:

  • Tekhelet must come from a Sea living creature.  (Murex trunculus/Chilazon is a Sea living creature found at the Sea bed of the Mediterranean Sea.)
  • The dye must not fade away. It must be a permanent dye. (The dye produced from Chilazon is permanent. Years pass by but the dye is still fresh and new.)
  • Tekhelet must have a counterfeit. (The counterfeit of Tekhelet is a plant called Indigofera. Indigofera produces the color the same as Tekhelet but with a slight color difference only to fade away after a period of time.

Who rediscovered Tekhelet?

It all started in the year 1858, Henri de Lacaze-Duthiers, A French zoologist found that three Mediterranean mollusks produced purple-blue dyes. One, Murex trunculus, was determined by him (and other scientists, archeologists, and historians) to be the source of the ancient Biblical blue.

“There is an obligation, upon all who are capable, to search for it [the Chilazon], in order to bring merit upon Israel with this commandment, which has been forgotten for the last several centuries. And he who succeeds in this will surely be blessed by the God of Israel.” – Rabbi Gershon Henoch Leiner, the Radzyner Rebbe.

In the same century, when Grand Rabbi Gershon Henoch Leiner had a zeal to bring back the lost Tekhelet unaware of Lacaze-Duthier’s findings, Rabbi Gershon Henoch Leiner – the Radzyner Rebbe, set out on an expedition to search for the lost Chilazon in a grand effort to restore Tekhelet to the Jewish people. He was convinced that a certain squid fit the descriptions of the Chilazon. However, unable to produce a blue dye from the black ink released from this squid, he turned to an Italian chemist, who provided him with a method. Within two years, ten thousand of the Rebbe’s followers were wearing blue threads on their Tzitzit.

Then in the year 1913, Rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog obtained a sample of this dye and had it chemically analyzed. The chemists concluded that it was a well-known synthetic dye “Prussian blue” made by reacting iron (II) sulfate with organic material. In this case, the cuttlefish only supplied the organic material which could have as easily been supplied from a vast array of other organic sources R. Herzog thus rejected the cuttlefish as the Chilazon. Few suggest that if the Grand Rabbi Gershon Henoch Leiner had known this fact, he too would have rejected it.

Rabbi Herzog named Hexaplex trunculus as the most likely candidate for the dye’s source because Hexaplex trunculus fulfilled many of the criteria written in the ancient texts, Rabbi Herzog’s failed to obtain the blue dye (sometimes the dye was purple) from the snail and this prevented him from declaring Hexaplex trunculus to be the dye source.

According to Zvi Koren, a professor of chemistry, Tekhelet was close in color to midnight blue. This conclusion was reached based on the chemical analysis of a 2000-year old patch of dyed fabric recovered from Masada in the 1960s. The sample, shown to have been dyed with Murex snail extraction, is a midnight blue with a purplish hue. Additionally, in 2013, Na’ama Sukenik of the Israel Antiquities Authority verified a 1st-century CE-dated fragment of blue-dyed fabric to have used the Hexaplex trunculus as the source of its pure blue color.

In the 1980s, Otto Elsner, a chemist from the Shenkar College of Fibers in Israel, discovered that if a solution of the dye is exposed to ultraviolet rays, such as from sunlight, blue instead of purple was consistently produced. In 1988, Rabbi Eliyahu Tavger dyed Tekhelet from Hexaplex trunculus for the Mitzvah (commandment) of Tzitzit for the first time. 

Now, from the last few decades, Tekhelet is made and sold for the public to use it and to fulfill the commandment given by the LORD in the Old Testament.

Dear reader,

If you are reading this part, then you’ve come a long way by reading this article. You’ve understood a lot about Tekhelet. I wrote this article on Tekhelet because many people do not know what Tekhelet is. As I’ve named this website “Tekhelet Fire” it’s my sole responsibility to help you in understanding what Tekhelet is.

Through this article, I’m not encouraging you to start using Tekhelet as a vital part of your lives again. If you want to use it, you can use it but it’s not compulsory or important after what JESUS CHRIST has done on the cross of Calvary. Yes, it was used almost everywhere from the curtains of the Tabernacle to being placed on the Priestly Breastplate, but this was past – thousands of years ago. We do not find the command of using the Tassels with the fringes dyed in Tekhelet in the New Testament. I’m not telling you to just ignore it. It’s just for us to know how influential and what Tekhelet is.  With this, I want to make another point clear that the Old Testament is equally important as the New Testament is.

But, from the New Testament, it was never about the Laws, Rituals, Tekhelet, or any other thing. It was all about JESUS CHRIST.

Remember the crucifixion of our JESUS CHRIST?

When our LORD JESUS CHRIST was crucified on the cross, the curtain/veil of the Temple (inner veil before the holy of holies) was torn into two.

Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; – Matthew 27: 50, 51 (KJV)

This is the same veil that was made with Tekhelet and other dyestuffs.

And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made: – Exodus 26:31 (KJV)

Through this, we also understand that nothing was more important than our LORD JESUS CHRIST to YHWH our father. That nature (The creation of YHWH) tore down the Tekhelet (which was so important in the Old Testament) covered curtain which was used to separate the holy from the holies. This is a father’s love for HIS only begotten SON. Making JESUS CHRIST above everything and all.

The Grace of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, the Love of GOD and the Fellowship of the HOLY SPIRIT, be with you all and forever.


The Fire of the LORD be kindled in you – Tekhelet Fire

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