Colour
The rainbow
Amber
Black
Blue
Brass/copper
Brown/wood
Crimson/scarlet
Gold/ yellow
Grey
Green
Purple
Red
Vermillion
White
 
Home

Colours in the Bible

.....and their meaning...

Vermillion

 

The colour vermillion in scripture is translated from the Hebrew word 'Shashar' meaning a reddish colour or vermilion. Translations vary on how this word is used. The KJV, NJKV, YLT and other translate as vermillion. The NIV for example translates it as red.

This colour was probably derived from Kermes which in this context is a term used to describe a mineral compound, which is derived from the mineral Kermesite also known as red antimony, purple blende and a antimony blende. This mineral has a colour which ranges from cherry red to a very deep red bordering on black.

It is not often found in scripture and is used to describe paint use to decorate the walls of a house, for example:

"Who says, ‘I will build myself a wide house with spacious chambers, And cut out windows for it, Panelling it with cedar And painting it with vermilion." Jeremiah 22:14

Also used to describe the colour of certain clothing depicted in portraits:

"But she increased her harlotry; She looked at men portrayed on the wall, Images of Chaldeans portrayed in vermilion." Ezekiel 23:14

The context of both of these quotes suggest a colour that was considered to be rich and suitable for more ornate and costly buildings and clothing.

 

Further information

 

The structure of crystals of the mineral Kermesite can be seen on the rock upon which they have formed.

Related Symbols

In the context of Jeremiah and the painting of the walls of a house with vermillion to decorate it ornately the word is connected with unrighteousness, injustice, oppression and greed.   "Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness And his chambers by injustice, Who uses his neighbor’s service without wages And gives him nothing for his work, Who says, ‘I will build myself a wide house with spacious chambers, And cut out windows for it, panelling it with cedar And painting it with vermilion.’ Jeremiah 22:13-14
 
In the context of the words in Ezekiel the colour is in the context of desiring something based upon its outward attractive appearance. A lusting after satisfying human nature rather than trusting in God. The whole chapter is relevant. In scripture 'harlotry often refers to the worship of idols rather than the one true God.   "The word of the LORD came again to me, saying: "Son of man, there were two women, The daughters of one mother. They committed harlotry in Egypt.. .. Now although her sister Oholibah saw this, she became more corrupt in her lust than she, and in her harlotry more corrupt than her sister’s harlotry....  .."She lusted for the neighboring Assyrians, ..But she increased her harlotry; She looked at men portrayed on the wall, Images of Chaldeans portrayed in vermilion" (See the context of Ezekiel chapter 23)
     
     

 Next