If you have been keeping track of the colors this month, you may have recognized that I chose them from the colors of the horses in Revelation 6, although out of that order (White, Red, Black, Green/pale). If you did figure that out, you may have been wondering what color I would write about for the fifth Sunday of the month. And subsequently in reading the title, “why blue”?
In 2018, Time magazine had an article entitled, “How Blue and White Became the Colors of Hanukkah”. In that article, writer Rachel Greenspan, correctly identifies “the association between Judaism and [blue and white] didn’t start in 1948”, when Israel became a state. Their flag (the Zionist flag) is a white field with two horizontal blue stripes (to remind them of prayer cloths) and a blue shield (star) of David in the middle (britannica.com). While this is a modern take, what about the nation of Israel in the Bible? Why Blue?
Blue is mentioned forty-six times in the Old Testament, and zero in the New. The first mention is in Exodus 25.4 where God is instructing Moses on the building of the Tabernacle, and that the people should bring offerings for its construction. Specifically, “blue…yarn”. Blue is mentioned alongside purple for the construction of the curtains, veil, and various coverings. Remember, this house of God was a tent, and the people made circles in the desert at God’s command. Meaning they moved around a lot. When the people were to break camp the priests would pack up the holy items from the tabernacle. For the Ark of the Covenant “…they shall put on it a covering of goatskin and spread on top of that a cloth all of blue and shall put in its poles.” God’s throne was covered blue.
More often seen, were the priests. For the priests to wear in their service, “He also made the robe of the ephod woven all of blue” (Exodus 39.22). Most powerful, to me, is the crown the High Priest wore. “You shall make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet, ‘Holy to the Lord.’ And you shall fasten it on the turban by a cord of blue. It shall be on the front of the turban. It shall be on Aaron's forehead…” (Exodus 28.36-38) The man who dealt with the sins of the people wore a crown of blue (and gold). A nation of God’s own people led by priests wearing blue.