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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Crimson

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שָׁנַי, shani' (Jeremiah 4:30; elsewhere "scarlet;" fully תּוֹלִעִת שָׁנַי, crimson-worm, Exodus 25:4, or שְׁנַי תוֹלִעִת, worm crimson, Leviticus 14:4, or simply תּוֹלִע, the worm itself, Isaiah 1:15, all rendered, except in this last passage, likewise:' scarlet"), later כִּרְמַיל, kar'il' (invariably "crimson," 2 Chronicles 2:7; 2 Chronicles 2:14; 2 Chronicles 3:14; on this Hebrews term, see Lorsbach, Archiv fur morgenlind. Literatur, 2:305; Gesenius, Thesaur. p. 714), a well-known red color (Pliny, 21:22), of a deep hue bordering on purple (q.v.), and in this respect differing from the brighter scarlet (q.v.), yet of a brilliant color (Isaiah 1:18; comp. Pliny, 33:40; hence χρῶμα ὀξύ; so in Matthew 27:28, χλάμυς κοκκίνη = ἐσθὴς λαμπρά in Luke 23:11). highly prized among the ancients for garments and tapestry (Horace, Sat. 2:6, 102), as articles of luxury with the nobility (Jeremiah 4:30; 2 Samuel 1:24; Proverbs 31:21; Lamentations 4:5; comp. Martial, 3, 2, 11; 2:39, 1; 43, 8; Patron. Sat. 32), and with the Romans for the robes of generals and princes (Pliny, 22:3; comp. Matthew 27:28, where κοκκίνη πυρπύρα in Mark 15:17; Mark 15:20, and John 19:4), especially the emperors (Sueton. Domit. 4). Many of the fabrics of the tabernacle and sacerdotal paraphernalia were also woven (Exodus 38; Numbers 4:8) of threads of this dye (Genesis 38:28; Joshua 2:18), which was likewise employed for the curtain of Solomon's Temple (2 Chronicles 3:14; comp. Sueton. Nero, 30). The color again occurs in the Mosaic ritual (Leviticus 14:6; Numbers 19:6). As to its symbolical significance, Philo (Opp. 1:536; comp. 2:148) and Josephus (Ant. 3, 7, 7) think that it, like the two sacred colors (scarlet and purple), reps resents the element of fire; according to Bahr (Sync. bol. 1:333 sq.), it denotes life (i.e. fire and blood, which are both red); while others find in it other typical allusions. (See DYE).

Crimson is obtained from the pulverized cochineal berries, i.e. the dead bodies and larve-nests (see Brandt and Ratzeburg's Medicin. Zoologie, Berl. 1831 sq., 2, pl. 26, fig. 15) of a small parasitic insect, the female cochineal-worm (תּוֹלִעִת, tola') or kermes (the Coccus ilicis of Linn., cl. 4, Tetragynia), which towards the end of April fastens itself, like little raisins, in the form of round reddish or violet-brown berries upon the twigs, less frequently on the leaves, of the palmoak (πρῖνος or κόκκος, Ilex aquifolia or coccifera; comp. Theophrastus, Plaut. 3, 16; Pliny, 16:12; Pausanias, 10:36, 1; see Kirby, Entomol. 1:351; Cuvier, Anim. King. 3, 604, 608). This shrubby tree, some two or three feet high, grows abundantly in Asia Minor and Hither Asia (certainly also in Palestine; see Belon, Observ. 2:88), as well as in Southern Europe, has oval, pointed, evergreen, thorny leaves, a grayish smooth bark, and bears round scarlet berries in clustered tufts (Dioscor. 4:48). Among the ancients, the Phoenicians generally supplied the rest of the world with crimson materials, and best under-stood the art of dyeing this color (2 Chronicles 2:7; comp. Pliny, 9:65). (See Beckmann, Beitr. III, 1:1 sq.; Bochart, Hieroz. 3, 524 sq.; Braun, De vestitu sacerd. 1. i, c. 15, p. 215 sq.; Hartmann, Hebr. 1:388 sq.; 3, 135 sq.; Penny Cyclopaedia, s.v. Cochineal.) (See COLOR).


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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Crimson'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/c/crimson.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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