PURPLE [ISBE]PURPLE - pur'-p'-l ('argaman; Chaldaic 'argewan (2 Ch 2:7); compare Arabic 'urjuwan, and Persian 'arghawan; porphura, porphureos Septuagint and New Testament)):
Purple dye was manufactured by the Phoenicians from a marine mollusk, Murex trunculus. The shell was broken in order to give access to a small gland which was removed and crushed. The crushed gland gives a milky fluid that becomes red or purple on exposure to the air. Piles of these broken shells still remain on the coast at Sidon and Tyre. The purple gland is found in various species of Murex and also of Purpura.
Purple cloth was used in the furnishings of the tabernacle (Ex 25:4, etc.) and of Solomon's temple (2 Ch 2:14; 3:14); in the palanquin of Solomon (Song 3:10); and in the hangings of the palace of Ahasuerus (Est 1:6). The kings of Midian had purple raiment (Jdg 8:26); the worthy woman of Prov 31:22 has clothing of fine linen and purple. Mordecai was clothed with purple by Ahasuerus (Est 8:15); Jesus by the Roman soldiers (Mk 15:17,20; Jn 19:2,5). The rich man of Lk 16:19 and the scarlet woman of Rev 18:12,16 were arrayed in purple. In Song 7:5 the bride has hair like purple. Purple is in the merchandise of Babylon (Rev 18:12). It is surprising that Ezekiel speaks of the Tyrians as obtaining purple from the isles of Elisha (Ezek 27:7) and from Syria (Ezek 27:16).
See COLORS; DYE, DYEING.
Alfred Ely Day
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