Land of Kings

The Holy land doesn’t seem like much to us when we compare it to the lush prairie of the Midwest, or the green vegetation of a Louisiana swamp but God has many numerous reasons why that land is Holy. Israel was one of very few places that was able to harvest, in the wild and later breed in captivity, a sea snail called the branded dye murex. This sea snail had a mucous where the animal attached itself to the shell. This mucous could then be synthesized into royal blue, indigo and purple dyes. These were extremely rare and it made Israel a lot of money in trade and also brought recognition that it was the land of the kings or of royalty, since those were the only people who could afford the dye.

The ancient method for mass-producing purple-blue dye from Hexaplex trunculus has not been successfully reproduced; the purplish hue quickly degrades, resulting in blue only. Nonetheless, archeologists have confirmed Hexaplex trunculus as the species used to create the purple-blue dye; large numbers of shells were recovered from inside ancient live-storage chambers that were used for harvesting. Apparently, 10,000 to 12,000 murex yielded only ONE GRAM of dye. Because of this, the dye was highly prized. Also known as Royal Purple, it was prohibitively expensive and was only used by the highest ranking aristocracy.

A similar dye, Tyrian purple, which is purple-red in color, was made from a related species of marine snail, Murex brandaris. This dye (alternatively known as imperial purple) was also prohibitively expensive.

Jews may have used the pigment from the shells to create a sky-blue, tekhelet, dye to put on the fringes that the Torah specifies for the corner of the prayer shawl. This blue dye would have been made by taking the yellow dye solution and letting it sit in the sunlight, and then dipping the wool in it. This dye was lost to history until it was rediscovered by Professor Otto Elsner of the Shenkar College of Fibers in Haifa. Since then, it has been re-introduced as the authentic tekhelet and has once again been reenstated to the Jewish garment

God created these tiny mollusks during the week of creation, and He specifically set out that their habitat of preference would be in Israel. He did this to bless the people who would live there, and as such He planned for the descendants of Abraham to have such a special and valuable asset in the land He promised to them.

If He did that for a mollusk, imagine what He did for me and for you!

Tell Me What You Thought!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.