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The Spiritual Significance of The Color Black
 Part One

Psa 18:11  He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.
Isa 45:3  And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
As with every word in scripture, the color 'black' has both a positive and a negative application. On this particular study of the color black, I want to drive that point home by pointing out that even the word 'sin' has a positive application inasmuch as it is the first step which is necessary to "become as" God. I will give you two verses of many  dozens which establish this point and then we will move on. This first section has to do with King David's sin in the matter of Uriah and Bathsheba.
Psa 51:1  To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.> Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Psa 51:2  Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
Psa 51:3  For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin [is] ever before me.
Psa 51:4  Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done [this] evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, [and] be clear when thou judgest.
Psa 51:5  Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Psa 51:6  Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden [part] thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
Psa 51:7  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Psa 51:8  Make me to hear joy and gladness; [that] the bones [which] thou hast broken may rejoice.
Psa 51:9  Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Psa 51:10  Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
And then there is this enlightening statement made by Christ Himself in the garden of Eden:
Gen 3:22  And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
In its positive application, black is the health and well being of the flesh. Black, being the opposite of white, darkness being the opposite of light, is not able to see beyond the flesh, but black sees God in the flesh. Black is a color which, even in its positive application is intimately connected to the spiritually immature.

In its negative application black typifies a famine of the word, leading to spiritual starvation and spiritual ignorance and spiritual darkness.

The Eight Hebrew Words Which Are Translated 'Black'

There are eight Hebrew words which the King James translators have chosen to translate as black. Those eight words are:
1) H7838
shâchôr  shâchôr
shaw-khore', shaw-khore'
>From H7835; properly dusky, but also (absolutely) jetty: - black.

Positive

Lev 13:31 And if the priest look on the plague of the scall, and, behold, it [be] not in sight deeper than the skin, and [that there is] no black hair in it; then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague of the scall seven days:

Song 1:5  I am  black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.

Song 5:11  His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.

Negative

Zec 6:2  In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses;
2) H7835
shâchar
shaw-khar'
A primitive root (rather identical with H7836 through the idea of the duskiness of early dawn); to be dim or dark (in color): - be black.
This word appears but once in the Old Testament:
Job 30:26  When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness.
Job 30:27  My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me.
Job 30:28  I went mourning without the sun: I stood up, and I cried in the congregation.
Job 30:29  I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.
Job 30:30  My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat.
3) H6937
qâdar
kaw-dar
A primitive root; to be ashy, that is, dark colored; by implication to mourn (in sackcloth or sordid garments): - be black (-ish), be (make) dark (-en), X heavily, (cause to) mourn.

Positive

(1 Ki 18:45 KJV)  And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel.

Negative

Jer 4:27  For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.
Jer 4:28  For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed [it], and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.

Jer 8:21  For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me.
Jer 8:22  Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

Jer 14:1  The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth.
Jer 14:2  Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up.
Jer 14:3  And their nobles have sent their little ones to the waters: they came to the pits, and found no water; they returned with their vessels empty; they were ashamed and confounded, and covered their heads.
Jer 14:4  Because the ground is chapt, for there was no rain in the earth, the plowmen were ashamed, they covered their heads.
Jer 14:5  Yea, the hind also calved in the field, and forsook it, because there was no grass.
Jer 14:6  And the wild asses did stand in the high places, they snuffed up the wind like dragons; their eyes did fail, because there was no grass.
Jer 14:7  O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name's sake: for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee.

Eze 32:7  And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.
Eze 32:8  All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord GOD.
Eze 32:9  I will also vex the hearts of many people, when I shall bring thy destruction among the nations, into the countries which thou hast not known.
Eze 32:10  Yea, I will make many people amazed at thee, and their kings shall be horribly afraid for thee, when I shall brandish my sword before them; and they shall tremble at every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of thy fall.
There are many verses which mention the sun turning to darkness

Isa 13:10  For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
Isa 24:23  Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.

Eze 32:7  And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.
Joe 2:10  The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:
Joe 2:11  And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp [is] very great: for [he is] strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?

Joe 2:31  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
Joe 2:32  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

Joe 3:15  The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.

Amo 8:9  And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day:

Mic 3:5  Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.
Mic 3:6  Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.
4) H5508
sôchereth
so-kheh'-reth
Similar to H5507; probably a (black) tile (or tessara) for laying borders with: - black marble
This word also appears but once in the Old Testament, but it demonstrates that "all things are of God."
Est 1:5  And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace;
Est 1:6  Where were white, green, and blue, hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black, marble.
5) H380
'îyshôn
ee-shone'
Diminutive from H376; the little man of the eye; the pupil or ball; hence the middle (of night): - apple [of the eye], black, obscure.

Positive

Deu 32:8  When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
Deu 32:9  For the LORD'S portion [is] his people; Jacob [is] the lot of his inheritance.
Deu 32:10  He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

Negative

Pro 7:7  And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding,
Pro 7:8  Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,
Pro 7:9  In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:
Pro 7:10  And, behold, there met him a woman [with] the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.
6) H7840
shecharchôreth
shekh-ar-kho'-reth
>From H7835; swarthy: - black. This word appears but once in the Old Testament
Song 1:5  I am black [7835], but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
Song 1:6  Look not upon me, because I am black [7840], because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.
7) H3648
kâmar
kaw-mar'
A primitive root; properly to intertwine or contract, that is, (by implication) to shrivel (as with heat); figuratively to be deeply affected with passion (love or pity): - be black, be kindled, yearn.

Positive

Gen 43:30  And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there.

1 Ki 3:25  And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.
1 Ki 3:26  Then spake the woman whose the living child [was] unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, [but] divide [it].
1 Ki 3:27  Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she [is] the mother there

Negative

Lam 5:8  Servants have ruled over us:  there is none that doth deliver us out of their hand
Lam 5:9  We gat our bread with the peril of our lives because of the sword of the wilderness
Lam 5:10  Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine.
8) H7838
shachor (1007b); from H7835; black: - black (6)\

Positive

Song 1:4  Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.
Song 1:5  I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.

Song 5:10  My beloved [is] white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.
Song 5:11  His head [is as] the most fine gold, his locks [are] bushy, [and] black as a raven.
Song 5:12  His eyes [are] as [the eyes] of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, [and] fitly set.

Negative

Zec 6:1  And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.
Zec 6:2  In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses;
Zec 6:3  And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses.
Zec 6:4  Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord?
Zec 6:5   And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.
What do these "four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth" do? According to the book of Revelation they bring Christ to us, take away peace from us, bring a famine of the word to us and then we finally die; white...red...black...pale (green) horses of Revelation 6.

In Review

The Positive Application of The Color Black
A black hair is a sign of cleansed leprosy


The first time the word 'black appears in the King James is in Leviticus 13. A "black hair" is an indication that the flesh is healthy and is not leprous.
Lev 13:29  If a man or woman have a plague upon the head or the beard;
Lev 13:30  Then the priest shall see the plague: and, behold, if it [be] in sight deeper than the skin; [and there be] in it a yellow thin hair; then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it [is] a dry scall, even]a leprosy upon the head or beard.
Lev 13:31  And if the priest look on the plague of the scall, and, behold, it [be] not in sight deeper than the skin, and [that there is] no black hair in it; then the priest shall shut up [him that hath] the plague of the scall seven days:
Lev 13:32  And in the seventh day the priest shall look on the plague: and, behold, [if] the scall spread not, and there be in it no yellow hair, and the scall [be] not in sight deeper than the skin;
Lev 13:33  He shall be shaven, but the scall shall he not shave; and the priest shall shut up [him that hath] the scall seven days more:
Lev 13:34  And in the seventh day the priest shall look on the scall: and, behold, [if] the scall be not spread in the skin, nor [be] in sight deeper than the skin; then the priest shall pronounce him clean: and he shall wash his clothes, and be clean.
Lev 13:35 But if the scall spread much in the skin after his cleansing;
Lev 13:36  Then the priest shall look on him: and, behold, if the scall be spread in the skin, the priest shall not seek for yellow hair; he [is] unclean.
Lev 13:37 But if the scall be in his sight at a stay, and [that] there is black hair grown up therein; the scall is healed, he [is] clean: and the priest shall pronounce him clean.
Black Hair here is a sign of good physical, fleshly health in our 'first love.'
Son 1:1  The song of songs, which [is] Solomon's.
Son 1:2  Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love [is] better than wine.
Son 1:3  Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name [is as] ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.
Son 1:4  Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.
Son 1:5  I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
Son 1:6  Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; [but] mine own vineyard have I not kept.

Son 5:10  My beloved [is] white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.
Son 5:11  His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.

Negative


'Black heavens' mean judgment which in turn breaks the famine
Israel had not seen rain for 3 years when Elijah prayed for rain:
1 Ki 18:1  And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.
1 Ki 18:2  And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria.
1 Ki 18:43 And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, [There is] nothing. And he said, Go again seven times.
1 Ki 18:44  And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.
1 Ki 18:45  And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel.
The different Hebrew words for 'black' are often translated dark, and darkness, because it is darkness and lack of light with which the word 'black' is associated.
Psa 18:11  He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.
Ecc 2:13  Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.
God is, of course, the maker of both:
Isa 45:7  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].
He created darkness with a purpose in mind:
Isa 42:7  To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. ["spirits in prison"]

Isa 60:2  For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
And it is this fact that keeps Him hidden from men who cannot receive the truth. But for those who love and can receive Truth:
Isa 45:3  And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
Next week we will see how this concept has been carried over into the prophecies of the New Testament.