Coral in the Bible

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In the KJV Bible, the word coral comes from the Hebrew word ramah (Strong's Concordance #H7215). This Hebrew word is used only twice in the entirety of God's word.

Strong's defines ramah as referring to something that has a high value and translates the word as "coral," as does the BDB lexicon. Coral is one of the two major gemstones, mentioned in the Bible, which are produced organically (created by a living creature) as opposed to those created strictly by geological processes. The other organically made stone is pearl.

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All ten Bibles used in this series translate ramah as "coral" in both Job 28:18 and Ezekiel 27:16 (the only two places it is found). Job refers to this gemstone in relation to how far the attainment of wisdom is above its value. The prophet Ezekiel lists it as among the many goods the Syrians traded with the city of Tyre.

But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know the price of it . . . No mention shall be made of coral, or of crystal; and the price of wisdom is above rubies (Job 28:12 - 13, 18, Holy Bible Faithful Version).

Syria was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of the wares of thy making: they occupied in thy fairs with emeralds, purple, and broidered work, and fine linen, and coral, and agate (Ezekiel 27:16, KJV).

The gemstone is not mentioned in the Bible as being in the High Priest's breastplate, as a stone that decorated Lucifer before he became Satan, or as a foundation stone in the New Jerusalem. The modern English word "coral," which is not found in the New Testament, is derived from the Greek work korallion.

This naturally made gemstone is formed when tiny marine animals known as coral polyps gather to live in large colonies. The polyps take in calcium carbonate from the water and use it to excrete a hard protective covering around their bodies. When polyps die, they leave behind their protective "skeleton" which other polyps build upon.

Coral used for gems can be colored red, blue, violet, orange, pink, black and other colors. Due to their intense colors and glossy look, they have been used for jewelry and other decoration purposes since antiquity. This gemstone has been traditionally used to make cameos, figurines and beads. According to the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, the ancient Phoenicians used it to create beads to mount on collars and garments.


Coral was believed to give the wearer the ability to travel safely upon large expanses of water. This organic stone was also thought to cease the flow of blood from a wound, heal mental problems and provide wisdom. This brilliantly colored precious stone, it was additionally believed, could combat evil spells (Curious Lore of Precious Stones, pages 68 - 69).

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