The Color Gray

Question?   -   Newsletter   -   New!
Meaning of Colors in the Bible
Black    -    Blue    -    Brown    -    Crimson
Green    -    Purple    -    Red
Scarlet    -    Vermilion    -    White    -    Yellow
What is the meaning of gray in God's word? Is hair of this color always a sign of wisdom? What huge mythical beast left a wake that looked like this pigment?

The English word "gray" is recorded 6 times in 6 King James Bible verses. These references to the color are derived from the Hebrew seybah (Strong's #H7872) which is translated as "gray hairs" or "gray head" in the KJV.

And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs (seybah) with sorrow to the grave.

It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs (seybah) of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave.

The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs (seybah).

The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head (seybah, Genesis 42:38, 44:31, Deuteronomy 32:25, Proverbs 20:29).

The Hoary Headed Ones

Interestingly, the Hebrew seybah used above to derive "gray" is also translated another 12 times as synonyms to this color. It is translated variously as "old age," "hoary head," "hoar head," "hoary," and "grayheaded." A hoary (hoar) headed individual is one who possesses locks that are gray in color.

And thou (Abraham) shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age (seybah).

Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head (seybah), and honor the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord.

Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head (seybah) go down to the grave in peace.

He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary (seybah).

Now also when I am old and grayheaded (seybah), O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come (Genesis 15:15, Leviticus 19:32, 1Kings 2:6, Job 41:32, Psalm 71:18, KJV).

A person with a hoary head has reached an advanced age that deserves to be respected. This look conveys to others that a person has reached a level of wisdom that has been achieved through experience, although this is not always the case.

I said, 'The aged should speak, and the multitude of years should teach wisdom.' . . . Great men are not always wise; neither do the aged understand justice (Job 32:7, 9, HBFV, see also Ecclesiastes 4:13).

The gray (hoary) head is a crown of glory if it is found in the way of righteousness (Proverbs 16:31, HBFV).

Hair color is created and maintained by the pigment melanin which is injected into each follicle by specialized cells. At a certain age (which varies from person to person), however, the amount of melanin injected decreases and eventually stops. Hairs without this pigment eventually turns gray and then white.

Appearances of the Color Gray

Job's questioning of God's wisdom, and his complaint that what happened to him was unfair (Job 38:2), received a personal response from the Lord. Part of the verbal correction he received entailed asking him if he could catch the mighty marine-based animal called a Leviathan (41:1). The beast could move so fast that it left an incredible gray wake.

He leaves a shining wake behind him; one would think the deep had gray hair! (Job 41:32, HCSB).

Agates, composed of silica, are one of several precious gemstones used in the High Priest's breatplate (Exodus 28:19, 39:12). It can be colorless or have several bands of this pigment as well as white or red.

Other precious gemstones that can possess this coloration are Chalcedony stones. Their name is derived from the ancient city of Chalcedon where they were believed to be first discovered. It is one of the gemstones God will use to adorn one of New Jerusalem's twelve foundations (Revelation 21:19). Other common colors found within these gems include variations of white, brown, green and blue.

More Info on Biblical Meaning of Gray

Abraham and Sarah are the first two people in the Bible to be labeled "old" and "well advanced in days" or aged (Genesis 18:11, HBFV).

An idiom is an expression whose meaning cannot be determined by the literal interpretation of the words. Three English idioms related to this color are the following.

A "gray area" is a concept or topic that is not clearly defined or that exists somewhere between two extreme positions. People who are referred to as "gray suits" are those who are in business, politics or government who, though unknown, make important decisions behind the scenes.

A "gray market" is one that operates between one that is legal (white market) and one that is illegal (black market). These markets sell products which are legal to own but which are illegal to fully use or can be used illegally.

Recommended Articles
Should Women Wear Only Long Hair?
Life of Abraham Timeline
Must We Forgive AND Forget?
Why Did Sarah Lie about Abraham?
Gemstones in High Priest's Breastplate
Mythical Animals in the Bible!
Meaning of Ten Virgins Parable
Funny Quotes About Growing Old!

Free Dictionary Idioms