In this article, we will look at the color yellow in the Bible. We will see what the Bible says about the spiritual and symbolic meaning. So, grab your Bible and let’s learn…
When it comes to cheerful colors, I think we can confidently say that yellow takes the cake. We think of the sun, lemons, summer-time, and so many other bright things.
Even this quote from Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe conveys what most of us think of the color yellow,
“We find from experience that yellow excites a warm and agreeable impression … The eye is gladdened, the heart expanded and cheered, a glow seems at once to breathe toward us.”
But when trying to figure out the Biblical symbolic meaning, we have to look at one source, and that’s scripture. From there, we can come to our conclusion.
Yellow in the Bible: An In-depth Look (Kind Of)
You may have read the title of this section and thought…what does “kind of” mean. Well, the thing is that color yellow isn’t really mentioned much in scripture. So, we can only go so far in our study of it.
How many times is the color yellow mentioned in the Bible?
The color yellow only occurs 4 times in 4 verses in the KJV. And three out of those four occurrences deal with symptoms of a plague.
What does yellow mean in the Hebrew?
The first three occurrences are from describing hair that has turned yellow because of sickness:
צָהֹבtsâhôb, tsaw-obe’; from H6668; golden in color:—yellow.
This word for yellow is mentioned in Psalms 68 to describe the feathers of a dove:
יְרַקְרַקyᵉraqraq, yer-ak-rak’; from the same as H3418; yellowishness:—greenish, yellow.
Finding Meaning Outside the Word, Yellow
From what we can gather from the use of yellow in scripture is that it’s connected to sickness. But we shouldn’t stop there, the color yellow is represented in many symbols of the Bible. Four that stand out are fire, gold, honey, and oil! All are yellow in color and carry a rich spiritual meaning.
Fire is Yellow
We can argue that fire is also red, orange, and even blue at times. But it is also yellow, so we see a connection between the color and element.
Fire is a chemical combustion that releases heat and light. It was used daily as part of the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament. We see it also used both in a negative and positive stance.
For one God is called an all consuming fire in Hebrews 12:29. He showed up to Moses in a burning bush, and the Holy Spirit uses the refiner’s fire to purify us. This is known as Holy fire! It is the fire that brings forth purification and cleansing.
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
But the Lord tests the hearts. – Proverbs 17:3
For the Biblical authors fire portrayed God’s power, protection, and holiness. Fire is even seen in heaven. (Isaiah 6)
But fire also represents God’s anger and judgement. It says in Deuteronomy 4:24 that God is a jealous God and that is a consuming fire. We see stories like Sodom and Gomorrah being destroyed by fire and the lake of fire being reserved for the devil.
Gold is Yellow
that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, -1 Peter 1:7-8
Like fire, gold is RICH in symbolic meaning and it happens to be yellow as well. Gold is usually symbolic of wealth, royalty, glory, worship (the Tabernacle and temple), purification (as gold is heated to melt out impurities), and heaven (streets of gold).
Jesus was given 3 gifts at His birth and gold was one of them.
Oil is Yellow
Olive oil is mentioned throughout scripture and it happens to naturally be yellow. It was used in making Anointing oil. This makes yellow have a symbolic meaning of anointing, God’s presence, the Holy Spirit, and more.
Moreover the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 23 “Also take for yourself quality spices—five hundred shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much sweet-smelling cinnamon (two hundred and fifty shekels), two hundred and fifty shekels of sweet-smelling cane, 24 five hundred shekels of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and a hin of olive oil. 25 And you shall make from these a holy anointing oil, an ointment compounded according to the art of the perfumer. It shall be a holy anointing oil. – Exodus 30:22-25
Honey is Yellow
Honey was sourced wild and domesticated in Bible times. It was considered a luxury and even referred to as medicine (Proverbs 16:24). God promised His people a land flowing with milk and honey. This makes honey’s symbolism to represent God’s promises, prosperity, and blessing.
Honey being naturally sweet carries this imagery of delight. We see this in Psalm 19:10 that fear of the Lord is even sweeter than honey.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
In Isaiah 7 we see honey take a different symbolic meaning. This once beautiful symbol of prosperity, blessing, and abundance now turns into judgement and scarcity.
The Symbolic and Spiritual Meaning of Yellow
|SPIRITUAL MEANING OF YELLOW||BIBLE REFERENCE|
|Oil – Anointing/Presence of God|
Exodus 30:22-25, 1 Samuel 16:13
|Fire – Purification/Judgement||Hebrews 12:29, Zechariah 13:9, |
Proverbs 17:3, 1 Corinthians 3:13-15
|Honey – Promises/Blessing/Delight||Proverbs 16:24, Psalm 81:16, Exodus 3:8,|
|Sickness and Leprosy||Leviticus 13:30|
|Glory and God’s Presence||Daniel 10, Ezekiel 8:2|
Bible Verses about Yellow
Since there are so few verse on yellow, I thought I would share them below.
Leviticus 13:30, 32, 36 NIV – 30 the priest is to examine the sore, and if it appears to be more than skin deep and the hair in it is yellow and thin, the priest shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease on the head or chin. …
32 On the seventh day the priest is to examine the sore, and if it has not spread and there is no yellow hair in it and it does not appear to be more than skin deep, …
36 the priest is to examine them, and if he finds that the sore has spread in the skin, he does not need to look for yellow hair; they are unclean.
Psalm 68:13 NIV – 13 Even while you sleep among the sheep pens, the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver, its feathers with shining gold.”
Discover More Colors in the Bible
Now that you have read about yellow, are you are hungry to learn more on colors? If you answered yes, I then encourage you to check out my Ultimate Guide to Colors in the Bible. This goes deep into everything that deals with colors in the Bible.
If you would like to learn about individual colors, then click on the links below:
Dreaming of Colors?
Have you ever had a dream where a particular color stands out? Perhaps yellow has been highlighted in your dream. There could be a specific thing the Lord is wanting to tell you through that color! Check out to learn more.
I hope you have enjoyed this study on the color yellow in the Bible. I encourage you keep going deeper in the God’s Word. There is so much we can learn from Him.
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…