Coral References In the Bible

Given the comments on the last post, I thought it time to give almost-a-religion-major Craig a work out.

The origin of the word coral is traced to Greek korllion and Latin coralium probably both derived from the early Hebrew goral meaning “small pebble”. In the Torah goral occurs in reference to small stones used in casting lots (Num. 33:54; Jonah 1:7). The word also may have denoted “a portion or an inheritance (Josh. 15:1; Ps. 125:3; Isa. 17:4), and a destiny, as assigned by God (Ps. 16:5; Dan. 12:13).”

In English translations the specific word coral also occurs:

Ezekiel 27:16 (text from NIV, text varies per translation)

‘Aram did business with you because of your many products; they exchanged turquoise, purple fabric, embroidered work, fine linen, coral and rubies for your merchandise.

Job 28:18 (text from NIV, text varies per translation)

Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention; the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.

Lamentations 4:7 (text from New American Standard, but occurs in the Amplified Bible as well)

Her consecrated ones were purer than snow,They were whiter than milk;They were more ruddy in body than corals,Their polishing was like lapis lazuli.

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

3 Replies to “Coral References In the Bible”

  1. This is a cool post: etymology, history, and a bit of science. I bet the bible passeges could be put into exact historical context (when and where were the respective passages written, would those people have had direct access to the riches of the sea?) I bet this could be researched more in depth. How and where did ancient civilizations get their corals?

  2. This is interesting and completely unexpected! I agree. Other historical references to coral include Pliny the Elder in “Natural History” and Ovid in “Metamorphosis”.

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