This dye was obtained by the Egyptians from the shell-fish Carthamus tinctorius; and by the Hebrews from the Coccus ilicis, an insect which infests oak trees, called kermes by the Arabians.
This colour was early known ( Genesis 38:28 ). It was one of the colours of the ephod ( Exodus 28:6 ), the girdle (8), and the breastplate (15) of the high priest. It is also mentioned in various other connections ( Joshua 2:18 ; 2 Sam 1:24 ; Lamentations 4:5 ; Nahum 2:3 ). A scarlet robe was in mockery placed on our Lord ( Matthew 27:28 ; Luke 23:11 ). "Sins as scarlet" ( Isaiah 1:18 ), i.e., as scarlet robes "glaring and habitual." Scarlet and crimson were the firmest of dyes, and thus not easily washed out.