WHITE (the tr. of several Heb. and Gr. words, principally לָבַנ֒, H4235, and λευκός, G3328). In the OT “white” serves to indicate the “natural” appearance of light-colored objects: byssus, linen (Esth 1:6), and certain other cloths and materials; the hair of the elderly (Hos 7:9 KJV); goats (Gen 30:35); teeth, wool, milk, leprosy (Lev 13:3); manna, etc.
One can obtain pure white color bleaching by long exposure to the sun or by using fumes of burning sulphur by draping cloth over a rack above the flame. Men were traditionally the masters of this work. The washing process is alluded to in Psalm 51:7 for purification of the sinful man.
In the NT whitewash on sepulchres along the way marked them out so that the passers-by might avoid contamination (Matt 23:27); it was believed that any one who touched a sepulchre would become contaminated (Num 19:16). See also Color, Colors.