The first and final visions of Zechariah include the Hebrew Bible’s only descriptions of horses in terms of their color. The color terms employed have long sparked debate about whether these horses have realistic or imaginative colors, the significance of these colors for the interpretation of Zechariah’s visions, and whether technical or ordinary color terms are most appropriate for translating them today. Recent genetic studies of the coat color of ancient horses prompt a new consideration of these terms in Zechariah. This article combines Athalya Brenner’s textual analysis of the color terms in the Hebrew Bible with a list of genetically probable horse coat colors in Iron Age Israel in order to produce working translations of these terms for American audiences. This list of genetically probable horse coat colors results from the integration of David Anthony’s study of the initial domestication of horses with Arne Ludwig et al.’s genetic study of horse coat color in the ancient world. The evaluation of current genetic analyses of ancient horse coat colors in light of the broader use of color terms in the Hebrew Bible produces translations of these terms that are as precise as possible, given current genetic evidence, and sensitive to the contours of the source and target languages.

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