I am a worm and not a man. (Psalm 22:6)
The Hebrew says, “I am a cochineal beetle, not a man.”
What can this possibly mean? The Tola, or cochineal beetle was used to make a scarlet, or crimson dye. In Mexico the beetle lives on the Opuntia Cacti, the “prickly pears”, and in the Middle East on a variety of oak, called Quercus Coccifera.
The females are wingless, and crawl about on the leaves and twigs of the oak obtaining sustenance. After mating, they cling tenaciously to the wood of the oak, and never move again until death. When the eggs are laid they remain beneath the body of the beetle, and when hatched, they live off the body of the mother beetle until they are fully grown. When she dies, she bursts open and the scarlet dye covers all her brood. After about three days her body shrinks in size and becomes white, and finally drops to the earth like snow.
This all quite amazing when applied to our Lord. “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Rev.1:5
He was nailed to Oak Tree posts, and remained there until He died. All His children were deemed to be crucified with Him, and He says to them, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” John 6:53. (A much misunderstood text.)
Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
“Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, (Hebrew Tola, the cochineal beetle) they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18.
Matthew 27:27-28. “The Governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium . . . and they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe (Coccinos, the Greek equivalent of Tola, from which we get our word Cochineal) on Him.”
Exodus 26:1. “You shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine woven linen and blue, purple, and scarlet; (Hebrew Tola) with artistic designs of cherubim you shall weave them.” This is where Tola first appears in the Bible.
(Note. The red dye used to be called Carmine, a strong colour that was fast, never fading under intense light or heat. It used to be the most permanent of all natural colourings. It was also used to make rouge, and lipstick in earlier days. Carmine was used by Michaelangelo, Vermeer and Tintoretto.)