Silver In The Bible

Silver is always a topic of interest in the Bible from both a historical and spiritual standpoint. Silver was and still is considered a precious metal and as a result, people have been stockpiling and hoarding it for centuries. As for the spiritual aspect, silver is often associated with heavenly things; and nothing compares to the treasure we will find there.

Silver has been used, as a precious metal in the making of jewelry and other accessories. Silver has also been used as currency and for trade. It is found on some other minerals like gold, but in lesser amounts. Silver has been a prized commodity among coin dealers, money exchanges and collectors throughout the years. Jesus wore a pure linen garment that was made with silver threads (Matthew 17:2-3), and Solomon even built his temple using silver (1 Kings 6:19).

The Bible contains numerous references to gold and silver. These references occur throughout the Pentateuch, (Torah or Law), the historical writings, and the prophetic books. Some of these references are merely incidental to the subject under discussion, and have no direct bearing upon the argument; others are very explicit in declaring the hostile attitude of God and His people toward these two metals. Apart from these latter references, there are others which contain an enormous amount of detailed information about metals. This includes how silver was obtained, its various forms as bullion, ore or manufactured article, its use in commerce, and its value in both home and foreign markets.

Silver is a chemical element and it occurs naturally in the world of living organisms. It is not found in pure form, but it can be alloyed with other metals. Just as with any other element, this one has its own distinct characteristics. Many people underestimate silver as a metal and opt to use other substances that have been proven to have negative effects on the body when ingested or inhaled (e.g., cigarettes, alcohol). However, having some knowledge about silver’s characteristics can help you reach more informed decisions about its usage.

Silver In The Bible

In Hebrew culture, thirty pieces of silver was not a lot of money. In fact, it was the exact price paid to the master of a slave if and when his slave was gored by an ox (Exodus 21:32). The slave’s death was compensated by the thirty pieces of silver. There are two other places in the Bible that specifically mention the amount of thirty pieces of silver, and they are directly linked. The first passage is in Zechariah, which contains a prophecy that is later fulfilled in the book of Matthew.

Leading up to the prophecy of the thirty pieces of silver is a description of a strange episode in Zechariah’s life. God had the prophet Zechariah play the part of a shepherd and care for a flock “doomed to slaughter” (Zechariah 11:4–14). God used this to illustrate a prophetic judgment against Israel for crucifying Christ, predicting the fall of Israel in AD 70 and the subsequent scattering of the nation. There are several elements in this passage that point to it as a prophecy about Jesus. First, Zechariah says he “got rid of the three shepherds” of the doomed flock (verse 8). The “three shepherds” are probably a reference to the three religious offices during Jesus’ day that worked to condemn Jesus: the elders, the scribes, and the chief priests (Matthew 16:21). Second, Zechariah breaks his two shepherding staffs. One is named Favor and is broken to symbolize the breaking of the Mosaic Covenant by the disobedient people and God’s setting aside His favor or providential care to allow judgment to come upon them (Zechariah 11:10). The second staff, named Union, is broken to represent the breaking up of the nation by the Romans.

Another prophetic reference is found in the thirty pieces of silver given to Zechariah after his work as a shepherd. He went to those he worked for and asked them to pay him what they thought he was worth. They gave him thirty pieces of silver, which he sarcastically calls a “handsome price” because it was such a small amount (Zechariah 11:13)—the price paid for a slave’s accidental death. The employers meant to insult Zechariah with this amount of money. Returning the insult, God tells Zechariah to “throw it to the potter,” and Zechariah tossed the money into the house of the Lord to be given to the potter.

These actions are a shockingly accurate and detailed prophecy, for when Judas Iscariot bargained with the leaders of Israel to betray the Lord Jesus, he asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” The murderous cabal then counted out for Judas “thirty pieces of silver” (Matthew 26:15). That’s all they considered Jesus to be worth.

Later, Judas was overcome with guilt for betraying Jesus, and, fulfilling Zechariah’s vivid prophecy, he threw the thirty silver coins into the temple (Matthew 27:3–5). The Jewish leaders used the thirty pieces of silver to buy a field from a potter, again as Zechariah had predicted (Matthew 27:6–10). It was in that field that Judas hanged himself.

Silver In The Bible

Psalm 12:6 ESV / 65 helpful votes 

The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.

Hosea 13:2 ESV / 57 helpful votes 

And now they sin more and more, and make for themselves metal images, idols skillfully made of their silver, all of them the work of craftsmen. It is said of them, “Those who offer human sacrifice kiss calves!”

Proverbs 25:4 ESV / 50 helpful votes 

Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel;

Zechariah 13:9 ESV / 41 helpful votes 

And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

Proverbs 17:3 ESV / 39 helpful votes 

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.

Jeremiah 6:30 ESV / 35 helpful votes 

Rejected silver they are called, for the Lord has rejected them.”

Genesis 13:2 ESV / 30 helpful votes 

Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.

Numbers 7:49 ESV / 29 helpful votes 

His offering was one silver plate whose weight was 130 shekels, one silver basin of 70 shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering;

Malachi 3:3 ESV / 28 helpful votes 

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.

Ezra 8:26 ESV / 27 helpful votes 

I weighed out into their hand 650 talents of silver, and silver vessels worth 200 talents, and 100 talents of gold,

Genesis 20:16 ESV / 26 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful

To Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. It is a sign of your innocence in the eyes of all who are with you, and before everyone you are vindicated.”

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