A comparatively scarce precious metal with a brilliant white color and remarkably resistant to oxidation. It melts at 960.8 C (1,861 F). Biblical references often refer to the process for refining silver (1 Chronicles 29:4;
Ezekiel 22:20-22). It is so malleable that it is beaten into sheets as thin as 0.00025 mm. Until about 500 B.C., silver was the most valuable metal in the Near East. Thus, in most of the Old Testament it is given a priority over gold. Only in Chronicles and Daniel is gold considered to have more worth. Hence the analogy that in Jerusalem silver was as common as stone (1 Kings 10:27;
2 Chronicles 9:27) is reflective of the lavish wealth of Solomon's empire. Coins were first minted after 700 B.C., but weight continued to be the most common standard of determining value. In the New Testament period, the drachma, a silver coin, was required for the Temple tax. Figuratively, refining silver is used in the Bible for testing human hearts (Psalms 66:10;
Isaiah 48:10; compare
1 Corinthians 3:10-15) and the purity of God's word (Psalms 12:6). Wisdom is declared to be of more value than silver (Job 28:10-15;
Proverbs 8:10,Proverbs 8:19;
Proverbs 16:16). See Coins; Gold; Money.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'SILVER'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".