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Precious Metals of the Bible

Precious Metals and Their Uses in the Bible

Precious metals are referenced throughout the Bible and used in various contexts throughout biblical history. Whether used for trade, currency or to construct buildings, precious metals played an important role in the biblical period. Silver and gold are mentioned more often than other precious metals, but metals like copper have played their role as well.

Gold and silver held great significance in biblical times, not only as forms of wealth and currency but also as symbols of purity, beauty, and divine favor.

Gold And Silver Uses in the Biblical Period

The earliest mention of gold was found in Genesis, referring to Havilah, a land rich in gold and onyx. Gold’s value was high in biblical times because of its rarity and shimmering beauty, much like today. It was so lightweight that transporting it was a simple task and it was easily used as a trade source. Silver was also used in several instances throughout biblical history for trade and jewelry.

Ancient Israelite and Egyptian rulers had large stores of silver and gold. Wealth in precious metals was a sign of political and economic stability and a statement of power, both spiritually and physically. The use of gold and silver became much more explicit in the use of precious metals in the creation of important historical works of architecture like the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:10-22), the Temple of Solomon, and the temple in Jerusalem.

Other Mentions of Uses of Gold and Silver in the Biblical Era 

  • The Tabernacle, constructed by Moses, utilized gold and silver for use as sheets and overlays.
  • King Nebuchadnezzar, popularly known as the king during the time of Daniel in the Lion’s Den, created a golden image of his liking that stood 60 cubits high and 6 cubits wide, approximately 90 feet high and 9 feet wide. It was a sign of showing his wealth as a king ruling over his people.
  • One famous story from The Last Supper is that of Judas, the man behind the ultimate betrayal of Jesus, who sold out for 30 pieces of silver.
  • In Genesis, Abraham was described as being “very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold” (Genesis 13:2).
  • Psalm 12:6 famously describes the words of the Lord as being “like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times.”

Other Metals Mentioned or Inferred in Biblical Times


While not as precious as gold or silver, bronze was widely used in biblical times for various purposes, including weapons, tools, and ceremonial objects. The bronze altar, for example, was a central feature in the tabernacle and temple rituals.


Though not typically considered a precious metal, iron is mentioned in the Bible, particularly in reference to weapons and tools. Iron technology was significant for military strength and agricultural development.


Tin is mentioned in the Bible in connection with bronze production. It was often sourced from places like Tarshish (possibly modern-day Spain) and used as an alloy with copper to create bronze.


Lead is referenced in the Bible in various contexts, including weights and measurements. It was also used for sealing purposes and in construction.


Various alloys and composite materials were likely used in biblical times, though specific compositions are not always mentioned. For example, brass (an alloy of copper and zinc) may have been used alongside bronze.

In today’s time, the use of gold and silver is every bit as important as it was in the days of Moses and Abraham. Even though we are out of the biblical era, we can relive some of the memories and events in the Bible through Bible coins and other commemorative pieces.

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