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Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

Hebrew Keceph , Greek Arguros . The only one of the four metals, gold, silver, brass, and iron, not mentioned until after the deluge. Abraham paid Ephron for the cave of Machpelah "400 shekels of silver, current money with the merchant" ( Genesis 23:16). By this time it had become a recognized standard of value and medium of exchange. It probably was not coined, but bars of silver were probably formed in conventional shapes and marked with some sign to note their weight. The thousand ("Pieces" Is Not In The Hebrew) of silver given by Abimelech to Abraham probably indicate the value of the "sheep and oxen," etc., which he gave ( Genesis 20:14-16). (See Money .) Silver was brought to Solomon in lavish abundance from Arabia and Tarshish (In Plates Like The Cingalese Sacred Writing Tablets) .  2 Chronicles 9:14;  2 Chronicles 9:21;  1 Kings 10:21-27. Idols were generally wood inside, plated over with silver ( Jeremiah 10:9;  Isaiah 30:22;  Isaiah 40:19;  Hosea 13:2;  Habakkuk 2:19).

It was used for women's ornaments,  Genesis 24:53; cups,  Genesis 44:2; sockets and chapiters of the pillars of the tabernacle,  Exodus 26:19;  Exodus 27:10;  Exodus 38:17; the two trumpets,  Numbers 10:2; the temple candlesticks, etc.,  1 Chronicles 28:15-17; the model shrines of Diana,  Acts 19:24. There being mines ("vein") of silver and "dust of gold" is accurately noted in  Job 28:1 (See Metals .) The Lord, with perfect wisdom and love, leaves His people in affliction till, their dross being purified, He sees them reflecting His holy image; just as a "refiner of silver" sits watching the melting silver until he sees his own image reflected, when he knows the silver has been long enough in the furnace and withdraws it ( Malachi 3:3). (See Mines ; LEAD.) Captain Burton's discovery of silver and gold and other metals in great abundance in the land of Midian, as well as the remains of ancient mine workings, remarkably confirms the Scripture account of Midian's wealth in the metals ( Numbers 31:9;  Numbers 31:22;  Numbers 31:50-54;  Judges 8:24-26). A forger would never have ascribed this kind of wealth to a nomadic people. (See Midian ; Paran

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [2]

A — 1: Ἀργύριον (Strong'S #694 — Noun Neuter — argurion — ar-goo'-ree-on )

is rendered "silver" in  Acts 3:6;  8:20 , RV (AV, "money"); 20:33;  1—Corinthians 3:12 (metaphorical);   1—Peter 1:18 . See Money , Piece.

A — 2: Ἄργυρος (Strong'S #696 — Noun Masculine — arguros — ar'-goo-ros )

akin to argos, "shining," denotes "silver." In each occurrence in the NT it follows the mention of gold,  Matthew 10:9;  Acts 17:29;  James 5:3;  Revelation 18:12 .

 Luke 15:8Piece.

B — 1: Ἀργύρεος (Strong'S #693 — Adjective — argureos — ar-goo'-reh-os )

signifies "made of silver,"  Acts 19:24;  2—Timothy 2:20;  Revelation 9:20 .

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [3]

A. Noun.

Keseph ( כֶּסֶף , Strong'S #3701), “silver; money; price; property.” This word has cognates in Akkadian, Ugaritic, Phoenician, and Aramaic. It occurs about 402 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods.

This word represents the “metal ore silver”: “Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer” (Prov. 25:4; cf. Job 28:1).

Keseph may signify the “metal silver,” or what has been refined from silver ore: “And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold …” (Gen. 24:53). As a precious metal “silver” was not as valuable as gold—probably because it is not so rare: “And all king Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon” (1 Kings 10:21).

“Silver” was often a form of wealth. This is the meaning of keseph in Gen. 13:2 (the first biblical occurrence): “And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.” Silver pieces (not coins) were used as money: “Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man’s money into his sack …” (Gen. 42:25). Frequently the word absolutely (by itself) and in the singular form means “pieces of silver”: “Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver …” (Gen. 20:16). In Lev. 25:50 the word is used in the general sense of “money, value, price”: “And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he was sold to him unto the year of jubilee: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years.…”

Since it was a form of wealth, “silver” often was one of the spoils of war: “The kings came, they fought; … they got no spoils of silver” (Judg. 5:19, RSV).

This word may be used in the sense of “valuable property”: “Notwithstanding, if he [the slave who has been beaten] continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money” (Exod. 21:21).

Keseph sometimes represents the color “silver”: “Though ye have lain among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold” (Ps. 68:13).

B. Verb.

Kasaph means “to long for.” Some scholars derive keseph from this verb which occurs 5 times in the biblical text. Kasaph means “to long for” in the sense of “to be pale by reason of longing”: “And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?” (Gen. 31:30).

Webster's Dictionary [4]

(1): ( v. t.) To make hoary, or white, like silver.

(2): ( a.) Precious; costly.

(3): ( a.) Giving a clear, ringing sound soft and clear.

(4): ( a.) Sweet; gentle; peaceful.

(5): ( n.) Anything having the luster or appearance of silver.

(6): ( n.) Coin made of silver; silver money.

(7): ( n.) A soft white metallic element, sonorous, ductile, very malleable, and capable of a high degree of polish. It is found native, and also combined with sulphur, arsenic, antimony, chlorine, etc., in the minerals argentite, proustite, pyrargyrite, ceragyrite, etc. Silver is one of the "noble" metals, so-called, not being easily oxidized, and is used for coin, jewelry, plate, and a great variety of articles. Symbol Ag (Argentum). Atomic weight 107.7. Specific gravity 10.5.

(8): ( v. t.) To cover with silver; to give a silvery appearance to by applying a metal of a silvery color; as, to silver a pin; to silver a glass mirror plate with an amalgam of tin and mercury.

(9): ( v. t.) To polish like silver; to impart a brightness to, like that of silver.

(10): ( v. i.) To acquire a silvery color.

(11): ( a.) Resembling silver.

(12): ( a.) Of or pertaining to silver; made of silver; as, silver leaf; a silver cup.

(13): ( a.) Bright; resplendent; white.

(14): ( n.) The color of silver.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [5]

Silver. In very early times, silver was used for ornaments,  Genesis 24:53, and for vessels of various kinds. Images for idolatrous worship were made of silver, or overlaid with it,  Exodus 20:23;  Hosea 13:2;  Habakkuk 2:19;  Baruch 6:39, and the manufacture of silver shrines for Diana was a trade in Ephesus.  Acts 19:24. But its chief use was as a medium of exchange, and throughout the Old Testament, we find "silver" used for money, like the French, argent .

Silver was brought to Solomon from Arabia,  2 Chronicles 9:14, and from Tarshish,  2 Chronicles 9:21, which supplied the markets of Tyre.  Ezekiel 27:12. From Tarshish, it came in the form of plates,  Jeremiah 10:9, like those on which the sacred books of the Singhalese are written to this day. Spain appears to have been the chief source whence silver was obtained by the ancients. Possibly, the hills of Palestine may have afforded some supply of this metal. Silvers mixed with alloy is referred to in  Jeremiah 6:30, and a finer kind, either purer in itself or more thoroughly purified, is mentioned in  Proverbs 8:19.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

This was a source of wealth from early days. Abraham was rich in silver,  Genesis 13:2; but with Solomon gold was so plentiful that silver was 'nothing accounted of.'  1 Kings 10:21 . The silver and gold which he had amassed were, alas, afterwards carried away to enrich their enemies because of the sins of Israel.  2 Chronicles 12:9 . Silver was also the common specie of commerce, 'pieces of silver' being weighed long before money was coined.  Genesis 23:16 . Silver was used for the sockets, hooks, etc., in the tabernacle, the money paid for the redemption of the Israelites being applied to this purpose.  Exodus 30:11-16;  Exodus 38:25-28 . The house of God is founded on redemption.  Exodus 36:24-36;  Exodus 38:10-17 .

Silver is found in the earth ( Job 28:1 ), and before it can be compared to 'the words of the Lord' it must be purified seven times.  Psalm 12:6;  Proverbs 25:4 .

THE Silver Cord in  Ecclesiastes 12:6 seems to refer to 'the thread of life,' which is loosed, or removed, when death ensues.

King James Dictionary [7]


1. A metal of a white color and lively brilliancy. It has neither taste nor smell its specific gravity  Isaiah 10.552 , according to Bergman, but according to Kirwan it is less. A cubic foot weighs about 660 lbs. Its ductility is little inferior to that of gold. It is harder and more elastic that tin of iron. It is found native in thin plates or leaves, or in fine threads, or it is found mieralized by various substances. Great quanitities of the metal are furnished by the mines of South America, and it is found in small quantities in Norway, Germany, Spain, the United State, &c. 2. Money coin made of silver. 3. Any thing of soft splendor. Pallas-piteous of her plaintive cries, In slumber clos'd her silver-streaming eyes.


1. Made of silver as a silver cup. 2. White like silver as silver hair. Others on silver lakes and rivers bath'd Their downy breast. 3. White, or pale of a pale luster as the silver moon. 4. SOft as a silver voice or sound.

Holman Bible Dictionary [8]

 1 Chronicles 29:4 Psalm 12:6 Proverbs 17:3 Ezekiel 22:20-22 1 Kings 10:27 2 Chronicles 9:27 Psalm 66:10 Isaiah 48:10 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 Psalm 12:6 Job 28:10-15 Proverbs 3:13-14 Proverbs 8:10 8:19 Proverbs 16:16CoinsGold

LeBron Matthews

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [9]

כספּ? ,  Genesis 20:16; αργυριον ,  1 Peter 1:15;  Acts 3:4;  Acts 20:33; a well known metal, of a white shining colour; next in value to gold. It does not appear to have been in use before the deluge; at least Moses says nothing of it; he speaks only of the metals brass and iron,  Genesis 4:22 . But in Abraham's time it was become common, and traffic was carried on with it,  Genesis 23:2;  Genesis 23:15 . Yet it was not then coined, but was only in bars or ingots; and in commerce was always weighed.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [10]

One of the precious metals and the one most commonly used as coin among all nations. It is first mentioned in Scripture in the history of Abraham,  Genesis 13:2   20:16   23:16 , and was used in constricting the tabernacle,  Exodus 26:19,32 , and afterwards the temple,  1 Chronicles 29:4 . In employing it as a medium of trade, the ancient Hebrews weighed it out, instead of having coins. In the times of the New Testament there were coins. See Shekel , and Money .

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [11]

 Exodus 36:24 (c) This precious metal is often used as a type of redemption. In this passage it refers probably to redemption as the foundation of the sinner's safety and his standing. The boards represent the Christians, while the silver sockets represent redemption. In the sandy desert, as well as in this wicked world, the sinner needs a sure foundation, a safe resting place. These sockets perhaps weighed one hundred pounds each. The board therefore rested on a solid foundation in the sand. So we "stand on redemption ground." We do not read of silver being in Heaven. No one in Heaven needs to be redeemed. (See also  Exodus 30:15, and other places).

Easton's Bible Dictionary [12]

 Genesis 13:2 23:15,16 Exodus 26:19 27:17 Numbers 7:13,19 10:2

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [13]

Silver . See Mining and Metals.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [14]

SILVER. —See Money.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [15]

( כֶּסֶ , Keseph, often rendered "money"). There is no mention of this metal in Scripture until the time of Abraham. Before that time brass and iron appear to have been the only metals in use ( Genesis 4:22). Abraham was rich in gold and silver, as well as in flocks and herds, and silver in his day was in general circulation as money. It was uncoined, and estimated always by weight. Coined money was not in use among the Israelites until an advanced period of their history. The Romans are said to have had only copper money until within five years of the first Punic war, when they began to coin silver (Pliny, Hist. Nat. 30, 3). Their coins were extensively introduced into Judnea after it became a Roman province. Kitto.

In early times, according to the Bible, silver was used for ornaments ( Genesis 24:53), for cups ( Genesis 44:2), for the sockets of the pillars of the tabernacle ( Exodus 26:19, etc.), their hooks and fillets, or rods (27:10), and their capitals (38:17); for dishes, or chargers, and bowls ( Numbers 7:13), trumpets (10:2), candlesticks ( 1 Chronicles 28:15), tables ( 1 Chronicles 28:16), basins ( 1 Chronicles 28:17), chains ( Isaiah 40:19), the settings of ornaments ( Proverbs 25:11), studs ( Song of Solomon 1:11), and crowns ( Zechariah 6:11). Images for idolatrous worship were made of silver or overlaid with it ( Exodus 20:23;  Hosea 13:2;  Habakkuk 2:19; Habakkuk 1  Baruch 6:39), and the manufacture of silver shrines for Diana was a trade in Ephesus ( Acts 19:24). But its chief use was as a medium of exchange, and throughout the Old Test. we find Keseph, "silver," used for money; like the Fr. Argent. To this general usage there is but one exception. (See Metal).

Vessels and ornaments of gold and silver were common in Egypt in the times of Osirtasen I and Thothmes III, the contemporaries of Joseph and Moses (Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. 3, 225). In the Homeric poems we find indications of the constant application of silver to purposes of ornament land luxury. It was used for basins (Od. 1, 137; 4, 53), goblets (Il. 23, 741), baskets (Od. 4, 125), coffers. (Il. 18, 413), sword hilts (1, 219; Od. 8, 404), doorhandles (1, 442), and clasps for the greaves (Il. 3, 331). Door posts (Od. 7, 89) and lintels (ibid. 90) glittered with silver ornaments; baths (4, 128), tables (10, 355), bows(Il. 1, 49; 24, 605), scabbards (11, 31), sword belts (18, 598), belts for the shield (ibid. 480), chariot poles (5, 729), and the naves of wheels (ibid.) were adorned with silver; women braided their hair with silverthread (17, 52), and cords appear to have been made of it (Od. 10, 24); while we constantly find that swords (Il. 2, 45; 23, 807) and sword belts (11, 237), thrones, or chairs of state (Od. 8, 65), and bedsteads (23, 200) were studded with silver. Thetis of the silver feet was probably so called from the silver ornaments on her sandals (Il. 1, 538). The practice of overlaying silver with gold, referred to in Homer (Od. 6, 232; 23, 159), is nowhere mentioned in the Bible, though inferior materials were covered with silver ( Proverbs 26:23).

Silver was brought to Solomon from Arabia ( 2 Chronicles 9:14) and from Tarshish ( 2 Chronicles 9:21), which supplied the markets of Tyre ( Ezekiel 27:12). From Tarshish it came in the form of plates ( Jeremiah 10:9), like those on which the sacred books of the Singhalese are written to this day (Tennent, Ceylon, 2, 102). The silver bowl given as a prize by Achilles was the work of Sidonian artists (Il. 23, 743; comp. Od. 4, 618). In Homer (Il. 2, 857), Alybe is called the birthplace of silver, and was probably celebrated for its mines. But Spain appears to have been the chief source whence silver was obtained by the ancients. Possibly the hills of Palestine may have afforded some supply of this metal. "When Volney was among the Druses, it was mentioned to him that an ore affording silver and lead had been discovered on the declivity of a hill in Lebanon" (Kitto, Phys. Hist. of Palestine, p. 73).

For an account of the knowledge of obtaining and refining silver possessed by the ancient Hebrews, (See Mine). The whole operation of mining is vividly depicted in  Job 28:1-11, and the process of purifying metals is frequently alluded to in  Psalms 12:6;  Proverbs 25:4, while it is described with some minuteness in  Ezekiel 21:20-22. Silver mixed with. alloy is referred to in  Jeremiah 6:30, and a finer kind, either purer in itself or more thoroughly purified, is mentioned in  Proverbs 8:19. Smith. There is a beautiful allusion in the prophecy of Malachi to the refining of this precious, metal. The Lord of hosts is represented "sitting as a refiner and purifier of silver" ( Malachi 3:3). In the process of refining silver, the workman sits with his eye steadily fixed on the surface of the molten metal, and the operation is only known to be complete when he sees his own image reflected in it. So in this passage we have a beautiful figure descriptive of God's purpose in placing his people in the furnace of affliction, while he is, as it were, seated by their side, his all seeing eye being steadily intent on the work of purifying, and his wisdom and love engaged on their behalf until his own glorious image is reflected on their souls, and the work of purifying is fully accomplished. The way in which silver is spoken of in the book of Job ( Job 28:1), "Surely there is a vein for the silver and a place for gold where they fine it," affords one of the many instances of the scientific accuracy of Scripture. An eminent geologist has remarked on the distinction here drawn, and which the discoveries of modern science have made clear, between the "Vein of silver" and "dust of gold," indicating that there are Mines of the one and not of the other (Murchison , Siluria, p. 457) .

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [16]

sil´vẽr ( כּסף , keṣeph  ; ἀργύριον , argúrion , ἄργυρος , árguros ): Silver was known in the earliest historic times. Specimens of early Egyptian and Babylonian silver work testify to the skill of the ancient silversmiths. In Palestine, silver objects have been found antedating the occupation of the land by the Hebrews. This metal was used for making all kinds of ornamental objects. In the mound of Gezer were found bowls, vases, ladles, hairpins, rings and bracelets of silver. The rings and settings for scarabs or seals were commonly of this metal. The first mention of silver in the Bible is in   Genesis 13:2 , where it says that Abraham was rich in cattle, in silver and gold. At that time it was commonly used in exchange in the form of bars or other shapes. Coins of that metal were of a much later date ( Genesis 20:16;  Genesis 23:15;  Genesis 24:53;  Genesis 37:28 , etc.). Booty was collected in silver ( Joshua 6:19 ); tribute was paid in the same ( 1 Kings 15:19 ). It was also used for jewelry ( Genesis 44:2 ). The Children of Israel systematically despoiled the Egyptians of their silver before the exodus ( Exodus 3:22;  Exodus 11:2;  Exodus 12:35 , etc.).  Exodus 20:23 implies that idols were made of it. It was largely used in the fittings of the tabernacle (Ex 26 ff) and later of the temple (2 Ch 2 ff).

It is likely that the ancient supply of silver came from the mountains of Asia Minor where it is still found in abundance associated with lead as argentiferous galena, and with copper sulfide. The Turkish government mines this silver on shares with the natives. The Sinaitic peninsula probably also furnished some silver. Later Phoenician ships brought quantities of it from Greece and Spain. The Arabian sources are doubtful ( 2 Chronicles 9:14 ). Although silver does not tarnish readily in the air, it does corrode badly in the limestone soil of Palestine and Syria. This probably partly accounts for the small number of objects of this metal found. On the site of the ancient jewelers' shops of Tyre the writer found objects of gold, bronze, lead, iron, but none of silver.


Silver to be as stones in Jerusalem ( 1 Kings 10:27 ) typified great abundance (compare  Job 3:15;  Job 22:25;  Job 27:16; also  Isaiah 60:17;  Zechariah 9:3 ). The trying of men's hearts was compared to the refining of silver ( Psalm 66:10;  Isaiah 48:10 ). Yahweh's words were as pure as silver refined seven times ( Psalm 12:6 ). The gaining of understanding is better than the gaining of silver ( Proverbs 3:14; compare  Proverbs 8:19;  Proverbs 10:20;  Proverbs 16:16;  Proverbs 22:1;  Proverbs 25:11 ). Silver become dross denoted deterioration ( Isaiah 1:22;  Jeremiah 6:30 ). Breast and arms of silver was interpreted by Daniel to mean the inferior kingdom to follow Nebuchadnezzar's ( Daniel 2:32 ,  Daniel 2:39 ).

In the New Testament, reference should be made especially to  Acts 19:24;  James 5:3;  Revelation 18:12 .

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [17]

Silver. There is no mention of this metal in Scripture until the time of Abraham. Before that time brass and iron appear to have been the only metals in use . Abraham was rich in gold and silver, as well as in flocks and herds, and silver in his day was in general circulation as money. It was uncoined, and estimated always by weight. Coined money was not in use among the Israelites until an advanced period of their history. The Romans are said to have had only copper money until within five years of the first Punic war, when they began to coin silver. Their coins were extensively introduced into Judea after it became a Roman province.

Silver, as well as gold, is frequently mentioned in Scripture. They were both largely used by the Jews in the manufacture of articles of ornament, and of various vessels for domestic purposes, and also for the service of the temple. Many of the idols, and other objects belonging to the idolatrous nations, are stated to have been of silver. This metal was so abundant as to be little thought of in the days of Solomon, although it was at that time, and both before and long afterwards, the principal medium of exchange among the Jews—the only recognized standard or measure of value.