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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Gold

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GOLD

1. Value.—The Bible references to gold are in terms of use and abuse, in accordance with the great fundamental truth, ‘The gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts’ (Haggai 2:8). Being the most precious of metals, it represents the possession and influence of wealth. It has a central place in the trilogy of life—length of days, riches, and honour (1 Chronicles 29:28). It seems to have a purchasing power over the other two—on the one hand in securing the conditions that tend to prolong life (Psalms 17:14; Psalms 73:7; Psalms 73:12), and on the other by influencing opinion in favour of its possessors (Matthew 19:25, James 2:2). As the highest quotation of earthly values, it supplies a standard for estimating what surpasses it (Job 28:17, Psalms 119:72; Psalms 119:127, Proverbs 3:14; Proverbs 8:10; Proverbs 16:16; 1 Peter 1:7; 1Pe_1:18). It is only when, as the most beautiful and precious material available, it is used to give visible form to the Divine glory that gold becomes a thing of worthlessness (Psalms 115:4, Isaiah 31:7; Isaiah 46:6). The blindness that led to such idolatrous perversion among the Gentiles (Acts 17:29) is also found among the Jews (Matthew 23:16-17).

2. Associated evil.—As the emblem of wealth, gold is closely connected with that covetousness in the will and heart of man which is described as the motive and meeting-place of all idolatries (Colossians 3:5). Job can plead that he has not made gold his hope (Job 31:24). Solomon is commended because he did not make request for riches (1 Kings 3:11). The deceitfulness of riches is given as one of the explanations of the unfruitful life (Matthew 13:22). The self-centred ambitions and gratifications of wealth are all against the perception and service of a Kingdom in which even the poor seek the enrichment of other lives (Mark 10:24, 2 Corinthians 6:10). The order given to the disciples forbidding them to take gold or silver with them on their journey of proclamation (Matthew 10:9), was not meant as a commendation of poverty for its own sake. Indeed, it was just because money, clothing, and the wayfarer’s staff were the often-proved necessaries of ordinary travel, that the omission of them in their case would impart to their message about the Kingdom a meaning of instantaneousness and urgency. The guest-law of the land would provide food and shelter for the passing stranger; and where they were asked to prolong their stay, those who were thus interested in their words would attend to their wants.

After playing many parts, such as being a medium of decorative art, a standard of value, and a means of good and evil in society, along with higher uses in the coinage of empires and the representation of the Godhead, gold renders its last symbolic service in providing a pavement for the feet of the saints (Revelation 21:21).

G. M. Mackie.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Gold'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/g/gold.html. 1906-1918.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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