Golden moments of the Bible

History and facts | Mythology 18 May 2018

Role of gold in Bible

Did you know that gold is mentioned more than 400 times in the Bible?
Gold plays a prominent role in the Bible and is held in high regard for the strength of its value, purity, and resilience. Here is a look at a few instances of the same.

Gold in events

Gold makes an integral appearance in some of the pivotal narratives within the Bible. For instance, the Exodus traces the story of Moses who was receiving the 10 commandments from God himself atop Mount Sinai, wayward Israelites on the foothills made an idol of a gold calf from their gold earrings and started to worship it.

The Exodus’ description of Tabernacle’s construction is replete with gold as the building material. God handed the blueprint for the construction of the Tabernacle (a dwelling) to Moses, which the Israelites followed obediently. According to the narration, gold was being beaten into plates for overlay, sheets, and even thread for garments used by the high priest.

The Battle of Jericho was the first battle of the Israelites in their conquest of Canaan. According to Joshua, Moses' assistant and successor, God commanded that the gold captured from the city of Jericho be used in the sanctuary.

Three hundred years later, Solomon, king of the united territories of Israel and Judah, made a Holy Temple with gold that superseded Mosses’ Tabernacle. The temple's lamp-stands, utensils, forks, bowls, pitchers, basins, cups, etc., were all made of gold. The inner shrine – Holy of Holies – and the Holy Ark housing the original tablets of the ten commandments were overlaid with gold too. At today's prices, the gold in Solomon's Temple would probably be valued at USD 50 billion.

Gold in parables

In many instances, gold is also used as an allegory to inculcate the faith’s ideologies upon its followers. For example, in the parable of the Bags of Gold, a man entrusted his wealth to three servants so that they could grow it while he’s away. The master rewarded the two servants who made an earning out of their share but was angry with the servant who did nothing. The moral of the story is in the context of stewardship on how one’s supposed to take care of what God has entrusted them with. The story preaches to channelize one’s interests, skills, and talent for the benefit of others instead of just keeping it all for oneself.

From start to finish

References to gold prevail throughout the Bible, starting with The Genesis and until the Revelation, an apocalyptic document in the New Testament.

In The Genesis, which refers to creation, gold is said to be available in abundance to Adam and Eve. This first book of the Old Testament associates gold with goodness as it is God’s creation.

In The Revelation, which refers to recreation, gold is used to build a city – New Jerusalem – where God will ultimately live with his followers.

The First Corinthians, one of Apostle Paul’s epistles impresses that gold’s purity withstands fire.

Gold is used to emphasise upon wisdom, faith and knowledge in the Christian tenets. To know more about the role gold plays in the lives of the citizens of the world, read: What is the connotation of gold in your religion?

Sources:
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Gold Glossary

Kaasu Maalai

‘Kaasu’ means money and ‘mala’ means necklace. Popular among Hindu women in Kerala, kaasumala consists of gold coins joined to form a neckpiece. The coins are engraved with a likeness of Goddess Lakshmi. In Hindu tradition, Lakshmi is believed to be the symbol of wealth and prosperity.

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