“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” ~ Psalm 12:6 KJV
Purity is absolute: Pureness means flawless and undefiled. God’s words are Truth. They can be tested for eternity and never change. God wants us to know that we can rely on His words. God’s words stand up to any test. God’s words are a testament to who He is. That is clearly understood by man, as throughout history, even an imperfect man is known by whether or not he keeps his word:
“For I am the LORD, I change not: ….” ~ Malachi 3:6 KJV
Properties of silver: The more times heat is applied to silver, the more pure it becomes. This is true of any metal such as gold. Why does King David describe the words of God as being pure “as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” instead of gold? Well, not all silver is pure silver unless the impurities are removed by the process of smelting. The heat of a furnace (or crucible) extracts silver or gold from the slag (bronze, iron, lead, or tin), leaving the desired metal in its pure state – undefiled. Only silver that is refined in a furnace of earth (in those days) seven times is pure enough to describe God’s words.
The number seven: In God’s Word the number seven is known to be symbolic of completion; i.e. the priest sprinkled the blood of a bull before the Lord seven times at the veil of the sanctuary in the tabernacle (Leviticus 4:6); the leper was to be sprinkled seven times for cleansing from leprosy (Leviticus 14:7); the Israelites marched around the city walls of Jericho seven times before the Lord caused the walls to fall, giving His people a complete victory over the Canaanite city (Joshua 6:4) – it was the first battle victory of many to follow that enabled God’s chosen people to inhabit the land that God had promised to them. God’s words are complete. They are final and unchangeable.
Value of silver: We understand that gold is more valuable than silver even today – just as it was in the ancient world. So why not describe God’s words as being pure as gold instead of pure as silver?
Durability: Who was David’s audience? A people whose economy was based upon silver currency would understand the high value placed upon silver as a traded commodity and also its availability to the common people in everyday life. God inspired David around 800 B.C.E to describe His messages to man in common terms that man could understand across the millennia of time. Even today silver is more commonly minted as coinage than is gold, so the average person is more familiar with its monetary value than gold.
Most coinage is silver, since gold is softer than silver. Gold is good for beating into stunning and valuable temple ornamentation or jewelry, but its soft properties do not meet the standards of coinage. It is so awesome that God’s Word never fails to explain His messages to man in terms that man can best understand. God’s message here is to the ancient generations of Hebrews living during King David’s rule of Israel. Yet it is also easily understood in modern times.
Silver as a symbol: Silver symbolizes wealth and position. Palaces, temples, kingly furnishings and other royal objects of wealth have been adorned or traded in silver. One example given at the link below of traded silver is that of Solomon’s Egyptian chariot bought with 600 shekels of silver (I Kings 10:29).
The smelting or refining of silver as well as the trading of silver assigned a symbolic value to the virtue of wisdom for the Israelites:
“For You, God, tested us; You refined us like silver.” ~ Psalm 66:10 NIV
“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.” ~ Proverbs 3:13-14 NIV
“So that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” ~ Hebrews 6:18-20 NASB
Prayer: Abba, Father, thanking You today for drawing us a picture using silver to explain how Your words are pure, absolute, complete, lasting, valuable, and worthy of our attention. We accept Your words as holy and full of wisdom. Help us to remain faithful to read Your Word, the Holy Bible, daily; and keep Your words in our hearts. Give us opportunities to share them with others, and to apply Your words to our lives. In the Name of our our Redeemer Jesus, King of Kings and LORD of Lords, Yeshua Messiah. Amen.