Silver in the Hebrew Bible

A collection of articles featuring silver (Hebrew: kesef) and its 403 mentions in the Hebrew Bible.

Silver and Food Storage
Zac from New2Torah.com with a commentary on silver and food storage.  Thanks Zac for the shout out for Kesef Silver Company and our Menorah rounds! ..
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Vayyiggash: Joseph and the Silver Thread (Hebrew Word Study)
The Biblical hero Joseph's life was marked with interactions with silver, even from the time that his brothers threw him in a pit, and Midianite traders sold him to Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of the shiny metal. You can read our lesson about that transaction here. Long after the death of Joseph, the Book of Joshua records that the children of Israel brought his bones back to the Land of Israel, again connecting him with his father Jacob's transaction in Shechem (Samaria) of 100 pieces ..
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Mikketz: Jacob Sends His Sons to Egypt to Buy Grain
In Genesis 41:55 at the height of the famine in Egypt, Pharaoh had delegated authority over all of the storehouses in Egypt to Joseph. When the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, he sent them all to Joseph to decide what he (Joseph) would do. He did not tell the people that Joseph would give them bread, he gave Joseph the authority to decide exactly what to do and with whom. This is important, as Joseph was not merely Pharaoh's “distributor” of the provisions in the storehouse that had be..
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Vayyeshev: Joseph and Pharaoh's (Silver) Cup
We read in Genesis 40:1 that while Joseph was in prison, that Pharaoh imprisoned his butler (cupbearer) and his chief baker. This is a big deal. These two people were responsible for the Pharaoh's life, his security detail if you will. Next to the feast table would stand a sideboard of libations (drinks) and on the other side a sideboard of baked and other culinary delights. Each of the officials were responsible for tasting all of the food or drink so that the Pharaoh would not be poisoned a..
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Joseph, His Brothers and 20 Pieces of Silver
In this week's Torah parsha, Vayyeshev (Genesis 37 – Genesis 40), we read of the story of Joseph and his Brothers. This portion contains only one mention of the word “silver”, “kesef” in Hebrew in Genesis 37:28. The Revised Standard Version offers an accurate translation:   “Then Mid'ianite traders passed by; and they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ish'maelites for twenty shekels of silver; and they took Joseph to Egypt.”  ..
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Chanukah Gelt, Silver, and Flat Screen TVs
Many Jewish families have incorporated gift giving in the “holiday spirit” of Chanukah. The tradition of giving “gelt” at Chanukah has evolved over many years. The yiddish word “gelt” actually means “money”, so “Chanukah gelt” is actually “Chanukah money”, or “money given at Chanukah”. Giving “gelt” at Chanukah has its roots in the Torah principle of “tzedekah”, charity, that should be done with respect and dignity. So the idea of giving “gelt” to the p..
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Silver Shekels, the Hasmoneans, and Chanukah
The history of the origin of Jewish coinage is an interesting one.  The best authorities on the subject trace the origins of Jewish coinage to belong to the period of the Hasmonean princes.  About 140 BCE, Antiochus VII (Sidetes), the son of Demetrius I, granted to Simon Maccabaeus, “the priest and prince of the Jews,” the right of coining money.  This was to be “with his own stamp,” and to be current “in his own country”.    I Maccabees 15:2-9 - K..
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Chayye Sarah: Abraham Purchases a Burial Cave for Silver Shekels
Chayye Sarah: Abraham Purchases a Burial Cave for 400 Shekels of Silver This week's Torah portion, Chayye Sarah (Genesis Chapters 23-25) starts with the statement that Abraham's wife Sarah lived 127 years and then died in Kiriath-Arba (The City of Four), which is known as Hevron in the land of Canaan. Abraham “mourned” for Sarah (Gen. 23:2) and the Hebrew indicates that this is the loud wailing exemplified in the Eastern culture even today as a manifestation of extreme grief. He would..
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Vayyera: Abimelech Gives Abraham 1,000 Pieces of Silver!
  Parsha Vayyera, Genesis Chapters 17-22, tells of the story of the life of the Patriarch Abraham after he separates from Lot. The narrative includes many rich lessons including the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the escape of Lot, Lot's daughters and their laying with their father, the visit by the 3 “angels” to Abraham's tent, and the all-important story of the Akedah, the “Binding of Isaac”.   But right in the middle of this Torah portion is a very interes..
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Lech Lecha: Abram was Very Rich in Cattle, Silver, and Gold
This week's Torah Portion, Lech Lecha, contains the first mention of silver (Hebrew "kesef") in the Hebrew Bible. Abram is said to be "very rich in cattle, and in gold, and silver" in Genesis 13:2. But looking back to last week's portion gives us a little more insight into how he came to have the gold and silver. Genesis 12:5 says that Abram and his family left Haran to head towards Canaan with "all of his substance" (note no mention of gold and silver). Genesis 12:10, Abram and his family ha..
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