Gold, silver, and other precious metals symbolize the worthlessness of earthly wealth compared to the priceless treasure of worshiping God. If gold is the most precious earthly commodity, then God is immeasurably greater. In one of his speeches, Eliphaz urges Job to stop desiring “gold” and to regard God as his “gold and […] precious silver” instead; if he does so, Eliphaz argues, then God will remove Job’s suffering. In other words, Eliphaz accuses Job of being greedy (presumably one of the misdeeds that has brought on Job’s suffering). But if Job values God the way he should (more than anything on earth), then God will forgive him.
Later in the book, Job similarly compares precious metals to divine wisdom. He reflects that miners unearth gems from deep underground, but they cannot find wisdom there; nor can their gold buy wisdom—only God knows where it is, and wisdom’s value surpasses that of any earthly currency. Job implies that wisdom is ultimately a divine gift; people can’t discover and hoard it by their own efforts, and even if wisdom were for sale, it’s such a treasure that all the earth’s riches wouldn’t be enough to pay for it. Job’s reflections also represent a shift from earlier in the book, when Job and his friends focused on human righteousness and wickedness, to Job’s growing focus on God’s power and majesty in the book’s closing chapters.
Gold, Silver, and Precious Metals Quotes in Book of Job
Agree with God, and be at peace;
in this way good will come to you.
Receive instruction from his mouth,
and lay up his words in your heart.
If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored,
if you remove unrighteousness from your tents,
and if the Almighty is your gold
and your precious silver,
then you will delight yourself in the Almighty,
and lift up your face to God.
If I go forward, he is not there;
or backward, I cannot perceive him;
on the left he hides, and I cannot behold him;
I turn to the right, but I cannot see him.
But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I shall come out like gold.