There are early allusions to this well-known metal in Scripture. The Egyptians "sank as lead" in the Red Sea, Ex 15:10; Nu 31:22; Eze 27:12. Job refers to its use in preserving a permanent record of events, by being melted and poured into letters deeply cut in a rock, Job 19:24. Leaden tablets also were used by the ancients for similar records. This metal was employed, before the use of quicksilver was known, in purifying silver; and the process by which these metals are purged from their dross, illustrates God's discipline of his people, Jer 6:29-30; Eze 22:17-22.
Ex 15:10, "they sank as lead," heavily falling down in their panoply, helpless and motionless, the waters closing over them. Used for the plumb line (Am 7:7). Zec 5:7-8, "the weight of lead" upon the ephah's mouth, covering personified wickedness, implies the impossibility of her escape from beneath the ponderous load weighing her down. Job 19:24 "Oh that my words were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever." The lead was poured into the graven characters to make them better seen and (which is Job's thought) more durable; not leaden plates, for it was "in the rock" they were to be engraved..
May my pen be of iron, and the ink lead poured into the writing on the everlasting rock! Perhaps the hammer was of "lead," as sculptors find more delicate incisions are made by it. Jer 6:28-30 accords exactly with scientific fact; lead applied to purify in the furnace "silver" alloyed with "iron" and "copper" ("brass") fails to do so, in the absence of the purifying blast blowing upon the silver. So Jehovah's casting of the Jews into fiery affliction avails not to purify them without the breath of God's Holy Spirit (compare Eze 22:18-22). Remains of ancient lead mines have been found in the mountains E. of the Nile toward the Red Sea. It was among the spoil taken from Midian (Nu 31:22). Tyre got it from Tarshish (Eze 27:12).
ophereth. The well-known heavy metal. It is mentioned as early as Ex 15:10, where its weight is alluded to. Job speaks of it, apparently, as being used for filling in the engravings on stones. It was no doubt also used for making solder. Nu 31:22; Job 19:24; Jer 6:29; Eze 22:18,20; 27:12; Zec 5:7-8.
This is one of the most common of metals, found generally in veins of rocks, though seldom in a metallic state, and most commonly in combination with sulphur. It was early known to the ancients, and the allusions to it in Scripture indicate that the Hebrews were well acquainted with its uses. The rocks in the neighborhood of Sinai yielded it in large quantities, and it was found in Egypt. In
the allusion is supposed to be to the practice of carving inscriptions upon stone and pouring molten lead into the cavities of the letters, to render them legible and at the same time preserve them from the action of the air.
LEAD, ????, Ex 15:10; Nu 31:22; Job 19:24; Jer 6:29; Eze 22:18; 27:12; Zec 5:7-8; a mineral of a bluish white colour. It is the softest next to gold, but has no great tenacity, and is not in the least sonorous. It is mentioned with five other species of metal, Nu 31:22; and there is no doubt but that this is the meaning of the word; so the Septuagint render it throughout, ???????? or ???????.