Now that we are getting things “ironed out” we can go on to the “valuable” metals.

Copper, like iron, is native to Israel and is an interesting and useful metal.  It is in the same chemical family as silver and gold.  Copper was used in making every day items and it was used in the making of the Tabernacle.  Pots, forks, utensils, fire grates, and bases for the tent and curtain poles were some of the items that were made of copper in the Tabernacle.  In the Bible, the same word is used for copper and bronze/brass.  Bronze is copper with tin or lead added.  So we know alloys and metallurgy appeared very early in Israel’s history.

The “copper” in our lives maybe natural character traits and habits, but these personal qualities may be what God wants to use in developing our ministry.  Our “copper” may have fears and other peoples expectations added to it just as bronze is combined with tin or lead.  I have found that these additions may be either good or bad.  In Genesis 37 we read of the dreams God gave Joseph.  Joseph had natural qualities that God wanted to use, but the way the story plays out it would seem that he had to add patience and humility and his pride and arrogance had to be removed before his “copper” was ready for use before God and man.

See “iron” in part three.



Now that we have the “lead out” lets move on to the next metal.

Tin was imported, possibly from Spain or from Western Europe, and was a valuable metal in Israel.  It was worked into various articles like cooking utensils and artwork.  Tin was added to copper to make bronze.  Today, as in ancient times, tin is a major impurity in silver.

A modern day use of tin is to cover other metals so they don’t rust or oxidize.  Iron our next metal is treated this way; it hides or protects it from contact with other things.  Even though we call cans from the grocery store “tin cans” they are really made of iron.  In our modern slang attaching the word “tin” to something carries an inferior or cheap label. Examples are a “tin ear”, a “tinny sound”, a “tin man.”  Even in the movie The Wizard of Oz the “tin man” was rusted and had to be oiled; if he was pure tin that would not have been necessary, he was only tin-plated.

In people,  “tin”, like lead, comes from the outside of us. The “ tin things” in our lives will harden us and even change the way we look, just as copper changes color and becomes harder when tin is added to it to make bronze.  In 2 Samuel 12 Bathsheba was a “tin” to David.  Even though Solomon was born, this incident changed David’s life he had a lot of unrest and blood shed in his family from then on.  Fear of things will act as “tin” and can have great influence in our lives by limiting or covering us and changing our prospective and even our habit patterns.


Metals have always been important to man and all of them are of use and value.  We have even given humans metal characteristics: good as gold, dirty copper, you sunk like lead.  In the Old Testament of the Bible God told Jeremiah, that he was to be a tester of metals and that the Israelites were the ore that Jeremiah was to observe and test. With God having given Jeremiah this command, I wondered what lessons there were to be learned. (Jeremiah 6:27)

In the Bible Israel is described as being a “land flowing with milk and honey” but it only had copper and iron as naturally occurring metals.  Lead, tin, silver, and gold all had to be imported by dealing with foreign nations. So let us look at the six metals (In the Bible six represents the number of man.) that were used in Israel during Bible times and see if we can observe something about people and how we behave.

Lead, then as now, was used to make fishing weights, solder, and it was something to be inscribed into.  Lead may have been imported in pure form into Israel; if it was an impurity in another metal, such as lead in silver, the refining process required great heat and air so that it could burned out or separated from the other metal.

In people, lead symbolizes the things from outside of us that keep us held down in the spirit and in the natural.  Worrying, fighting, and just dealing with these “imported” things can “solder” us together and give shape to our lives.  Only the heat and wind of the Holy Spirit will refine the lead out of our lives.  An example of “lead” was the grumbling aliens that followed Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land.  The aliens kept complaining and caused Israel to stumble.  Another example of “lead” would be if you have ever been told by someone that you are useless and no good and you have believed what was said about you instead of believing what God says about you.