As I’ve been reading through Proverbs, I’ve been trying a read-and-pause approach with each verse: read, then pause and consider the deeper meaning of each verse with the help of the Holy Spirit. After all, he inspired the human writers of Scripture with the exact words he wanted them to use.
The tongue of the just is as choice silver. – Proverbs 10:20a
When I paused after reading this thought, I considered the definition of “choice silver.” In ancient times, silver was greatly valued by many cultures, and its ore was put through quite a refining process to become pure.
That process is described here, in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.
The silver used by the ancients was probably obtained by smelting lead sulfide ore, rich in silver (argentiferous galena). After the ore had been reduced to a metallic condition, the lead was separated from the silver by blowing hot air over the surface of the melted metal. The lead was thus changed to lead oxide which, in a powdered condition, was driven away by the air blast.
Thus, according to the comparison in Proverbs 10:20, our tongue should only speak words that reflect the same qualities as refined silver:
- free of impurities
- the result of a laborious refining process
- a reflection of the refiner’s skill
Because I am still undergoing the refining process, my tongue certainly does not yet limit itself to words that are valuable and pure!
For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. – Psalm 66:10
But day by day, as the dross gets blown away by the breath of the Refiner, I trust my words will reveal and reflect him more and more.
The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. – Psalm 12:6
Do you see other ways in which our tongues could be like “choice silver?” I welcome your insights!