10. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it was divided and became four heads. 11. The name of the first is Pishon, which surrounds all the land of Havilah, where there is gold (Genesis 2:10 - 11, HBFV).
In Scripture, there are seven Hebrew words (seven is a number that symbolizes perfection) used to refer to gold. The first and most common word used is Zahab (Strong's Concordance #H2091). It is from a root word that literally means to shimmer or shine. The second word is paz (Strong's #H6337), which refers to the mineral in its pure or refined state, and sometimes refers to spiritual purity and glory. The word betser (Strong's #H1220), found only in Job 22, refers to gold when it is broken up.
Charuts (Strong's #H1220) is used to reference to gold when it is chopped or cut off in pieces or parts. Kethem (Strong's #H3800) refers to the precious metal that it is in a state as pure as originally mined. Sagar (Strong's #H5462), found only in Job 28, references the metal as a solid. Lastly, Dehab (Strong's #H1722), which occurs only in the books of Daniel and Ezra, is yet another reference to gold.
Scripture lists at least six places, in ancient times, where this precious metal was known to be found. They are Havilah (Genesis 2:11 - 12), Ophir (1Kings 9:28, 10:11, 1Chronicles 29:4, 2Chronicles 8:18, Job 22:24), Parvaim (2Chronicles 3:6), Sheba (1Kings 10:10, 2Chronicles 9:9, Psalm 72:15), Tarshish (2Chronicles 9:21, Isaiah 60:9) and Uphaz (Jeremiah 10:9).
Generally speaking, gold in Biblical times was many times valued by weight using a unit of measure known as a Talent. A talent weighed about 75 U.S. pounds or 34.3 kilograms, which is equivalent of 1,094 troy ounces. If we assume a modern price of $1,500 per troy ounce of the metal, a talent in today's money would be worth $1,639,500. At $1,750 per troy ounce, an ancient talent of gold would be worth $1,912,750 (close to two million dollars)!
According to the World Gold Council, the best estimates available suggest the total amount of the precious metal mined in human history (to the year 2009) is approximately 165,600 metric tons (182,491 U.S. tons). Although in antiquity it was relatively easy to obtain geologically, 75% of all this precious metal ever mined has been extracted since 1910 A.D. One-hundred million people around the globe depend on it for their livelihood. The largest stash of gold in the United States is not at Fort Knox, but at the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of New York, who holds 7,000 metric tons (7,716 tons) of bullion in its underground vault in Manhattan.
Amazingly, the prophetic book of Revelation refers to gold no less than twenty-two times! It will play a major role in the prophetic End Time events that will occur before the return of Jesus. Seven lampstands made from the precious metal are referred to three times in Revelation (1:12, 1:20 and 2:1). In a vision, Christ revealed the book's prophecies to John clothed in a girdle or band made of this metal (1:13). Other references in this prophetic book include Revelation 4:4, 5:8, 8:3, 9:7, 9:20, 14:14 and 17:3 - 5 (which refers to what is worn by the symbolic woman who rides the beast of Babylon).
Lastly, we find our final use of gold in the Bible when God will, someday, create a NEW heavens and a NEW earth. He will personally make a new Jerusalem, complete with streets composed of the rare mineral, and lower it from heaven unto a new earth so that he can dwell with mankind forever (see Revelation 21).