One of the heavier metallic elements, having the specific gravity 11.34. The dull-gray metal was useful as weight on fishlines and nets and for heavy lids, or covers. Moses poetically sang in triumph that the Egyptians “sank like lead [Heb., ʽo·pheʹreth]” in the Red Sea. (Ex 15:10) The Greek verb translated ‘sound’ at Acts 27:28 (bo·liʹzo) literally means “heave the lead.” The Hebrew word translated “plummet” in Amos 7:7, 8 (ʼanakhʹ) may mean “lead” or “tin.” For permanency and legibility, liquid lead was sometimes poured into engravings on stone—a practice dating at least to Job’s day. (Job 19:23, 24) “Soldering” (Heb., deʹveq) is mentioned at Isaiah 41:7 in connection with the making of idols, but whether the solder was made of lead and tin, as today, is not known.
The most common source of lead was galena, a lead sulfide ore. It was mined in the Arabah between the S end of the Dead Sea and the Gulf of ʽAqaba. Tarshish (Spain) was another source of supply. (Eze 27:12) Lead ore had to be smelted in a furnace like the ores of other metals. (Jer 6:29; Eze 22:18-20; compare Nu 31:22, 23.) The first step in the refining process converted lead sulfide to lead oxide, which was itself sometimes used as a pottery glaze, as is evidenced in the ruins of Egypt and Nineveh.—See REFINE, REFINER.