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The meaning of Treasure; Treasurer; Treasury in the Bible
(From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

trezh'-ur, trezh'-ur-er, trezh'-ur-i (otsar, genaz, genez, ganzakh, chocen matmon, mickenah, mikhman, 'athudh, saphan; gaza, thesauros):

I. In the Old Testament.

1. Treasure

The English word "treasure" has in the Old Testament at least five somewhat distinct meanings as expressed in the words: "treasure," genaz (Aramaic) or genez (Hebrew), usually meaning "the thing stored"; translated "treasures" in Ezra 6:1, but in Ezra 5:17 and Ezra 7:20 translated "treasure-house": "search made in the king's treasure-house." In Esther 3:9; Esther 4:7 the Hebrew form is translated "treasury," as is ganzakh in I Chronicles 28:11.

2. Storehouse:

"Storehouse," not the thing stored but the place of storage; 'otsar means depository, cellar, garner, armory, store or treasure-house. In several places it ought to be translated by some of these words. It is the most frequent word for treasure. the English Revised Version and the American Standard Revised Version both translate in some instances by other words, e.g. I Kings 7:51, "treasuries of the house of Yahweh," so also II Chronicles 5:1; "treasury" in Nehemiah 7:70-71, "gave to the treasury a thousand darics of gold"; in Job 38:22, "treasuries of the snow" (compare Proverbs 8:21; Jeremiah 10:13; Jeremiah 51:16; Ezra 2:69).

3. Hidden Riches:

"Treasure" or something concealed. There are 3 Hebrew words with this meaning and all in the King James Version translated "treasure." (1) Matmon, which literally means "a secret storehouse" and so a secreted valuable, usually money buried, and so hidden riches of any kind, hid treasures: "treasure in your sacks" (Genesis 43:23); "dig for it more than for hid treasures" (Job 3:21); "search for her as for hid treasures" (Proverbs 2:4); "We have stores hidden in the field, of wheat," etc. (Jeremiah 41:8). (2) Mikhman, treasure as hidden, used only in Daniel 11:43 : "have power over the treasures of gold and silver." (3) Saphan, meaning hidden treasure or valuables concealed: "hidden treasures of the sand" (Deuteronomy 33:19).

4. Strength:

Perhaps the strength of riches and so treasure, the Hebrew word being chocen, from a root meaning to hoard or lay up: "In the house of the righteous is much treasure" (Proverbs 15:6); "They take treasure and precious things" (Ezekiel 22:25).

5. Something Prepared:

"Something prepared," made ready, the Hebrew word being 'athudh, meaning "prepared," "ready," therefore something of value and so treasure: "have robbed their treasures," fortifications or other things "made ready" (Isaiah 10:13).

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word most often translated "treasure" is 'otsar. It occurs in the sing. as follows: Deuteronomy 28:12; I Chronicles 29:8; Nehemiah 10:38; Psalms 17:14; Psalms 135:4; Proverbs 15:16; Proverbs 21:20; Ecclesiastes 2:8; Isaiah 33:6; Daniel 1:2; Hosea 13:15; in the pl.: Deuteronomy 32:34; I Kings 14:26; I Kings 15:18; II Kings 12:18; II Kings 14:14; II Kings 16:8; II Kings 18:15; II Kings 20:13, II Kings 20:15; II Kings 24:13, etc.

The same word is in the King James Version translated "treasuries" in I Chronicles 9:26; I Chronicles 28:12; II Chronicles 32:27; Nehemiah 13:12-13; Psalms 135:7; and "treasury" in Joshua 6:19, Joshua 6:24; Jeremiah 38:11.

II. In the New Testament.

1. Gaza:

There are two words translated "treasure": Gaza is of Persian origin, meaning "treasure." Found only once in Acts 8:27 concerning the Ethiopian "who was over all her (Queen Candace's) treasure." In the compound gazophulakion, "guarding of gaza," the same word appears and the compound is translated "treasury" in Mark 12:41, Mark 12:43 parallel Luke 21:1; John 8:20.


2. Thesauros:

The word thesauros means literally, a "deposit," so wealth and treasure. Evidently throughout the New Testament it has a twofold usage as describing (1) material treasure, either money or other valuable material possession, and (2) spiritual treasure, e.g. "like unto treasure hid in a field" (Matthew 13:44); "good treasure of the heart" (Matthew 12:35). Other references to material treasure are Matthew 6:21; Matthew 13:52; Luke 12:21, Luke 12:34, etc. References to spiritual treasure are Matthew 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 6:45; Luke 12:33; Luke 18:22; plural Matthew 6:20; Colossians 2:3.

In Matthew 27:6 the word for "treasury" is korbanas; compare the Revised Version margin.


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