Talent representing the Greek τάλαντον, Lat. talentum, is the rendering of the Heb. and Chald. kikkar, כַּכָּר, a circle, the coin being no doubt of that form. It was the largest weight among the Hebrews, being used for metals, whether gold (1Ki 9:14; 1Ki 10:10, etc.), silver (2Ki 5:22), lead (Zec 5:7), bronze (Ex 38:29), or iron (1Ch 29:7). A hill sufficient for the site of a city was sold for two talents of silver (1Ki 16:24); and for 1000 talents of silver the friendship of the Assyrian king was purchased (2Ki 15:19); another Assyrian king laid the kingdom of Judah under a tribute of 300 talents of silver and 30 of gold (2Ki 18:14); a similar tribute imposed by an Egyptian king consisted of 100 talents of silver and one talent of gold (23, 33); the crown of an Ammonitish king weighed one talent of gold (2Sa 12:30). The sacred utensils of the Tabernacle and the Temple amounted to many talents of silver and gold (Ex 25:39; Ex 38:24-25,27; 1Ki 9:14, etc.). But there must be some error in the numbers at 1 Chronicles 29 (see Kitto, Pict. Bible, note ad loc.). SEE NUMBER. In the post-exilian period, likewise, talents were a mode of estimation (1 Macc. 11:28; 13:16, 19; 15:31; 2 Macc. 3, 4, 8, etc.). In the New Test. the talent only occurs in a parable (Mt 25:15 sq.), and as an estimate of a stone's weight (Re 16:21). From Ex 38:25-26, it appears that one talent was equivalent to 3000 shekels of the sanctuary (Schmidt, Biblathem. p. 183; Bockh, Metrol. Unters. p. 55). SEE SHEKEL. As the mina (q.v.) consisted of 50 sacred shekels, it followsῥ that the talent was equal to 60 mine, just as the Attic talent had 60 minae. SEE METROLOGY.
TALENT figuratively signifies any gift or opportunity God gives to men for the promotion of his glory. "Everything almost," says Mr. Scott, "that we are, or possess, or meet with, may be considered as a talent; for a good or a bad use may be made of every natural endowment, or providential appointment, or they may remain unoccupied through inactivity and selfishness. Time, health, vigor of body, and the power of exertion and enduring fatigue — the natural and acquired abilities of the mind, skill in any lawful art or science, and the capacity for close mental application-the gift of speech, and that of speaking with fluency and propriety, and in a convincing, attractive, or persuasive manner — wealth, influence, or authority — a man's situation in the Church, the community, or relative life-and the various occurrences which make way for him to attempt anything of a beneficial tendency; these, and many others that can scarcely be enumerated, are talents which the consistent Christian will improve to the glory of God and the benefit of mankind. Nay, this improvement procures an increase of talents, and gives a man Ian accession of influence and an accumulating power of doing good; because it tends to establish his reputation for prudence, piety, integrity, sincerity, and disinterested benevolence: it gradually forms him to an habitual readiness to engage in beneficent designs, and to conduct them in a gentle, unobtrusive, and unassuming manner, it disposes others to regard him with increasing confidence and affection, and to approach him with satisfaction; and it procures for him the countenance of many persons whose assistance he can employ in accomplishing his own salutary purposes."