Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish
In Cilicia, where the Apostle Paul was born; according to Josephus, as Jerom says, it was a country in India. The Targum renders it, from Africa, and calls it silver "rolled up", or "covered"; so the Vulgate Latin; such was beaten with a hammer into plates, and might be rolled up for better convenience of shipment; and with which they covered and decked their idols, to make them look glittering and pompous, and command some awe and reverence from the common people. The Arabic version renders it, "solid silver"; it being the same word from whence the firmament of heaven has its name, or the wide expanse; hence we render it "spread", stretched, and drawn out into plates. The Syriac version is, "the best silver"; as very likely that from Tarshish was reckoned. And gold from Uphaz;
called sometimes "the gold of Uphaz"; ( Daniel 10:5 ) or "Fess"; perhaps the same with the gold of Ophir, ( Job 28:16 ) and so the Targum here calls it, "gold from Ophir"; to which agrees the Syriac version; and was esteemed the best gold. The work of workmen, and of the hands of the founder;
melter or refiner, being first purified by him from dross, and then wrought into plates, and polished, and fitted for the idol; and all this being owing to the art and workmanship of men, shows the brutishness and ignorance of the people, in worshipping it as a god. Blue and purple is their clothing; not the clothing of the workmen, but of the idols; these colours seem to be chosen to dazzle the eyes of the populace, and cause them to entertain a high opinion of them; the "blue" being the colour of the heavens, and the "purple" what is wore by kings; and so both may denote their deity and dominion. But, alas! they are all the work of cunning men:
both the idols, and their clothing; especially the latter is meant, which were curiously wrought and embroidered by men skilful in that art.