THE BIBLE'S WEIGHTS AND COINS



mene, mina

Measures of Gold and Silver

tekel, shekel





The accurate presentation of the weights and coins of Scripture is quite
complex.


Weights and coins appear to have varied greatly over various regions
and time periods. Coins have had various names and descriptors and also
been found with varying quantities of silver.


To avoid all this external complexity this study seeks to arrive at a view
purely based on the biblical information supplied.


Nevertheless, even the revelations of Scripture present a level of complexity
which can be difficult to resolve. 


[ NB: This presentation does take a very different stance on the
      understanding of Ezekiel 45:12 and this accordingly alters
      the overall envisaged arrangement. ]

PROPOSED WEIGHTS AND COINS SUMMARY


This arrangement does not attempt to conform to viewpoints perpetuated
elsewhere, but rather attempts to portray the best arrangement possible
from the information provided by Scripture.

HEBREW WEIGHTS


             1  talent              =     3,000  sanctuary shekels
             1  mina                =       100  sanctuary shekels
             1  bekah               =       1/2  sanctuary shekel
             1  gerah               =      1/20  sanctuary shekel

    A little known weight

             1  Strong's codes      =         5  sanctuary shekels
                H150 and H1871
                adarkon/darkemon

COINS - SANCTUARY SHEKEL


           100  SHEKEL              =     1  MINA

    COINS (SILVER)

            2.5 gerah weights (OT)  =     1  assaria / lepta (NT)
             2  lepta               =     1  quadrans / drachma (NT)
             2  drachmas            =     1  didrachma (NT) / bekah
             2  didrachma           =     1  stater (NT) / shekel

COINS - LIGHT SHEKEL


           300  LIGHT SHEKEL        =     1  MINA

    COINS

            10  coins               =     1  denarius (NT) / light shekel


THE EXODUS POLL TAX


To understand the bible's silver and gold weights the first text to
consider is;


    Exod  38:25  And the silver from those who were numbered of the
                 congregation was one hundred talents and one thousand
                 seven hundred and seventy-five shekels, according to
                 the shekel of the sanctuary:
            :26  a bekah for each man (that is, half a shekel, according
                 to the shekel of the sanctuary), for everyone included
                 in the numbering from twenty years old and above, for
                 six hundred and three thousand, five hundred and fifty
                 men.

    Num    1:46  all who were numbered were six hundred and three
                 thousand five hundred and fifty.


The tax was collected in silver bekahs and for 603,550 individuals.
The total collected value was 100 talents and 1,775 shekels.

So 603,550 individuals at half a shekel each is 301,775 shekels. This
was the equivalent to 100 talents and 1,775 shekels. So it can be seen
that each talent was composed of 3,000 shekels (300,000 / 100 ).

Hence we learn.

                 one bekah   =  half a shekel  (of the sanctuary)

                            and

                 one talent  =  3,000 shekels  (of the sanctuary)


The silver raised on this occasion was used in the following manner.

    Exod  38:27  And from the hundred talents of silver were cast
                 the sockets of the sanctuary and the bases of the
                 veil: one hundred sockets from the hundred talents,
                 one talent for each socket.
            :28  Then from the one thousand seven hundred and
                 seventy-five shekels he made hooks for the pillars,
                 overlaid their capitals, and made bands for them.

It was used to cast 100 sockets and hooks for the pillars, overlaid the
capitals and made bands for them.


For this census the Levite tribe was not to be numbered.

    Num    2:33  But the Levites were not numbered among the
                 children of Israel, just as the Lord commanded
                 Moses.


The following census was prior to the entry of the children of Israel
into the Promised Land. This was after being enticed by the women
of Moab (and they had started to worship Baal) and after the plague
that followed. 

Those numbered in the second poll is also stated.

    Num   26:4   "Take a census of the people from twenty years
                 old and above, just as the Lord commanded Moses
                 and the children of Israel who came out of the
                 land of Egypt."
            :51  These are those who were numbered of the children 
                 of Israel: six hundred and one thousand seven
                 hundred and thirty.

So in the second census they collected 601,730 bekahs or 300,865 shekels,
ie 100 talents and 865 shekels of silver.


Given that the second census took place about 40 years after the first
census it appears this census was to be held every 40 years.


THE NEHEMIAH TRIBUTE


While Nehemiah also documents a tribute it is apparent from the
description of the use of the Nehemiah tribute that this monetary
provision served to meet the recurring needs of sanctuary worship.

    Neh   10:32  Also we made ordinances for ourselves, to exact
                 from ourselves yearly one-third of a shekel for
                 the service of the house of our God:
            :33  for the showbread, for the regular grain offering,
                 for the regular burnt offering of the Sabbaths,
                 the New Moons, and the set feasts; for the holy
                 things, for the sin offerings to make atonement
                 for Israel, and all the work of the house of our
                 God.

Unlike the poll tax this tribute was to be collected every year.
The use of the collected funds is also precisely defined. It was
to be used to cover the cost of certain offerings which recurred
annually.


NEW TESTAMENT TAXES - TRIBUTE / POLL


The New Testament makes references to the tribute or poll requirements.

FIRST INSTANCE - POLL TAX - *** DIDRACHMA ***


    Matt  17:24  And they having come to Capernaum, those receiving
                 the didrachms came near to Peter, and said, 'Your
                 teacher -- doth he not pay the didrachms?' He saith,
                 `Yes'. (YLT) 
        
                [NB: 1) The Greek does not say 'temple tax' or 'tax'
                        or 'tribute', as many translations indicate.
                     2) The 'didrachma', ie two drachma - G1323. ]

           :25   And when he came into the house, Jesus anticipated
                 him, saying, `What thinkest thou, Simon? the kings
                 of the earth -- from whom do they receive custom
                 or poll-tax? from their sons or from the strangers?'
           :26   Peter saith to him, `From the strangers.' Jesus said
                 to him, `Then are the sons free;
           :27   but, that we may not cause them to stumble, having
                 gone to the sea, cast a hook, and the fish that hath
                 come up first take thou up, and having opened its mouth,
                 thou shalt find a stater, that having taken, give to
                 them for me and thee. (YLT)

                 [NB: 1) As the 'stater' would cover two individuals it
                         is obviously the equivalent of two 'didrachma',
                         ie the same as four drachma.
                      2) 'stater' - Strong's reference G4715.]

In this text Christ is making the point that as a son of God serving in
a manner somewhat to that of the Levites. So, as the Levite tribe was not
to be included in the poll should He or His apostles.

This indeed appears to be a clear reference to the bekah poll tax.

NB: This means a didrachma would equal a bekah and a stater would
    equal a shekel weight. Therefore,


   1  DRACHMA       =     1/4  SHEKEL OF THE SANCTUARY   


SECOND INSTANCE - TRIBUTE TAX - *** DENARIUS ***


    Matt  22:19  "Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax."
                 And they brought Him a denarius.  (NASB)

    Mark  12:15  "Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?"
                 But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them,
                 "Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that
                 I may see it."
                
    Luke  20:24  "Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription
                 does it have?"

                 [NB: The word for 'poll-tax' is Greek G2778.
                      Meaning - an enrolment ("census"). ]

The verse makes clear reference to a census type tax. The tribute
collection of Nehemiah does not make mention of any ancillary
polling purpose.

However, as the tax was to be a fixed amount, a third of a shekel
per person, it could also serve the purpose of acting as a census
of those who were required to contribute.


Apart from the poll of the 12 tribes of Israel (which was discussed
above) there was other censuses which took place.

    - the numbering of newborns a month old and above,
      both for the 12 tribes and the tribe of Levi.
      Levites - Num 3:14-39
      Other tribes - Num 3:40-43.

    - the numbering of Levites "thirty years old and above,
      even to fifty years old". Num 4:34-49.
      All who enter the service to do the work in the
      tabernacle of meeting.


It may be that the numbering of the Levites 30-50 years (ie of
those who would serve) was also when the third of a shekel weight
was collected. That the Matt 22:19 reference was indeed a poll which
involved the collection of one denarius per person from those who
would work in the service of God.

NB: This would indicate that a denarius was the equivalent of
    one third of a shekel (a sanctuary shekel).


   1  DENARIUS      =     1/3  SHEKEL OF THE SANCTUARY   

 

DEFINITION OF 'SHEKEL OF THE SANCTUARY'


The shekel of the sanctuary is repeatedly defined as that which is
composed of twenty gerahs.


    Exod  30:13  This is what everyone among those who are numbered
                 shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel
                 of the sanctuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs). The
                 half-shekel shall be an offering to the Lord.

    Lev   27:25  And all your valuations shall be according to the
                 shekel of the sanctuary: twenty gerahs to the shekel.

    Num    3:47  you shall take five shekels (Hebrew = five of five of)
                 for each one individually; you shall take them in the
                 currency of the shekel of the sanctuary, the shekel
                 of twenty gerahs.

    Num   18:16  And those redeemed of the devoted things you shall
                 redeem when one month old, according to your valuation,
                 for five shekels of silver, according to the shekel of
                 the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.

    Ezek  45:12  The shekel shall be twenty gerahs; twenty shekels,
                 twenty-five shekels, and fifteen shekels shall be
                 your mina. (NKJV)


The shekel of the sanctuary is referenced multiple times in the Old
Testament.

       Exod  30:13,24,25,26,
       Lev    5:15 27:3,25,
       Num    3:47, 3:50,
       Num    7:13,19,25,31,37,48,49,55,61,67,73,79,85,86, 18:16,
       Ezek  45:12.


[NB: Scripture does not seem to explicitly indicate whether or not
     the gerahs were composed of silver. ]


           20  GERAH        =     1  SHEKEL OF THE SANCTUARY


WEIGHTS IN A MINA


The next important issue which has to be determined is the relative value
of a mina weight. The mina was a weight which was heavier than the shekel
but lighter than a talent.

 
Almost all commentators support the archaeologically derived teaching that
fifty shekels composed the mina weight.


Yet, it is acknowledged, that the common rendering of Ezek 45:12 suggests
that sixty shekels composed a mina weight.

    Ezek  45:12  The shekel shall be twenty gerahs;
                 twenty shekels, twenty-five shekels,
                 and fifteen shekels shall be your mina.

Why Scripture has split the 60 shekels into 20 shekels, 25 shekels and
15 shekels - is not explained. Indeed there appears to be no reasonable
explanation for doing so.


For this reason another rendering of Ezek 45:12 is proposed and more fully
discussed in the webpage.


THE 'MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN' PROPHECY
The discussion of that webpage essentially concludes the biblically intended meaning of Ezek 45:12 is as follows. Ezek 45:12 And the shekel twenty gerah: twenty shekels of five and twenty shekels of fifteen, shekels to the mina shall become to you. Therefore - 100 weight shekels to the mina, and 300 light shekels to the mina. As noted in the above webpage this is confirmed in the following New Testament verses. [NB: The word 'pound', a translation of the Greek 'litra', which is the equivalent of the Old Testament 'mina'.] 1) John 12:3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, ... :5 "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" 2) John 19:39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pound. [NB: Translations of John 19:39 suggest Nicodemus brought forth a very large quantity of myrrh and aloes, a 100 pounds/mina. However, it is more likely this was just one pound/mina. The number 'hundred' simply being present to define this 'pound' as being the weight equal 100 shekels (ie, shekels measured by weight).]

DENARIUS / DENARII - REVIEW


The word 'denarius' is singular and the word 'denarii' is plural.

It is Strong's reference G1220.

According to Wikipedia the word is derived from the Latin 'deni',
meaning 'containing ten'.


Encountered in a number of verses.

       Matt  18:28, 20:2,9,10,13, 22:19
       Mark   6:37, 12:15, 14:5
       Luke   7:41, 10:35, 20:24,
       John   6:7, 12:5, 
       Rev    6:6


As we have discussed 300 shekel coins equalled a mina.


    John  12:3   Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of
                 spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, ...
            :5   "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for
                 three hundred denarii and given to the poor?"


So, what other New Testament verses mention the denarius.


  1) A denarius given for labour and support for a man for a day.

    Matt  20:2   Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a
                 denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

    Luke  10:35  On the next day, when he departed, he took out
                 two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and
                 said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever
                 more you spend, when I come again, I will repay
                 you.' 

                 [NB: Luke 10:35 indicates the man would
                      be absent for two days. ]


THE DRACHMA - REVIEW


The following verses describe a collection of two drachmas per person
at the gathering in Capernaum.


    Matt 17:24   And they having come to Capernaum, those receiving the
                 didrachms came near to Peter, and said, 'Your teacher
                 -- doth he not pay the didrachms?' He saith, 'Yes.'
           :25   And when he came into the house, Jesus anticipated him,
                 saying, 'What thinkest thou, Simon? the kings of the
                 earth -- from whom do they receive custom or poll-tax?
                 from their sons or from the strangers?'
           :26   Peter saith to him, 'From the strangers.' Jesus said to
                 him, 'Then are the sons free;
           :27   but, that we may not cause them to stumble, having
                 gone to the sea, cast a hook, and the fish that hath
                 come up first take thou up, and having opened its mouth,
                 thou shalt find a stater, that having taken, give to
                 them for me and thee. (YLT)

                 [NB: 1) In verse 25 the word for rendered poll-tax'
                         is G2778. This is the same Greek word found
                         in  Matt 22:19, so the word is clearly
                         talking about a poll tax.
                      2) The drachma is Strong's G1406.
                         The 'didrachma' (G1323) is two drachma.
                      3) As the 'stater' would cover two individuals.
                         Therefore is the equivalent of four drachma.
                      4) The verse 27 'stater' is Strong's G4715.]


We know that at the time of the census, the descendants of the twelve tribes
of Israel were required under the law to pay a bekah per person for every
male of 20 years and above, who was able to go to war. Numbers 1:2-4 &
Exodus 38:25=26.
Those of the tribe of Levi were not required to pay this poll tax. Numbers
1:47-49.

The apparent ancestry of Jesus Christ was via the tribe of Judah. The
lineages detailed in Matt 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38 both show a line of
descent via King David and the tribe of Judah.
However, the ministry of Jesus Christ showed that He was working in the
service of God - this was the intended role for those of the tribe of Levi.

Hence, it seems understandable that the poll tax collectors would ask
whether the teacher would be paying the tax.


As far as coins are concerned this text is advising;


        two drachmas   =  1 bekah  (equivalent of half a shekel)

        four drachmas  =  1 stater (equivalent of one shekel)


The drachma was the equivalent of a quarter of a sanctuary shekel.



LEPTA (LEPTON OR MITE) AND QUADRANS


The notion of two coins of a certain weight is also encountered in
these verses. Quoted from the NSAB.


    Luke 21:2    And He saw a poor widow putting in two lepta coins.

    Mark 12:42   And a poor widow came and put in two lepta coins,
                 which amount to a quadrans.

    Luke 12:59   I tell you, you will not get out of there until
                 you have paid up the very last lepton.

                 [NB: 'lepton' is singular. 'lepta' is plural.] 

    Matt  5:26   Truly I say to you, you will not come out of
                 there until you have paid up the last quadrans.


'lepta'    equals G3016 = something 'scaled' (ie light), a small coin.
'quadrans' equals G2835 = the fourth part.


So we have two small coins being the equivalent of another coin, which
in turn represents a fourth of a standard coin. The implication is that
the standard coin is a shekel.

So,
                    2 lepta  =  1 quadran
                 4 quadrans  =  1 standard coin


So there appears to be a connection between the 4 drachmas which comprised
a 'stater' and the 4 quadrans which comprise a standard coin.

Indicating a 'drachma' was the equivalent of a 'quadrans'.

That both 4 drachms and 4 'quadrans' would be the equivalent of
an Old Covenant shekel weight.


A single quadrans would equal one-fourth of a shekel weight.

    1Sam  9:8    And the servant answered Saul again and said,
                 "Look, I have here at hand one-fourth of a shekel
                 of silver. I will give that to the man of God, to
                 tell us our way."


THE 'ASSARION' OR 'ASSARIA' COIN


Note: 'assaria' is the plural of 'assarion'.

The Greek word is Strong's reference G787.


    Matt 10:29    Are two sparrows not sold for an assarion? ... (NASB)

    Luke 12:6     Are five sparrows not sold for two assaria? ... (NASB)


One also finds translations rendering 'assar' 'assarius' or 'assarii'.

The word for 'sparrow' here is Strong's G4765. Strong's defines the
meaning of this word as 'little sparrow'. However, the Dodson Greek-
English Lexicon allows for the word to be defining any 'small bird'.

Given that this small bird reference would have biblical meaning, it
likely that it is talking about the price of the small birds which
were offered under the requirements of the Old Testament.

    Lev  12:6    When the days of her purification are fulfilled,
                 whether for a son or a daughter, she shall bring
                 to the priest ... a young pigeon or a turtledove
                 as a sin offering, ...


Now what about the price of the birds?

When one at first reflects upon the two verses it seems that an
additional bird is being offered, should 5 birds be purchased
instead of just 2 birds.

However, this is not the situation! 

The issue is that 1 assarion represents more than the value of two
birds, but less than the value of three birds.
However, the payment of 2 assaria does correctly represent the value
of a purchase of five birds.

This situation would be the situation if a bird represented the value
of one Old Testament 'gerah'.

Hence, one assarion (worth 2.5 gerahs) would buy only 2 birds, while
two assaria (worth 5 gerahs) would buy 5 birds.


EZEK 45:12 - "TWENTY WEIGHTS BY FIVE"


We have explained why there is reference to the numbers 100 and 300 in
the Ezekiel 45:12 verse, however there is still the issue of why they
are referenced as twenty weights by five and twenty weights by fifteen. 

Was there a five shekel weight?


A multiple shekel weight is suggested in Num 3:47.

In our translations this verse simply reads,

       Num    3:47  you shall take five shekels for each one
                    individually, you shall take them in the
                    currency of the shekel of the sanctuary,
                    the shekel of twenty gerahs.

However, a more literal translation is as follows,

       Num    3:47  and you take five of five of shekels to
                    the skull in shekel of the sanctuary you
                    shall take, twenty gerah the shekel.

                    [ NB: In the original Hebrew text the
                          "five of five of" is confusing.
                          So, translators not being able
                          to understand the repetition
                          have simply left it out. ]


Hence what we see in Num 3:47 is an indication that there indeed existed
a weight which was the equivalent of 5 shekels of the sanctuary. 


In the narrative of Numbers 3:40-51 we have a collection based on the
shortfall in the number of Levite males when compared to the number of
firstborn males (a month old and above) of the other tribes. There was
a shortfall of 273.

The sum collected was,

       Num    3:50  From the first-born of the sons of Israel
                    he hath taken the money, a thousand and
                    three hundred and sixty and five -- by the
                    shekel of the sanctuary; (YLT)

                   
So the 273 individuals (Num 3:46) resulted in 1,365 weights.

This is why translators have thought something was wrong with the 
repeated 'five of' in Num 3:47. The excess 273 individuals at rate of
5 shekels each would amount to 1,365 shekels.

However, Num 3:50 does not precisely say 1,365 shekels. It just says
1,365 'something'. That 'something' being a weight within the shekel
of the sanctuary currency system.

It could be that the duplicated 'five of' is meaningful. That the
1,365 weights are weights equal to 5 shekels each.
(That would represent a value equivalent to 6,825 shekels of the
sanctuary.) 

To reach a satisfactory conclusion on this matter we would need to
consider how these 1,365 weights were utilized.


DARICS / DRAMS / ADARKON or DARKEMON


There are a few references to 'darics' in the Old Testament.
(Sometimes rendered 'drams' or 'drachma')


They refer to the Hebrew words as 'adarkon' (H150) and 'darkemon' (H1871).


Under Strong's reference H150. Hebrew = Hebrew H150 adrknim

    1Chr  29:7   They gave for the work of the house of God
                 five thousand talents and ten thousand darics
                 of gold, ten thousand talents of silver,
                 eighteen thousand talents of bronze, and
                 one hundred thousand talents of iron.

    Ezra   8:27  and twenty gold bowls worth a thousand darics,
                 and two utensils of fine shiny bronze,
                 precious as gold. (NASB)


Under Strong's reference H1871. Hebrew = Hebrew H1871 drkmunim

    Ezra   2:69  According to their ability they gave to the
                 treasury for this work 61,000 darics of gold,
                 5,000 minas of silver and 100 priestly garments.
                 (NIV)

    Neh    7:71  Some of the heads of the families gave to the
                 treasury for the work 20,000 darics of gold
                 and 2,200 minas of silver.
            :72  The total given by the rest of the people was
                 20,000 darics of gold, 2,000 minas of silver
                 and 67 garments for priests. (NIV)


Under Strong's reference H1871. Hebrew = Hebrew H1871_2 drkmnim

    Neh    7:70  Some of the heads of the families contributed
                 to the work. The governor gave to the treasury
                 1,000 darics of gold, 50 bowls and 530 garments
                 for priests. (NIV)


We can notice that while two Strong's reference numbers are encountered
they are used interchangeably. The 1,000 'adarkon' of Ezra 8:27 are also
being described as 1,000 'darkemon' in Neh 7:70.

While the word 'darics' is used by translators it is apparent, when
one does the arithmetic, that the Srong's references H150 and H1871
are not referring to the Persian daric! The Old Testament references
are referring to a unit of weight equivalent to five sanctuary shekels!


The total number of gold weights was 61,000. Ezra 2:69.
(1,000 from the governor in the form of 20 gold basins, 20,000 from the
leaders of the families, 20,000 from the rest of the people, and another
20,000 from a source not openly stated.)


The calculation:

          Total number of gold 'darics'           61,000
          Less, 'darics' of 20 gold basins         1,000
                                                  ------
                                                  60,000

      Equals,

          100 talents x 3,000 shekels each       300,000  sanctuary
                                                          shekels


      Therefore,

          One gold H150/H1871 is the same as 5 sanctuary shekels!



1,100 SILVER BECOMES 200 SILVER


Judges chapters 17 and 18 present an interesting story where 1,100 pieces
of silver are subsequently represented as 200 pieces of silver.

    Judg 17:2   And he said to his mother, "The eleven hundred
                shekels of silver that were taken from you, and on
                which you put a curse, even saying it in my ears -
                here is the silver with me; I took it." And his
                mother said, "May you be blessed by the Lord, my son!"
           :3   So when he had returned the eleven hundred shekels
                of silver to his mother, his mother said, "I had
                wholly dedicated the silver from my hand to the
                Lord for my son, to make a carved image and a molded
                image; now therefore, I will return it to you."
           :4   Thus he returned the silver to his mother. Then his
                mother took two hundred shekels of silver and gave
                them to the silversmith, and he made it into a carved
                image and a molded image; and they were in the house
                of Micah.


The first point to note is that in these verses the Hebrew does not
actually provide the word 'shekels'. We only know for certain that
we are dealing with silver pieces or weights.

With the knowledge of the Hebrew weights it is reasonable to view
the presented information as follows.


      Original amount                1,100  silver shekels

      Less, silversmith cost           100  silver shekels
                                     -----
                                     1,000   shekels

      This equals                      200  '5 shekel' weights


It is also worth noting that according to Judges 17:4 only the
referenced 200 of silver were used to produce the carved images.
(This allows for 100 shekels to act as the fee charged by the
silversmith.)

It is likely that 100 '5 shekel' weights went into the carved image
(overlaid with silver) and 100 '5 shekel' weights went into the molded
image.



AN UNUSUAL REFERENCE


    Acts 19:19  Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought
                their books together and burned them in the sight of
                all. And they counted up the value of them, and it
                totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.
 
                [NB: In the Greek - "of-silver myraids five".
                     'Myraids' meaning 10,000.
                     The 'of silver' is Strong's reference G694 and
                     it means, 'silvery', by implication 'cash' or
                     'silverling' (eg drachma or shekel).]



COST OF BURIAL PLOTS

ABRAHAM - 400 SHEKELS


In the book of Genesis we have Abraham purchasing a burial plot.

    Gen  23:15   "My lord, listen to me; the land is worth four hundred
                 shekels of silver. What is that between you and me?
                 So bury your dead."        
           :16   And Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed
                 out the silver for Ephron which he had named in the
                 hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of
                 silver, currency of the merchants.
           :17   So the field of Ephron which was in Machpelah, which
                 was before Mamre, the field and the cave which was in
                 it, and all the trees that were in the field, which
                 were within all the surrounding borders, were deeded.
           :19   And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the
                 cave of the field of Machpelah, before Mamre (that
                 is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan.

The land was purchased for 400 shekels of silver. The unit of value being
defined as a measure utilized by the merchants. So what this is advising
is that this was not a small unit of measure. Rather, it was a standard
unit of measure commonly used by the merchants.




   Who was buried there?


  The land Abraham purchased was the place where Abraham, Sarah, 
  Rebekah, Leah were buried.

    Gen  49:31   There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife,
                 there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife,
                 and there I buried Leah. 


  We are told that Jacob was buried in the same location.

    Gen  50:10   Then they came to the threshing floor of Atad,
                 which is beyond the Jordan, and they mourned
                 there with a great and very solemn lamentation.
                 He observed seven days of mourning for his
                 father.
           :11   And when the inhabitants of the land, the
                 Canaanites, saw the mourning at the threshing
                 floor of Atad, they said, "This is a deep
                 mourning of the Egyptians."
                 Therefore its name was called Abel Mizraim,
                 which is beyond the Jordan.
           :12   So his sons did for him just as he had
                 commanded them.
           :13   For his sons carried him to the land of
                 Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the
                 field of Machpelah, before Mamre, which
                 Abraham bought with the field from Ephron
                 the Hittite as property for a burial place.
           :14   And after he had buried his father, Joseph
                 returned to Egypt, he and his brothers and
                 all who went up with him to bury his father.


  In the New Testament we are informed that not only Jacob,
  but also the tribal fathers were buried in the plot of
  land Abraham had purchased. 

    Acts  7:15   So Jacob went down to Egypt; and he died,
                 he and our fathers.
           :16   And they were carried back to Shechem and
                 laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for
                 a sum of money from the sons of Hamor,
                 the father of Shechem.


  So the following people were buried there,

                 -  Abraham and Sarah
                 -  Isaac and Rebekah
                 -  Jacob and Leah
                 -  "our fathers" (sons of Jacob)






  Where was Rachael was buried?


    Gen   35:19   So Rachel died and was buried on the way to
                  Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 
            :20   And Jacob set a pillar on her grave, which is
                  the pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day.

    1Sam  10:2    When you have departed from me today, you will  
                  find two men by Rachel’s tomb in the territory
                  of Benjamin at Zelzah; 


  

The burial plot was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre (that is Hebron).
This places the location south of Jerusalem.

However, Acts 7:16 records this as being in Shechem.

    Acts  7:16   And they were carried back to Shechem and
                 laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for
                 a sum of money from the sons of Hamor,
                 the father of Shechem.

Shechem is a name normally identified with a location north of Jerusalem.
So, in respect to location, there are some issues to be resolved.

JACOB - 100 PIECES OF MONEY


There is also a record of the purchase of a piece of land by Jacob.

    Gen  33:19   He {Jacob} bought the plot of land where he
                 had pitched his tent from the hand of the sons of
                 Hamor, Shechem's father, for a hundred pieces of
                 money.(NASB)

    Josh 24:32   Now they buried the bones of Joseph, which the sons
                 of Israel brought up from Egypt, at Shechem, in the
                 plot of land which Jacob had bought from the sons
                 of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces
                 of money; and they became the inheritance of Joseph's
                 sons.(NASB)

In these verses the word 'money' equals Strong's H7192, 'qsiytah'.
Strong's states, "probably meaning to weigh out".

(Also spelled 'kesitah' or 'qesitah'.)

This word is infrequently used in Scripture. Being found in these
two verses and Job 42:11.


The Hebrew in both verses says "in hundred qsiytah". The wording
"in hundred qsiytah" may be implying a combination of weighted
money, ie 'pieces of weighed money'.


This burial site location became an inheritance of the children of
Joseph.

    Josh  24:32   The bones of Joseph, which the children
                  of Israel had brought up out of Egypt,
                  they buried at Shechem, in the plot of
                  ground which Jacob had bought from the
                  sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for
                  one hundred of pieces of silver, and
                  and which had become an inheritance of
                  the children of Joseph.


This burial plot was located at Shechem. It had been purchased
by Jacob from the sons of Hamor (who was the father of Shechem).

According to Acts 7:16 Abraham had also bought from these people.

    Acts  7:16   And they were carried back to Shechem and
                 laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for
                 a sum of money from the sons of Hamor,
                 the father of Shechem.


It seems that as a result of events which occurred after the purchase
by Abraham there arose a need for Jacob to re-purchase the same plot
of land.

That indicates that the 100 pieces of weighed money was the equivalent
of the 400 shekels paid by Abraham. 

This possible if the 100 pieces represented the following,


             75 x 5 shekel weights  =   375 shekels
             25 x shekel weights    =    25 shekels
            ---                        ------------
            100 pieces                  400 shekels

** THE JEREMIAH LAND PURCHASE **


We have a record of Jeremiah purchasing a plot of land.

    Jer   32:6    And Jeremiah said, "The word of the Lord came
                  to me, saying,
            :7    'Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle
                  will come to you, saying, "Buy my field which
                  is in Anathoth, for the right of redemption
                  is yours to buy it." ' 
            :8    Then Hanamel my uncle's son came to me in the
                  court of the prison according to the word of
                  the Lord, and said to me, 'Please buy my field
                  that is in Anathoth, which is in the country
                  of Benjamin; for the right of inheritance is
                  yours, and the redemption yours; buy it for
                  yourself.' Then I knew that this was the word
                  of the Lord. 
            :9    So I bought the field from Hanamel, the son of
                  my uncle who was in Anathoth, and weighed out
                  to him the money seventeen shekels of silver.
            :10   And I signed the deed and sealed it, took
                  witnesses, and weighed the money on the scales. 


In verse 9, the actual Hebrew says, 

                         "... and I am weighing for him namely
                         the silver, seven shekels and ten
                         the silver."

In verse 10, the actual Hebrew says,

                         "... and weighed the silver in scales."


These statements are a little cryptic. However, it seems to be alluding
to seven shekels (either silver or gold) and ten silver weights.


These price of this land can also be a reference to the 400 shekels
paid by Abraham.

            7 gold shekels (50 to 1 ratio)    =  350  shekels
           10 coins (of 5 shekel value)       =   50  shekels
                                                 ---
                                                 400  shekels

              NB: The 50 to 1, gold silver ratio, was that
                   applied in the time of King Solomon, refer
                   the '666' discussion in the webpage,
BEAST, FALSE PROPHET % "666"
Indicating the burial plot initially purchased by Abraham was now being purchased by Jeremiah. This would also provide a further description of the location of the land. Jer 32:8 ... Please buy my field that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin ... Anathoth, is understood to be slightly to the north of Jerusalem. SUMMARY: So, we have three land purchases which initially appear to be situated in three different locations. The first clearly acquired for 400 shekels of silver. The other two prices being cryptic - although possibly also referring to the same value.

ARE THERE OTHER DIFFERENT SHEKELS?


We have already discussed that apart from the weight based shekel
there was also a lighter coin based shekel. 


However, Scripture also makes mention of some other descriptions.

SHEKEL OF THE MERCHANTS

      Gen   23:16  And Abraham listened to Ephron and Abraham weighed
                   out the silver for Ephron which he had named in
                   the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred
                   shekels of silver, currency of the merchants
                   [literal = passing to the merchant].


SHEKEL OF THE KING'S STANDARD

      2 Sam 14:26  And when he cut the hair of his head - at the
                   end of every year he cut it because it was
                   heavy on him - when he cut it, he weighed
                   the hair of his head at two hundred shekels
                   according to the king's standard [literal
                   = stone/weight of the king].


These very brief mentions are not enough to justify the existence of
another system of weights.

Rather, it seems that what became known as the shekel of the sanctuary
was previously known as the standard used by the merchants.

Also in respect to the measurement used by the king we also see the
three hundred shields which went into the House of the Forest of
Lebanon also utilising the same 100 shekels to the mina measurement.
Contrast 1 Kings 10:17 (3 mina of gold each) with 2 Chr 9:16 (300
shekels of gold each).


THE TALENT WEIGHT


Old Testament - H3603 - meaning is 'circle'.

Talent

        Exod  25:39, 37:24, 38:27,
        2Sam  12:30,
        1Kin  20:39,
        2Kin   5:22, 23:33,
        1Chr  20:2,
        2Chr  36:3,
        Esth   3:9
        Zech   5:7.

Talents

        Est   38:24,25,27,29,
        1Kin   9:14, 28, 10:10,14, 16:24
        2Kin   5:5,23, 15:19, 18:14, 23:23
        1Chr  19:6, 22:14, 29:4,7,
        2Chr   3:8, 8:18, 9:9,13, 25:6,9, 27:5, 36:3
        Ezra   7:22, 8:26
        Esth   3:9

The word is also translated, 'basin', cake' or 'disk'/'cover' (Zech 5:7).


New Testament  G5007 - meaning is 'balance'
                       by implication a certain 'weight' or 'talent'.

               G5006 - meaning is 'talent-like' in weight

Talent or Talents

        Matt  18:24 (of weights - G5007)
        Matt  25:15,16,20,22,24,25,28 (G5007)
        Rev   16:21 (G5006)


SANCTUARY - ARTICLES AND FURNISHINGS


There are a number of verses related to the Tent of Meeting and the
two temples. These verses discuss the gold and silver contents. As a
result these verses deserve more attention in respect to this topic.
However, for now this page just documents their presence.

INVENTORY FOR THE TENT OF MEETING


      Exod  38:24   All the gold that was used in all the work of
                    the holy place, that is, the gold of the offering,
                    was twenty-nine talents and seven hundred and
                    thirty shekels, according to the shekel of the
                    sanctuary.
              :25   And the silver from those who were numbered of
                    the congregation was one hundred talents and
                    one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five
                    shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary:
              :26   a bekah for each man (that is, half a shekel,
                    according to the shekel of the sanctuary), for
                    everyone included in the numbering from twenty
                    years old and above, for six hundred and three
                    thousand, five hundred and fifty men.
              :27   And from the hundred talents of silver were cast
                    the sockets of the sanctuary and the bases of the
                    veil: one hundred sockets from the hundred talents,
                    one talent for each socket.
              :28   Then from the one thousand seven hundred and
                    seventy-five shekels he made hooks for the pillars,
                    overlaid their capitals, and made bands for them.
              :29   The offering of bronze was seventy talents and
                    two thousand four hundred shekels.
              :30   And with it he made the sockets for the door of
                    the tabernacle of meeting, the bronze altar, the
                    bronze grating for it, and all the utensils for
                    the altar,
              :31   the sockets for the court all around, the bases
                    for the court gate, all the pegs for the tabernacle,
                    and all the pegs for the court all around.


                    Gold    -  29 talents    730 shekels
                    Silver  - 100 talents  1,775 shekels
                    Bronze  -  70 talents  2,400 shekels

INVENTORY FOR THE TEMPLE


Offering of David.

      1Chr  22:14   Indeed I have taken much trouble to prepare
                    for the house of the Lord one hundred thousand
                    talents of gold and one million talents of silver,
                    ...

                     100,000   talents of gold
                   1,000,000   talents of silver

[NB: These numbers seem too large to be measures of talents.]


In addition to this further offerings were made.

      1Chr  29:3    Moreover, because I have set my affection on
                    the house of my God, I have given to the house
                    of my God, over and above all that I have prepared
                    for the holy house, my own special treasure of gold
                    and silver:
              :4    three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir,
                    and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to
                    overlay the walls of the houses;
              :5    the gold for things of gold and the silver for things
                    of silver, and for all kinds of work to be done by
                    the hands of craftsmen. Who then is willing to
                    consecrate himself this day to the Lord?"
              :6    Then the leaders of the fathers' houses, leaders of
                    the tribes of Israel, the captains of thousands and
                    of hundreds, with the officers over the king's work,
                    offered willingly.
              :7    They gave for the work of the house of God five
                    thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold,
                    ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand
                    talents of bronze, and one hundred thousand talents
                    of iron.

                     3,000  talents of gold   (David - overlay and articles)
                     7,000  talents of silver (David - overlay and articles)
                     5,000  talents of gold   (Elders)
                    10,000  darics  of gold   (Elders)
                    10,000  talents of silver (Elders) 


[NB: Once again these appear too large.]


Also the Queen of Shaba gave Solomon.

      1Kin  10:10   And she gave the king 120 talents of gold,
                    large quantities of spices, and precious stones.
                    ...

                      120  talents of gold

FOR THE SECOND TEMPLE


We are advised in Ezra chapter 1 of the inventory of gold and silver temple  
articles.

      Ezra   1:7   King Cyrus also brought out the articles of
                   the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar
                   had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple
                   of his gods;
              :9   This is the number of them: thirty gold platters,
                   one thousand silver platters, twenty-nine knives,
              :10  thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver
                   basins of a similar kind, and one thousand other
                   articles.
              :11  All the articles of gold and silver were five
                   thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar
                   took with the captives who were brought from
                   Babylon to Jerusalem.    


                     30  gold platters        --
                  1,000  silver platters       |
                     29  knives                |   equals 5,400
                     30  gold basins           |          ('shekels'?)
                    410  silver basins         |
                  1,000  other articles       --


More information is provided in Ezra chapter 8.

This is discussing a division of the gold and silver to Sherebiah, Hashabiah
and ten other priests, which took place at the river of Ahava, during their
journey to Jeruasalem. 
There is an indication this occurred at the time of the Day of Atonement.
Refer Ezra 8:21 - a fast.

This was a journey which took place during the reign of King Artaxerxes
and upon reaching Jerusalem the silver and gold was to be weighed into the
hands of the priests, Levites and heads of the fathers' houses of those in
Jerusalem.

      Ezra   8:26  So I weighed into their hands 650 talents of silver,
                   and silver utensils worth a hundred talents, and a
                   hundred gold talents,
              :27  and twenty gold bowls worth a thousand darics, and
                   two utensils of fine shiny bronze, precious as gold.
                   (NASB) 


                   650  talents of silver
                   100  talents of silver articles
                   100  talents of gold
                    20  gold basins (worth 1,000 darics)
                     2  vessels of fine polished bronze (precious as gold)


Also in Nehemiah chapter seven.

    Neh    7:70  Some of the heads of the families contributed
                 to the work. The governor gave to the treasury
                 1,000 darics of gold, 50 bowls and 530 garments
                 for priests.
            :71  Some of the heads of the families gave to the
                 treasury for the work 20,000 darics of gold
                 and 2,200 minas of silver.
            :72  The total given by the rest of the people was
                 20,000 darics of gold, 2,000 minas of silver
                 and 67 garments for priests. (NIV)


  Governor          1,000  gold darics
                       50  basins
                      530  priestly garments
  Other Leaders    20,000  gold darics
                    2,200  silver minas
  Others           20,000  gold darics
                    2,000  silver minas
                       67  priestly garments







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