|BEFORE THERE WERE COINS|
are a multitude of references to values of exchange in the Bible - shekels,
bekas, talents, etc. starting in the time of Moses (early 13th century BCE),
when "The Lord spake unto Moses, saying ... Every
one that passeth among them that are numbered, (males) from twenty years
old and above, shall give an offering unto the Lord ... half a shekel after
the shekel of the sactuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs)." There were
no coins at this time, so standard weights were used. Earlier (c.2000 BCE),
when Abraham's servant first saw Rebekah, the future wife of Isaac, he "took
a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands
of ten shekels weight of gold" (Genesis 24:22). And King David's
(c. 1000 BCE) "spearhead weighed six hundred shekels
of iron" (I Samuel 17:7).
Hoard of silver ingots, late 8-7th centuries BCE
By 800 BCE, there was a rather sophisticated system of weights established, based on the shekel. Standard weights were polished domed stones, engraved with the weight - from fractions to multiples of a shekel. (#2)
A selection of Judaean Stone Weights, L to R: 8 Gerah (3.96gm), Beqa (6.7gm), Pym (8.8gm), Shekel (10.7gm), and 8 Shekels (90gm).
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