Money during the Old Testament

 

Coins as money were not used till about 500 BC. Barter was used for transaction. Generally in the Old Testament, when an amount of silver or gold is given, such as 10 shekels of silver, this means that weight of silver, not 10 silver coins. There was no constant standard and the actual values of these terms changed from time to time, place to place, and with the honesty of the person. A rough guide is given in the table.

Weights

Biblical Unit

 

Metric approximate

Bible Reference

Talent

3,000 shekels

34,000 grams

 

Mina

50 shekels

600

Ezekiel 45:12

Shekel

 

11.5

 

Pim

2/3 shekel

7.6

 

Beka

1/2 shekel

5.5

 

Gerah

1/20 shekel

0.6 grams

Ex 30:13

 

Dry Measure

Biblical Unit

 

Metric Approximate

Cor, Homer

10 Ephahs

220 Liters

Lethech

5

110

Ephah

 

22 Liters

Seah

1/3 Ephah

7.3

Omer

1/10

2.2

Cab

1/18

1.22 Liters

 

Liquid Measure

Biblical Unit

 

Metric Approximate

Bath

 

22 Liters

Hin

1/6 Bath

4

Log

1/72 Bath

0.3 Liters

 

 

The Bible gives some indication of purchasing power at various times:

Purchasing power

One Shekel

1 Seah (12.5 liters) fine meal, II Kings 7:16

2 Seah (25 liters) barley

 

2 Shekels

1 Ram, Lev. 5:15

 

50 Shekels

1 Homer (370 or 134 liters) of barley, Lev. 27:16

50X25=1,250 ? so it is not consistent?

 

150 pieces of silver

one horse I Kings 10:29

 

600 pieces of silver

one chariot from Egypt I Kings 10:29

 

Hosea bought back Gomer, the prostitute, and her three children (Jezreel, Lo-Ruhamah, and Lo-Ammi) for 15 pieces of silver plus 1.5 homer of barley.

 

 

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Created 05/12/02

Last revised 1/18/2003