Ancient weights were usually made of stone or metal, often inscribed with their weight and standard, the shekel being the basic weight of all Semitic nations. Weights of gold and silver served as currency, since coinage was not invented until the seventh century B.C. Weights are given in ascending order, with their approximate imperial and metric equivalents.
Gerah (1/20 shekel): about 1/50 ounce (about 0.6 gram)
The royal shekel2Sa 14:26The royal shekel, also known in Babylonia, was slightly heavier (at about 13 grams) than the standard shekel and reflects David’s attempts to bring some standardisation to this weight.
Mina (50 shekels): about 1 1/4 pounds (about 0.6 kilogram)
Eze 45:12Although the mina is valued here at 60 shekels, there is some evidence that in the pre-exilic period it was valued at 50 shekels. See also1Ki 10:17; Ezr 2:69; Ne 7:71-72; Da 5:25-26 “Mene” can mean both “numbered” and “mina”; Lk 19:11-27 By NT times the mina had become coinage rather than simply a weight of silver, and was worth about three months’wages.
Dictionary of Bible Themes Scripture index copyright Martin H. Manser, 2009. As Editor, Martin Manser wishes to thank all those who compiled or edited the NIV Thematic Study Bible, on which this work is based.
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