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coin

Before the Exile the Jews had no regularly stamped money. They made use of uncoined shekels or talents of silver, which they weighed out (Genesis 23:16; Ex. 38:24; 2 Sam. 18:12).

Probably the silver ingots used in the time of Abraham may have been of a fixed weight, which was in some way indicated on them. The “pieces of silver” paid by Abimelech to Abraham (Genesis 20:16), and those also for which Joseph was sold (37:28), were probably in the form of rings.

The shekel was the common standard of weight and value among the Hebrews down to the time of the Captivity.

Only once is a shekel of gold mentioned (1 Chr. 21:25). The “six thousand of gold” mentioned in the transaction between Naaman and Gehazi (2 Kings 5:5) were probably so many shekels of gold.

The “piece of money” mentioned in Job 42:11; Genesis 33:19 (marginal note, “lambs”) was the Hebrew kesitah, probably an uncoined piece of silver of a certain weight in the form of a sheep or lamb, or perhaps having on it such an impression. The same Hebrew word is used in Josh. 24:32, which is rendered by Wickliffe “an hundred young sheep.”

Author: Matthew G. Easton.

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