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August 21    Scripture

Manners & Customs: Currency
Currency in the Ancient World

Money in Easton's Bible Dictionary Of uncoined money the first notice we have is in the history of Abraham (Gen. 13:2; 20:16; 24:35). Next, this word is used in connection with the purchase of the cave of Machpelah (23:16), and again in connection with Jacob's purchase of a field at Shalem (Gen. 33:18, 19) for "an hundred pieces of money"=an hundred Hebrew kesitahs (q.v.), i.e., probably pieces of money, as is supposed, bearing the figure of a lamb. The history of Joseph affords evidence of the constant use of money, silver of a fixed weight. This appears also in all the subsequent history of the Jewish people, in all their internal as well as foreign transactions. There were in common use in trade silver pieces of a definite weight, shekels, half-shekels, and quarter-shekels. But these were not properly coins, which are pieces of metal authoritatively issued, and bearing a stamp. Of the use of coined money we have no early notice among the Hebrews. The first mentioned is of Persian coinage, the daric (Ezra 2:69; Neh. 7:70) and the 'adarkon (Ezra 8:27). The daric (q.v.) was a gold piece current in Israel in the time of Cyrus. As long as the Jews, after the Exile, lived under Persian rule, they used Persian coins. These gave place to Greek coins when Israel came under the dominion of the Greeks (B.C. 331), the coins consisting of gold, silver, and copper pieces. The usual gold pieces were staters (q.v.), and the silver coins tetradrachms and drachms. In the year B.C. 140, Antiochus VII. gave permission to Simon the Maccabee to coin Jewish money. Shekels (q.v.) were then coined bearing the figure of the almond rod and the pot of manna.
http://www.bible-history.com/eastons/M/Money/


Money in Fausset's Bible Dictionary No coined money is mentioned in the Bible before Ezra'a time , when other evidence also exists of its having been current in Israel. (See EZRA.) The first notice of coinage, occurring exactly when it ought, if the books professing to precede Ezra's really do so, confirms the accepted earliness of their dates. Money was originally weighed; in the form of rings, as represented on Egyptian monuments. So the Celtic gold rings all contain exact multiples or parts of a unit; probably a currency introduced by Phoenician traders. We know of Greek coinage as far back as the eighth century B.C. Asiatic is probably not older than Cyrus and Croesus who are said to have originated it. It was known probably in Samaria through commerce with Greece. Pheidon first coined silver in the isle Aegina in the eighth or ninth century before Christ, some time between Jehoshaphat's and Hezekiah's reigns. Lydia disputes with Greece priority of coinage. It is not mentioned as a currency in Judea before the return from Babylon. "Shekel" previously meant a weight, not a coinage. The "thousand pieces of silver" which Abimelech gave Abraham (Genesis 20:16) were of this kind; so the 400 shekels "weighed" by Abraham to Ephron (Genesis 23:3; Genesis 23:9; Genesis 23:16), "current (money) with the merchant"; implying that the silver was in some conventional shapes, with a rude sign to mark its weight. The "weighing" however implies that this currency did not bear the stamp of authority, and so needed weighing for barter. Jacob paid 100 kesitahs for a field at Shalem (Genesis 23:18-19 margin); Chald. and Septuagint "lambs," namely, lamb shaped or lamb stamped pieces of silver, as pecunia, from pecus; but the Arabic root implies equal division, or scales; Umbreit, "weighed out" (compare with Genesis 23:15-16), possibly each equal to four shekels; it is probably a ring-shaped ingot or a bar of silver of a definite weight; Bochart from qasat, "pure" (Job 42:11). Joseph's brethren received their money "in full weight" (Genesis 43:21). Silver money alone was used, the standard shekel weight being kept in the sanctuary under charge of the priests, from whence arose the phrase "the shekel of the sanctuary" (Exodus 30:18). The wedge or tongue of gold that Achan took was not money probably, as the 200 shekels of silver were, but an article of value used for costly ornamentation. In Isaiah 46:6, however, gold seems to mean uncoined money, "they lavish gold out of the purse ('bag'), and weigh silver in the balance." The Attic talent was the standard one under Alexander, and subsequently down to Roman times; the drachma however becoming depreciated from 67.5 or 65.5 grains under Alexandra to 55 under the early Ceasars; the Roman coinage, gold and silver, in weights was conformed to the Greek, and the denarius the chief silver coin was equivalent to the then depreciated Attic drachma. Antiochus VII granted Simon the Maccabee permission to coin money with his own stamp, the first recorded coining of Jewish money (1 Maccabees 15:6; 140 B.C.); inscribed "shekel of Israel"; a vase, possibly the pot of manna, and the Hebrew letter 'Aleph ( ? ) above it (i.e. the first year of Jewish independence, namely, under the Maccabees); the reverse has "Jerusalem the holy," and a branch with three flowers, possibly Aaron's rod that budded or the pomegranate. In copper, on one...
http://www.bible-history.com/faussets/M/Money/


Money in Naves Topical Bible Silver used as Ge 17:12,13,23,27; 20:16; 23:9,13; 31:15; 37:28; 42:25-35; 43:12-23; 44:1-8; 47:14-18; Ex 12:44; 21:11,21,34,35; 22:7,17,25; 30:16; Le 22:11; 25:37,51; 27:15,18; Nu 3:48-51; 18:16; De 2:6,28; 14:25,26; 21:14; 23:19; Jud 5:19; 16:18; 17:4; 1Ki 21:2,6,15; 2Ki 5:26; 12:4,7-16; 15:20; 22:7,9; 23:35; 2Ch 24:5,11,14; 34:9,14,17; Ezr 3:7; 7:17; Ne 5:4,10,11; Es 4:7; Job 31:39; Ps 15:5; Pr 7:20; Ec 7:12; 10:19; Isa 43:24; 52:3; 55:1,2; Jer 32:9,10,25,44; La 5:4; Mic 3:11; Mt 25:18,27; 28:12,15; Mr 14:11; Lu 9:3; 19:15,23; 22:5; Ac 7:16; 8:20 -Gold used as Ge 13:2; 24:35; 44:8; with 44:1; 1Ch 21:25; Ezr 8:25-27; Isa 13:17; 46:6; 60:9; Eze 7:19; 28:4; Mt 2:11; 10:9; Ac 3:6; 20:33; 1Pe 1:18 -Copper used as Mr 6:8; 12:41 -Weighed Ge 23:16; 43:21; Job 28:15; Jer 32:9,10; Zec 11:12 -Image on Mt 22:20,21 -Conscience Jud 17:2; Mt 27:3,5 -Atonement Ex 30:12-16; Le 5:15,16 -Sin 2Ki 12:16 -Value of, varied corruptly Am 8:5 -Love of, the root of evil 1Ti 6:10 -See FARTHING -See GERAH -See MITE -See PENNY -See POUND -See SHEKEL -See SILVER -See TALENT
http://www.bible-history.com/naves/M/MONEY/


Money in Smiths Bible Dictionary 1. Uncointed money. --It is well known that ancient nations that were without a coinage weighed the precious metals, a practice represented on the Egyptian monuments, on which gold and silver are shown to have been kept in the form of rings. We have no evidence of the use of coined money before the return from the Babylonian captivity; but silver was used for money, in quantities determined by weight, at least as early as the time of Abraham; and its earliest mention is in the generic sense of the price paid for a slave. Ge 17:13 The 1000 pieces of silver paid by Abimelech to Abraham, Ge 20:16 and the 20 pieces of silver for which Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelites, Ge 37:28 were probably rings such as we see on the Egyptian monuments in the act of being weighed. In the first recorded transaction of commerce, the cave of Machpelah is purchased by Abraham for 400 shekels of silver. The shekel weight of silver was the unit of value through the whole age of Hebrew history, down to the Babylonian captivity. 2. Coined money. --After the captivity we have the earliest mention of coined money, in allusion, as might have been expected, to the Persian coinage, the gold daric (Authorized version dram). Ezr 2:69; 8:27; Ne 7:70,71,72 [DARIC] No native Jewish coinage appears to have existed till Antiochus VII. Sidetes granted Simon Maccabaeus the license to coin money, B.C. 140; and it is now generally agreed that the oldest Jewish silver coins belong to this period. They are shekels and half-shekels, of the weight of 220 and 110 grains. With this silver there was associated a copper coinage. The abundant money of Herod the Great, which is of a thoroughly Greek character, and of copper only, seems to have been a continuation of the copper coinage of the Maccabees, with some adaptation to the Roman standard. In the money of the New Testament we see the native copper coinage side by side with the Graeco-Roman copper, silver and gold. (The first coined money mentioned in the Bible refers to the Persian coinage, 1Ch 29:7; Ezr 2:69 and translated dram. It is the Persian daric, a gold coin worth about $5.50. The coins mentioned by the evangelists, and first those of silver, are the following: The stater, Mt 17:24-27 called piece of money, was a Roman coin equal to four drachmas. It was worth 55 to 60 cents, and is of about the same value as the Jewish stater, or coined shekel. The denarius, or Roman penny, as well as the Greek drachma, then of about the same weight, are spoken of as current coins. Mt 22:15-21; Lu 20:19-25 They were worth about 15 cents. Of copper coins the farthing and its half, the mite, are spoken of, and these probably formed the chief native currency. (The Roman farthing (quadrans) was a brass coin worth .375 of a cent. The Greek farthing (as or assarion) was worth four Roman farthings, i.e. about one cent and a half. A mite was half a farthing, and therefore was worth about two-tenths of a cent if the half of the Roman farthing, and about 2 cents if the half of the Greek farthing. See table of Jewish weights and measures. --ED.)
http://www.bible-history.com/smiths/M/Money/


Money in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE mun'-i: Various terms are used for money in the Bible, but the most common are the Hebrew keceph, and Greek argurion, both meaning silver. We find also qesiTah, rendered by Septuagint "lambs," probably referring to money in a particular form; chalkos, is used for money in Mt 10:9; Mk 6:8; 12:41. It was the name of a small coin of Agrippa II (Madden, Coins of the Jews); chrema, "price," is rendered money in Acts 4:37; 8:18,20; 24:26; kerma, "piece," i.e. piece of money (Jn 2:15); didrachmon, "tribute money" (Mt 17:24 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "half-shekel"); kensos, "census," "tribute money" (Mt 22:19). 1. Material and Form: Gold and silver were the common medium of exchange in Syria and Israel in the earliest times of which we have any historical record. The period of mere barter had passed before Abraham. The close connection of the country with the two great civilized centers of antiquity, Egypt and Babylonia, had led to the introduction of a currency for the purposes of trade. We have abundant evidence of the use of these metals in the Biblical records, and we know from the monuments that they were used as money before the time of Abraham. The patriarch came back from his visit to Egypt "rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold" (Gen 13:2). There was no system of coinage, but they had these metals cast in a convenient form for use in exchange, such as bars or rings, the latter being a common form and often represented or mentioned on the monuments of Egypt. In Babylonia the more common form seems to have been the former, such as the bar, or wedge, that Achan found in the sack of Jericho (Josh 7:21). This might indicate that the pieces were too large for ordinary use, but we have indications of the use of small portions also (2 Ki 12:9; Job 42:11). But the pieces were not so accurately divided as to pass for money without weighing, as we see in the case of the transaction between Abraham and the children of Heth for the purchase of the field of Machpelah (Gen 23). This transaction indicates also the common use of silver as currency, for it was "current money with the merchant," and earlier than this we have mention of the use of silver by Abraham as money: "He that is born in thy house and he that is bought with thy money" (Gen 17:13). Jewels of silver and gold were probably made to conform to the shekel weight, so that they might be used for money in case of necessity. Thus Abraham's servant gave to Rebecca a gold ring of half a shekel weight and bracelets of ten shekels weight (Gen 24:22). The bundles of money carried by the sons of Jacob to Egpyt for the purchase of grain (Gen 42:35) were probably silver rings tied together in bundles. The Hebrew for "talent," kikkar, signifies something round or circular, suggesting a ring of this weight to be used as money. The ordinary term for money was keceph, "silver," and this word preceded by a numeral always refers to money, either with or without "shekel," which we are probably to supply where it is not expressed after the numeral, at least wherever value is involved, as the shekel (sheqel) was the standard...
http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/M/MONEY/


Money Scripture - 1 Kings 21:15 And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/1+Kings/21/


Money Scripture - 1 Kings 21:2 And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it [is] near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; [or], if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/1+Kings/21/


Money Scripture - 1 Kings 21:6 And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee [another] vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/1+Kings/21/


Money Scripture - 2 Chronicles 24:14 And when they had finished [it], they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada, whereof were made vessels for the house of the LORD, [even] vessels to minister, and to offer [withal], and spoons, and vessels of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the LORD continually all the days of Jehoiada.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/2+Chronicles/24/


Money Scripture - 2 Kings 12:13 Howbeit there were not made for the house of the LORD bowls of silver, snuffers, basons, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver, of the money [that was] brought into the house of the LORD:
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/2+Kings/12/


Money Scripture - 2 Kings 23:35 And Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh; but he taxed the land to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh: he exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land, of every one according to his taxation, to give [it] unto Pharaohnechoh.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/2+Kings/23/


Money Scripture - Deuteronomy 14:26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Deuteronomy/14/


Money Scripture - Deuteronomy 21:14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Deuteronomy/21/


Money Scripture - Exodus 30:16 And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Exodus/30/


Money Scripture - Isaiah 43:24 Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Isaiah/43/


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