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Bible Dictionaries

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary


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It is not possible today to give exact equivalents of the weights and measures referred to in the Bible. It seems that no official system operated throughout Palestine, and weights and measures may have varied from place to place and from era to era.


The important requirement of the Israelite law was that weights and measures be honest (Leviticus 19:5-36; Deuteronomy 25:13-16). This was a requirement that greedy and dishonest merchants ignored. When selling grain they used undersized measures, and when weighing the buyer’s money they used extra heavy weights (Amos 8:4-5). But God saw their dishonesty and announced his judgment upon them (Proverbs 11:1; Micah 6:11).

The heaviest weight in use in Israel was the talent, which probably weighed about 50 kilograms (1 Chronicles 29:7; Revelation 16:21; see TALENT). A talent was divided into sixty minas (1 Kings 10:17), and a mina into fifty shekels. Thus a shekel, which was the basic weight, weighed between sixteen and seventeen grams (Ezekiel 4:10; see SHEKEL). Half a shekel was called a beka (Exodus 38:26), and a twentieth of a shekel a gerah (Exodus 30:13).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Weights'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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