The text and translation in 2 Kings 12:4 are uncertain and difficult. See the Revised Version margin. The reference is probably not to a money standard, but to a poll tax which was levied in addition to the free-will offering. Genesis 23:16 implies the existence of a standard shekel and also probably the use of the precious metals in stamped bars or ingots of an approximately fixed weight or value, a primitive coinage. Code of Hammurabi presupposes these pieces, and records in cuneiform writing discovered in Cappadocia indicate that shekel pieces with a seal stamp were in use in Asia Minor in the time of Hammurabi (Sayce, Contemporary Review, August, 1907, XCII, 259). The existence of these pieces did not do away with the custom of weighing money, a practice which obtained in Israel down to the time of the exile (Jeremiah 32:10).
Walter R. Betteridge
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