weight, the common standard both of weight and value among the Hebrews. It is estimated at 220 English grains, or a little more than half an ounce avoirdupois. The "shekel of the sanctuary" ( Exodus 30:13 ; Numbers 3:47 ) was equal to twenty gerahs ( Ezekiel 45:12 ). There were shekels of gold ( 1 Chronicles 21:25 ), of silver ( 1 Samuel 9:8 ), of brass ( 17:5 ), and of iron (7). When it became a coined piece of money, the shekel of gold was equivalent to about 2 pound of our money. Six gold shekels, according to the later Jewish system, were equal in value to fifty silver ones.
The temple contribution, with which the public sacrifices were bought ( Exodus 30:13 ; 2 Chr 24:6 ), consisted of one common shekel, or a sanctuary half-shekel, equal to two Attic drachmas. The coin, a stater (q.v.), which Peter found in the fish's mouth paid this contribution for both him and Christ ( Matthew 17:24 Matthew 17:27 ). A zuza, or quarter of a shekel, was given by Saul to Samuel ( 1 Samuel 9:8 ).
shek'-'-l, shek'-el, she'-kel, she'-kul (sheqel):
A weight and a coin. The Hebrew shekel was the 50th part of a mina, and as a weight about 224 grains, and as money (silver) was worth about 2 shillings 9d., or 66 cents (in 1915). No gold shekel has been found, and hence, it is inferred that such a coin was not used; but as a certain amount of gold, by weight, it is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 3:9 and is probably intended to be supplied in 2 Kings 5:5. The gold shekel was 1/60 of the heavy Babylonian mina and weighed about 252 grains. In value it was about equal to 2 British pounds and 1 shilling, or about .00 (in 1915). See MONEY; WEIGHTS AND MEASURES. In the Revised Version (British and American) of Matthew 17:27 "shekel" replaces "piece of money" of the King James Version, the translation of stater.
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