The sela` in late Hebrew answers to the older shekel, and the mention of it seems to point to Jewish or Christian influence.
The Hebrew "shekel of the sanctuary" is familiar; the standard volume of the apet was secured in the dromus of Anubis at Memphis (35); in Athens, besides the standard weight, twelve copies for public comparison were kept in the city; also standard volume measures in several places (2); at Pompeii the block with standard volumes cut in it was found in the portico of the forum (33); other such standards are known in Greek cities (Gythium, Panidum and Trajanopolis) (11, 33); at Rome the standards were kept in the Capitol, and weights also in the temple of Hercules (2); the standard cubit of the Nilometer was before Constantine in the Serapaeum, but was removed by him to the church (2).
(It is better to avoid the name Babylonian, as it has other meanings also.) There are no weights dated before the Assyrian bronze lion weights (9, 17, 19, 38) of the 11th to 8th centuries B.C. Thirteen of this class average 127.2 for the shekel; 9 haematite barrel-shaped weights (38) give 128.2; 16 stone duck-weights (38), 126.5.
At Memphis (44) the shekel is scarcely known, and a 1/2 mina weight was there converted into another standard (of 200).
A few barrel weights are found at Karnak, and several egg-shaped shekel weights at Gebelen (44); also two cuboid weights from there (44) of 1 and 10 utens are marked as 6 and 60, which can hardly refer to any unit but the heavy shekel, giving 245.
In later times in Egypt a class of large glass scarabs for funerary purposes seem to be adjusted to the shekel (30).
There is no doubt but that in the Maccabean times and onward 218 was the shekel; but the use of the word darkemon by Ezra and Nehemiah, and the probabilities of their case, point to the daragmaneh, 1/60 maneh or shekel of Assyria; and the mention of 1/3 shekel by Nehemiah as poll tax nearly proves that the 129 and not 218 grains is intended, as 218 is not divisible by 3.
But the Maccabean use of 218 may have been a reversion to the older shekel; and this is strongly shown by the fraction 1/4 shekel (1 Sam.
This would all be against the 129 or 258 shekel, and for the 218 or 224.
Probably the 129 and 224 systems coexisted in the country; but on the whole it seems more likely that 129 or rather 258 grains was the Hebrew shekel before the Ptolemaic times -- especially as the 100 shekels to the mina is paralleled by the following Persian system (Hultsch) --
And a strange division of the shekel in 10 (probably therefore connected with this decimal mina) is shown by a series of bronze weights (44) with four curved sides and marked with circles (British Museum, place unknown), which may be Romano-Gallic, averaging 125/10.
In actual use this unit varied greatly: at Naucratis (29) there are groups of it at 231, 223 and others down to 208; this is the earliest form in which we can study it, and the corresponding values to these are 130 and 126, or the gold and trade varieties of the Babylonian, while the lower tail down to 208 corresponds to the shekel down to 118, which is just what is found.
The commonest weight at Troy (44) is the shekel, averaging 224.
It is needless to give the continual evidences of this being the later Jewish shekel, both from coins (max.
223) and writers (2, 18, 33); the question of the early shekel we have noticed already under 129.
The system which is perhaps the best known, through its adoption by Solon in Athens, and is thence called Attic or Solonic, is nevertheless far older than its introduction into Greece, being found in full vigour in Egypt in the 6th century B.C. It has been usually reckoned as a rather heavier form of the 129 shekel, increased to 134 on its adoption by Solon.
SHEKEL (from Heb.
In the time of Josephus it seems that the light shekel weighed from 210 to 210.55 grains; the heavy shekel was twice that amount, which is practically identical with the Phoenician weight (224.4 grains).
24 the temple tax of half a shekel is called a didrachm (2 drams).
The Hebrews divided the shekel into 20 parts, each of which was called a gerah.
That of burnt-offering; (2) the command as to the half-shekel presupposes the census of Num.