Archaeology, blog, z289
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Archaeology uncovers a thief


According to an article in the Jerusalem Post, archaeologists working in the old part of Jerusalem have uncovered a weight traced back to the first Temple period, making it about 2,700 years old.

These were used to measure how much items, such as gold or silver, weighed in order to determine a value.

However, this particular weight was a bit different. Made of limestone, it was 12 mm by 14 mm and its engraving said it was a two gerah (0.944 gram) weight.

Except there was one problem.

It didn’t weigh 0.944 grams, it weighed 3.61 grams, over three times as much.

So a thief would use this weight and a scale, to show the purchaser that he was selling them 6 grams of gold, when in fact he was only selling 2 grams.

READ: Weight used to cheat in trade during First Temple era found in Jerusalem

This false weight confirms the several Biblical warning against using false weights. It was obviously a problem in ancient Israel.

In Deuteronomy, we have this warning:

13 You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a large and a small. (Deuteronomy 25:13)

It seems that thieves would take along different types of weights and depending on who they were dealing with, and if they were buying or selling, they would pick out the fraudulent weight they needed.

If they were buying, the fraudsters would use the smaller weight resulting in them paying less than actual value, and the bigger weight if they were selling.

You shall have accurate balances, accurate weights, an accurate ephah, and an accurate hin; I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt. (Leviticus 19:36 NIV)

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