“All the gold used for the work in everything needed for the sanctuary, the gold of the offering, weighed 29 talents 730 shekels [1,930 pounds], using the sanctuary shekel.”-Exodus 38:24
From verse 21, we are told that Itamar, the youngest son of Aaron the High Priest, was placed in charge of recording inventory to ensure that the construction of the Tabernacle conformed to the vision given by God to Moses.
However, more than just merely recording the inventory, Itamar was also serving as a historian as he chronicled the building of the Tabernacle and some scholars say he most likely assisted Moses in writing some parts of the Torah.
Although many bibles will describe the weight of the various construction materials as being in pounds and tons, the original Hebrew is KIKKARS and SHEKELS.
KIKKAR is usually translated into the word “talent” in our English Bibles.
Just as a ton is our largest unit of weight measurement, in those days a TALENT was considered to be the largest unit of weight measurement.
A talent equalled 3,600 SHEKELS.
Now it wouldn’t be until a full 8 centuries after this time that the use of coins came into play in Hebrew society.
When the use of coins finally did become commonplace, the SHEKEL became the standard unit of Israeli money.
However, right up until the exile of Judah to Babylon, in the Bible the word SHEKEL was NOT referring to a coin.
It was just a unit of weight, like an ounce or a kilogram.
So all through the times of Moses, King David, and King Solomon, the SHEKEL always meant a certain amount of silver that was weighed out on a scale.
For example, when we read about a Hebrew redeeming his firstborn son for one-half a SHEKEL, it is referring to the weight of a certain measured amount of silver.
In terms of the Bible books, it isn’t until we come to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah that SHEKEL begins to mean coins.
And just in case in you wanted know, as of today (Fri-July 15th, 2016), one US dollar is worth about 4 SHEKELS.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“But to avoid offending them —
go to the lake,
throw out a line,
and take the first fish you catch.
Open its mouth,
and you will find a shekel.
Take it and give it to them
for me and for you.”
NEXT TIME WE BEGIN EXODUS CHAPTER 39