Archive for beka

There Shall Be Seven Weeks: The Temple Tax

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2021 by paulthepoke

Daniel 9:25b …there shall be seven weeks…

The context of this series of posts is the course of the Jewish people for the initial 49 years of the 483 year period communicated from the angel Gabriel to the prophet Daniel. The city of Jerusalem has been rebuilt post exile. These events are covered in Nehemiah 8-13. Israel is returning to God’s Law. The Shemitah has been revived. Up next is the reinstatement of the Temple Tax.

Nehemiah 10:32 We also take on ourselves the obligation to give yearly a third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God:

Under the leadership of Nehemiah, the Temple Tax was reinstated. Let’s look at what Nehemiah is proposing compared to what Moses states in the law.

Exodus 30:13-16 This is what everyone who is numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as a contribution to the Lord. Everyone who is numbered, from twenty years old and over, shall give the contribution to the Lord. The rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less than the half shekel, when you give the contribution to the Lord to make atonement for yourselves. You shall take the atonement money from the sons of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the sons of Israel before the Lord, to make atonement for yourselves.”

Here are the specifics of the Temple Tax for service.

  1. Tax of 1/2 Shekel is cost.
  2. Men 20 years of age and older shall pay.
  3. No sliding scale of taxation. Rich and poor pay the same.
  4. Yearly contribution required.
  5. Purpose is for atonement of personal life.

Everything appears to be in alignment with one exception. Moses said 1/2 shekel and Nehemiah says 1/3 shekel. Why the difference? Is Nehemiah being disobedient or cheap?

There are many theories and conjectures as to why the difference. The most reasonable explanation may come from Ridgeway’s Origin of Currency and Weight Measures.

In Moses’ day, Jews contributed a beka or a half shekel.

Exodus 38:26 a beka a head (that is, half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary)…

One beka or a half shekel equals 5.67 grams or about 65 grains.

Roughly one thousand years had passed from the Exodus and Moses (1440 BC) to Nehemiah’s return to the Promised Land (440 BC).

In Nehemiah’s day, the Babylonian Empire standard was the stater or shekel. This would have been the relevant currency for the Israelis of the time. The stater weighed about 173 grains. One third of a stater or shekel would be 58 grains.

One beka or a half shekel equals 65 grains verses one third stater or shekel equals 58 grains. These two measurements relative to their time and cultural influence are essentially equal.

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Fast forward about another 470 years to the time of Jesus. The Roman Empire is in control over the region of Israel and the city of Capernaum. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus made the following observation.

‘The emperor commanded every Jew to pay the two drachma annually to the Capitol which they had before been accustomed to pay to the Temple at Jerusalem.’

Matthew 17:24 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?”

This had to really irritate the Jews, specifically Peter and the apostles. The trap had been set. The Roman tax collectors knew who Jesus claimed to be. Jesus was the Jewish King and Messiah. Would Jesus bow to the Romans and pay the tax?

The two-drachma tax is known as the δίδραχμον/didrachma in the original Greek text. The didrachma was a silver coin during the life and times of Jesus that was equal to one half shekel.

We know how the rest of the story goes. Jesus had Peter go fishing. No problem, Jesus and Peter’s tax was paid.

Historical research provided by Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges via Bible Hub.

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So here we are roughly 2,000 years later from the time of Christ. Israel is back in the land. Jerusalem is their capital. The modern day Sanhedrin has reconvened. The Temple Tax and the beka are back in the news.

The modern day Sanhedrin issued a Temple Tax back in February 2017. They even minted 1,000 coins with the images of Cyrus the Great and President Donald Trump. They are raising money for the promised third Temple.

So a tax written by Moses as told to him by God over 3,400 years ago, still relevant…

Ancient Beka Found Near Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Posted in Temple, Trend Update with tags , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2018 by paulthepoke

Exodus 30:13-16 This is what everyone who is numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as a contribution to the Lord. Everyone who is numbered, from twenty years old and over, shall give the contribution to the Lord. The rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less than the half shekel, when you give the contribution to the Lord to make atonement for yourselves. You shall take the atonement money from the sons of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the sons of Israel before the Lord, to make atonement for yourselves.”

beka Eliyahu Yanai David TOI

Photo: Eliyahu Yanai, City of David, Times of Israel

November 2018: An ancient weight from the first Temple era has been discovered in Jerusalem. The “beka” has been found in an archeological dig. A “beka” was used by Jews to pay the half-shekel Temple tax as mandated by the Law in Exodus 30 as noted in the verses above.

The term “beka” is noted two places in the Bible. The first notation is with Rebekah and Abraham’s servant Eliezer.

Genesis 24:22 When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a beka and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels in gold…

The second and last mention is in regards to the individual payment of the Temple tax.

Exodus 38:26 a beka a head (that is, half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary), for each one who passed over to those who were numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for 603,550 men.

A Biblical shekel weighs 11.33 grams. Two beka equal one shekel. One beka equals 5.67 grams. Ten gerah equal a beka.

The “beka” was located in Jerusalem’s Emek Tzurim National Park. Specifically, it was found at the foundation of the Western Wall. The pebble was found during 2013 excavations under Robinson’s Arch. The dirt came from a drainage canal under the foundation of the Western Wall. This location would be next to Solomon’s Temple.

Eli Shukron was in charge of the dig on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Shukron made the following statement.

“When the half-shekel tax was brought to the Temple during the First Temple period, there were no coins, so they used silver ingots. In order to calculate the weight of these silver pieces they would put them on one side of the scales and on the other side they placed the beka weight. The beka was equivalent to the half-shekel, which every person from the age of 20 years and up was required to bring to the Temple.”

“This three thousand-year-old beka weight, inscribed with ancient Hebrew was likely used in the First Temple, anchoring once again, the deep historical connection of the Jewish People to Jerusalem,” said Doron Spielman, Vice President of the City of David Foundation which funded the excavation.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/straight-from-the-bible-tiny-first-temple-stone-weight-unearthed-in-jerusalem/

 

In the 21st century, the modern-day Sanhedrin has revived the law or mitzvah for the half-shekel levy (roughly $4 in today’s economy). The cause is to rebuild the third Temple.

Here is today’s version of the half-shekel Temple tax…

Temple Coin Sputnik

Photo: Sputnik News

https://paulthepoke.com/?s=half+shekel

 

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