The stone weight that was used for trade in Jerusalem about 2,700 years ago weighs more than three times the weight indicated on it, and the researchers believe that it was used by merchants who wanted to cheat in the trading process. The phenomenon of cheating in commerce is also known from the Bible and it appears in several commandments that demand to avoid this act: "You shall not do injustice in justice in proportion to weight and sparing; Scales of righteousness, stones of righteousness, what kind of righteousness and whether righteousness shall be for you" (Leviticus XNUMX, la - lu)
A Shani Graa weight that was apparently used by counterfeiters at the end of the First Temple period, was discovered in archaeological dirt originating from the main drainage canal of Jerusalem, at the foundations of the Western Wall north of the City of David. It is very rare and is the second found in archaeological excavations in Israel.
The tiny weight, which is 14 mm in diameter and 12 mm high, is made of smoothed and well-polished hard reddish limestone, and on its upper part two straight, parallel, thick lines appear in a deep engraving indicating the weight of two grams, which is 0.944 grams. After the weight was discovered, it was weighed, and the researchers were surprised to find that it weighed no less than 3.61 grams - more than three times its expected weight.
According to Archaeologist Eli Shukron who managed the excavation and studied the find together with Hagai Cohen Clonymous from the Hebrew University, the obvious conclusion is that this is a weight that was used to forge and cheat in the trading process.
"The Bible indicates that the problem of weight cheating is not a new thing, merchants cheated and kept separate heavy and light weight systems and used them when buying or selling." say the researchers. This phenomenon is criticized in several sources in the Bible, for example in the book of Deuteronomy it is written: "You shall not have a stone in your pocket, a large or small stone, you shall not have in your house anywhere, large or small, a perfect stone and justice shall be with you, where peace and justice shall be with you, so that your days on earth will be prolonged which the Lord your God gives you, because the Lord your God abhors everything you do, everything you do wrong" (Deuteronomy XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX). The book of Proverbs also criticizes the phenomenon of cheating using weights: "The Lord abhors a stone and a stone, and deceitful scales that are not good" (Proverbs XNUMX:XNUMX).
The stone weight was discovered during an archaeological dirt screening activity in the Emek Zurim National Park as part of the "archaeological experience" offered by the City of David to the general public.
The Hagara weights are the smallest weights in the weight system of the Kingdom of Judah at the end of the First Temple period. Their weight is less than that of the shekel, which is half the shekel (5.66 grams), and unlike the shekel, their size leaves room for the inscription of the number only, without a marking indicating that it is indeed a "gara".24 Gara make up a shekel, and this measure of weight appears in the Bible: in Sefer Exodus XNUMX:XNUMX "This They will give all the past on the orders, half the shekel in the holy shekel, twenty gerahs of the shekel, half the shekel a donation to her.
The full article that reviews the rare weight was published as part of the Magalim Institute's City of David Research Conference.
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