Shekel: weight, the common standard both of weight and value among the
Hebrews. It is estimated at 220 English grains, or a little more
than half an ounce avoirdupois. The "shekel of the sanctuary"
(Ex. 30:13; Num. 3:47) was equal to twenty gerahs (Ezek. 45:12).
There were shekels of gold (1 Chr. 21:25), of silver (1 Sam.
9:8), of brass (17:5), and of iron (7). When it became a coined
piece of money, the shekel of gold was equivalent to about 2
pound of our money. Six gold shekels, according to the later
Jewish system, were equal in value to fifty silver ones.
The temple contribution, with which the public sacrifices were
bought (Ex. 30:13; 2 Chr. 24:6), consisted of one common shekel,
or a sanctuary half-shekel, equal to two Attic drachmas. The
coin, a stater (q.v.), which Peter found in the fish's mouth
paid this contribution for both him and Christ (Matt. 17:24,
27). A zuza, or quarter of a shekel, was given by Saul to Samuel
(1 Sam. 9:8).