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


Scamming by using fraudulent weights was extensively described in the Bible, where it is harshly criticized. Archaeologists have uncovered a weight used for trading in ancient Jerusalem that scholars believe was used to defraud traders. Found in the northern part of the City of David in Jerusalem’s Old City and dating back to 2,700 years ago during the First Temple period, the weight in question is just 14 mm. in diameter and 12 mm. in height, and is only the second one of its kind to have been found in Israel. Made of hard limestone, the it contained engravings indicating it has a weight of two gerah, which equals 0.944 grams. Despite this, however, the weight does not weigh two gerah. Rather, the researchers found that it weighed at least 3.61 grams, over three times as much. While this may seem odd, Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Eli Shukron and Hagai Cohen Kolonimus say that the likely explanation is that whoever used this weight in commerce was using it to cheat people.

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