A rare finding from the First Temple era was found during archaeological projects in Jerusalem. A “beka” is a small stone used 3,000 years ago and it’s engraved with the word “beka”. The artifact was used to weigh taxes used to maintain the Temple and it’s mentioned in the Bible, Exodus 38:26 “One beka per head; [that is,] half a shekel, according to the holy shekel, for each one who goes through the counting.”
Photo by: Eliyahu Yanai, City of David
During biblical times, the Temple tax was implemented for everyone from the age of 20 years and up. Coins did not exist, so silver pieces were used as currency and citizens were expected to pay half-shekel. The silver was placed on one side of the scale and on the other side the “beka” would be positioned.
What’s unique and important about this discovery, is that the “beka” was found next to King Solomon’s Temple. During the Hanukkah festival (December 2 – December 10, 2018) the “beka” will be displayed at the IAA’s sifting facility at the Emek Tzurim National Park. If you’re part of one of our Israel tours, you may coordinate a visit to the facility during your free day!