Ezekiel 45:12
And the shekel shall be twenty gerahs: twenty shekels, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels, shall be your maneh.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) The shekel.—The first part of this verse is merely a re-statement of the old law (Exodus 30:13; Leviticus 27:25; Numbers 3:47) that the shekel should be of the value of twenty gerahs, or of the estimated weight of 220 grains; but the latter part of the verse is extremely obscure. The maneh is mentioned elsewhere only in 1Kings 10:17; Ezra 2:69; Neh. vii 71, and is translated in our version pound. Its actual value is unknown. If the text as it stands is correct, it is possible that in Ezekiel’s time three different manehs were in use, of the values respectively assigned to them; but of this there is no other evidence.

45:1-25 In the period here foretold, the worship and the ministers of God will be provided for; the princes will rule with justice, as holding their power under Christ; the people will live in peace, ease, and godliness. These things seem to be represented in language taken from the customs of the times in which the prophet wrote. Christ is our Passover that is sacrificed for us: we celebrate the memorial of that sacrifice, and feast upon it, triumphing in our deliverance out of the Egyptian slavery of sin, and our preservation from the destroying sword of Divine justice, in the Lord's supper, which is our passover feast; as the whole Christian life is, and must be, the feast of the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.The shekel - See the marginal reference.

The "maneh" shall be of true weight, but it would seem that in Ezekiel's time there were "manehs" of different value.

12. The standard weights were lost when the Chaldeans destroyed the temple. The threefold enumeration of shekels (twenty, twenty-five, fifteen) probably refers to coins of different value, representing respectively so many shekels, the three collectively making up a maneh. By weighing these together against the maneh, a test was afforded whether they severally had their proper weight: sixty shekels in all, containing one coin a fourth of the whole (fifteen shekels), another a third (twenty shekels), another a third and a twelfth (twenty-five shekels) [Menochius]. The Septuagint reads, "fifty shekels shall be your maneh." Having laid down the standard for weight and measure in less valuable things, and that are sold for money, now the standard is set down for the current coin which passed among them, and the valuation of which was part of the prince’s prerogative. The first mentioned in the text is the shekel, which, saith the text, contained

twenty gerahs; now every gerah was one penny halfpenny English value: the shekel then was two shillings and sixpence. The twenty shekels was two pounds ten shillings, the fifteen shekels was one pound seventeen shillings and sixpence, and twenty-five was three pounds two shillings and six pence.

Maneh: some say it is one pound, and that the pound was either least, middle, or greatest, according as there were more or fewer shekels in it; the least or common pound was but seventeen shillings and sixpence; the next, which was the royal, was fifty shillings; and the greatest, or pound of the sanctuary, was sixty-two shillings and six pence.

And the shekel shall be twenty gerahs,.... This is a rule for money or coin; the shekel was a silver coin, and is generally reckoned about the value of two shillings and six pence of our money, so a gerah about three half pennies: Bishop Cumberland reckons the shekel more exactly at two shillings and four pence farthing, and a little more, and the gerah at eleven grains of silver; see Leviticus 27:25,

twenty shekels, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels, shall be your maneh; these were several pieces of money; one was a twenty shekel piece, which according to the common account was fifty shillings of our money; another was a five and twenty shekel piece, which was three pounds, two shillings, and sixpence; and a third was a fifteen shekel piece, which was one pound thirteen and sixpence; and together made a maneh or pound, which consisted of sixty shekels, or seven pounds, ten shillings; by which the other pieces should be tried, whether they were of just weight: the sense of the whole is, that no adulteration of coin should be made, which is very prejudicial in civil affairs.

And the shekel shall be twenty gerahs: twenty shekels, {d} five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels, shall be your maneh.

(d) That is, sixty shekels make a weight called Mina, for he joins these three parts to a Mina.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. Cf. Exodus 30:13; Leviticus 27:25; Numbers 3:47; Numbers 18:16. The verse at present is without meaning. Read after LXX. (cod. Alex.): and the shekel shall be twenty gerahs; five (shekels) shall be five, and ten shekels ten, and fifty shekels shall be your maneh (mina). The text is grammatically suspicious, and the way in which “fifteen” is supposed to be expressed, viz. “ten and five” is without parallel. The statement that “five shekels shall be five,” &c., does not imply that there were five and ten shekel pieces, but means that just weighing of money shall prevail, and five go for five, no more and no less. The passage has been fully discussed by Bertheau (Zur Gesch. der Israeliten, pp. 8–14), whose table of money weights may be given (p. 14):

Talent

  1

  

  

  

  

Maneh

  60

  1

  

  

  

Shekel

  3,000

  50

  1

  

  

Beka

  6,000

  100

  2

  1

  

Gera

  60,000

  1,000

  20

  10

  1.

Cf. Exodus 38:25; Leviticus 27:3; Leviticus 27:6; Joshua 7:21; 1 Kings 10:17; Ezra 2:69; Nehemiah 7:71.

Verse 12. - The shekel shall be twenty garahs. This ordained that the standard for money weights should remain as it had been fixed by the Law (Exodus 30:13; Leviticus 27:25; Numbers 3:47). The "shekel" (or "weight," from שָׁקַל, "to weigh;" compare the Italian lira, the French livre out of the Latin libra, and the English Found sterling) was a piece of silver whose value, originally determined by weight, became gradually fixed at the definite sum of twenty "gerahs," beans, or grains (from גָּרַר, "to roll"). The "gerah," value two pence, was the smallest silver coin; the "shekel," therefore, was forty pence, or 3s. 4d. Commentators are divided as to how the second half of this verse should be understood: twenty shekel, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels shall be your maneh. The "maneh" (or "portion," from מָנָה, "to be divided"), which occurs only here and in 1 Kings 10:17; Ezra 2:69; and Nehemiah 7:71, 72 - "that is to say, only in books written during the Captivity or subsequent to it" (Keil) - was probably the same coin as the Greek rains (μνᾶ), though its weight may have somewhat differed. A comparison of 1 Kings 10:17 with 2 Chronicles 9:16 shows that a maneh was equal to a hundred shekels, which cannot be made to harmonize with the statement in this verse without supposing either that an error has crept in through transcription, or that the chronicler has employed the late Greek style of reckoning, in which one mina is equivalent to a hundred drachmas. Again, the Hebrew and Attic talents, when ex-stained, fail to solve the problem as to how the text should be rendered. The Hebrew talent, כִּכָּר, contained 3000 sacred or Mosaic shekels according to Exodus 38:25, 26; and the Attic talon 60 minas, each of 100 drachmas, i.e. 6000 drachmas, or 3000 drachmas, each of which again was equal to a Hebrew shekel. Hence the Attic mina must have been one-sixtieth part of 3000, i.e. 50 shekels, which once more fails to correspond with Ezekiel's notation. What this notation is depends on how the clauses should be connected. If with "and," as Ewald, following the Targumists, thinks, Ezekiel is supposed to have ordained that in the future the maneh should be, not 50, but 60 (20 + 25 -1- 15) shekels - the weight of the 'Babylonian mana ('Records of the Past,' 4:97, second series); only, if he so intended, one sees not why he should have adopted this roundabout method of expression instead of simply stating that henceforth the maneh should be sixty shekels If with "or," as Michaelis, Gesenius, Hitzig, and Hengstenberg prefer, then the prophet is regarded as asserting that in the future three manehs of varying values should be current - one of gold, another of silver, and a third of copper (Hitzig), or all of the same metal, but of different magnitudes (Michaelis); and this arrangement might well have been appointed for the future, although no historical trace can be found of any such manehs of twenty, twenty-five, and fifteen shekels respectively having been in circulation either among the Hebrews or among foreign peoples. Kliefoth pronounces both solutions unsatisfactory, but has nothing better to offer. Keil supposes a corruption of the text of old standing, for the correction of which we are as yet without materials. Bertheau and Havernick follow the LXX. (Cod. Alex.), Οἱ πέντε σίκλοι πέντε καὶ δέκα  σίκλοι δέκα καὶ πεντήκοντα σίκλοι ἡ μνᾶ ἐσται ὑμῖν, "The five shekel (piece) shall be five shekels, and the ten shekel (piece) shall be tea shekels, end fifty shekels shall your maneh be;" but Hitzig's judgment on this proposal, with which Kliefoth and Keil agree, will most likely be deemed correct, that "it carries on the face of it the probability of its resting upon nothing more than an attempt to bring the text into harmony with the ordinary value of the maneh." Ezekiel 45:12General Exhortation to Observe Justice and Righteousness in their Dealings. - Ezekiel 45:9. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Let it suffice you, ye princes of Israel: desist from violence and oppression, and observe justice and righteousness, and cease to thrust my people out of their possession, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 45:10. Just scales, and a just ephah, and a just bath, shall ye have. Ezekiel 45:11. The ephah and the bath shall be of one measure, so that the bath holds the tenth part of the homer, and the ephah the tenth part of the homer: after the homer shall its standard be. Ezekiel 45:12. And the shekel shall have twenty gerahs; twenty shekels, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels, shall the mina be with you. - The exhortation in Ezekiel 45:9 is similar to that in Ezekiel 44:6, both in form and substance. As the Levites and priests are to renounce the idolatry to which they have been previously addicted, and to serve before the Lord in purity and holiness of life, so are the princes to abstain from the acts of oppression which they have formerly practised, and to do justice and righteousness; for example, to liberate the people of the Lord from the גּרשׁות. גּרוּשׁה is unjust expulsion from one's possession, of which Ahab's conduct toward Naboth furnished a glaring example (1 Kings 21). These acts of violence pressed heavily upon the people, and this burden is to be removed (הרים מעל). In Ezekiel 45:10-12 the command to practise justice and righteousness is expanded; and it is laid as a duty upon the whole nation to have just weights and measures. This forms the transition to the regulation, which follows from Ezekiel 45:13 onwards, of the taxes to be paid by the people to the prince to defray the expenses attendant upon the sacrificial worship. - For Ezekiel 45:10, see Leviticus 19:36 and Deuteronomy 25:13. Instead of the hin (Leviticus 19:36), the bath, which contained six hins, is mentioned here as the measure for liquids. The בּת is met with for the first time in Isaiah 5:10, and appears to have been introduced as a measure for liquids after the time of Moses, having the same capacity as the ephah for dry goods (see my Bibl. Archol. II pp. 139ff.). This similarity is expressly stated in Ezekiel 45:11. Both of them, the ephah as well as the bath, are to contain the tenth of a homer (לשׂאת, to carry, for להכיל, to contain, to hold; compare Genesis 36:7 with Amos 7:10), and to be regulated by the homer. Ezekiel 45:12 treats of the weights used for money. The first clause repeats the old legal provision (Exodus 30:13; Leviticus 27:25; Numbers 3:47), that the shekel, as the standard weight for money, which was afterwards stamped as a coin, is to contain twenty gerahs. The regulations which follow are very obscure: "twenty shekels, twenty-five shekels, fifteen shekels, shall the mina be to you." The mina, המּנה, occurs only here and in 1 Kings 10:17; Ezra 2:69; and Nehemiah 7:71-72, - that is to say, only in books written during the captivity of subsequent to it. If we compare 1 Kings 10:17, according to which three minas of gold were used for a shield, with 2 Chronicles 9:16, where three hundred (shekels) of gold are said to have been used for a similar shield, it is evident that a mina was equal to a hundred shekels. Now as the talent (כּכּר) contained three thousand (sacred or Mosaic) shekels (see the comm. on Exodus 38:25-26), the talent would only have contained thirty minas, which does not seem to answer to the Grecian system of weights. For the Attic talent contained sixty minas, and the mina a hundred drachms; so that the talent contained six thousand drachms, or three thousand didrachms. But as the Hebrew shekel was equal to a δίδραχμον, the Attic talent with three thousand didrachms corresponded to the Hebrew talent with three thousand shekels; and the mina, as the sixtieth part of the talent, with a hundred drachms or fifty didrachms, ought to correspond to the Hebrew mina with fifty shekels, as the Greek name μνᾶ is unquestionably derived from the Semitic מנה. The relation between the mina and the shekel, resulting from a comparison of 1 Kings 10:17 with 2 Chronicles 9:16, can hardly be made to square with this, by the assumption that the shekels referred to in 2 Chronicles 9:16 are not Mosaic shekels, but so-called civil shekels, the Mosaic half-shekel, the beka, בּקע, having acquired the name of shekel in the course of time, as the most widely-spread silver coin of the larger size. A hundred such shekels or bekas made only fifty Mosaic shekels, which amounted to one mina; while sixty minas also formed one talent (see my Bibl. Archol. II pp. 135, 136).

But the words of the second half of the verse before us cannot be brought into harmony with this proportion, take them how we will. If, for example, we add the three numbers together, 20 + 25 + 15 shekels shall the mina be to you, Ezekiel would fix the mina at sixty shekels. But no reason whatever can be found for such an alteration of the proportion between the mina and the talent on the one hand, or the shekel on the other, if the shekel and talent were to remain unchanged. And even apart from this, the division of the sixty into twenty, twenty-five, and fifteen still remains inexplicable, and can hardly be satisfactorily accounted for in the manner proposed by the Rabbins, namely, that there were pieces of money in circulation of the respective weights of twenty, twenty-five, and fifteen shekels, for the simple reason that no historical trace of the existence of any such pieces can be found, apart from the passage before us.

(Note: It is true that Const. l'Empereur has observed, in the Discursus ad Lectorem prefixed to the Paraphrasis Joseph. Jachiadae in Danielem, that "as God desired that justice should be preserved in all things, He noticed the various coins, and commanded that they should have their just weight. One coin, according to Jewish testimony, was of twenty shekels, a second of twenty-five, and a third of fifteen shekels; and as these together made one mina, according to the command of God, in order that it might be manifest that each had its proper quantity, He directed that they should be weighed against the mina, so that it might be known whether each had its own weight by means of the mina, to which they ought to be equal." But the Jewish witnesses (Judaei testes) are no other than the Rabbins of the Middle Ages, Sal. Jarchi (Raschi), Dav. Kimchi, and Abrabanel, who attest the existence of these pieces of money, not on the ground of historical tradition, but from an inference drawn from this verse. The much earlier Targumist knows nothing whatever of them, but paraphrases the words thus: "the third part of a mina has twenty shekels; a silver mina, five and twenty shekels; the fourth part of a mina, fifteen shekels; all sixty are a mina; and a great mina (i.e., probably one larger than the ordinary, or civil mina) shall be holy to you;" from which all that can be clearly learned is, that he found in the words of the prophet a mina of sixty shekels. A different explanation is given by the lxx, whose rendering, according to the Cod. Vatic. (Tischendorf), runs as follows: πέντε σίκλοι, πέντε καὶ σίκλοι, δέκα καὶ πεντήκοντα σίκλοι ἡ μνᾶ ἔσται ὑμῖν; and according to the Cod. Al.: οἱ πεντε σικλοι πεντε και ὁι δεκα σικλοι δεκα και πεντηκοντα κ.τ.λ. Boeckh (Metrol. Untersuch. pp. 54ff.) and Bertheau (Zur Gesch. der Isr. pp. 9ff.) regard the latter as the original text, and punctuate it thus: οἱ πέντε σίκλοι πέντε, καὶ οἱ δέκα σίκλοι δέκα, καὶ πεντήκοντα σίκλοι ἡ μνᾶ ἔσται ὑμῖν, - interpreting the whole verse as follows: "the weight once fixed shall remain unaltered, and unadulterated in its original value: namely, a shekel shall contain ten gerahs; five shekels, or a five-shekel piece, shall contain exactly five; and so also a ten-shekel piece, exactly ten shekels; and the mina shall contain fifty shekels." But however this explanation may appear to commend itself, and although for this reason it has been adopted by Hvernick and by the author of this commentary in his Bibl. Archol., after a repeated examination of the matter I cannot any longer regard it as well-founded, but am obliged to subscribe to the view held by Hitzig and Kliefoth, "that this rendering of the lxx carries on the face of it the probability of its resting upon nothing more than an attempt to bring the text into harmony with the ordinary value of the mina." For apart from the fact that nothing is known of the existence of five and ten shekel pieces, it is impossible to get any intelligible meaning from the words, that five shekels are to be worth five shekels, and ten shekels worth ten shekels, as it was self-evident that five shekels could not be worth either four shekels or six.)

And the other attempts that have been made to explain the difficult words are no satisfactory. The explanation given by Cocceius and J. D. Michaelis (Supplem. ad lex. p. 1521), that three different minas are mentioned, - a smaller one of fifteen Mosaic shekels, a medium size of twenty shekels, and a large one of twenty-five-is open to the objection justly pointed out by Bertheau, that in an exact definition of the true weight of anything we do not expect three magnitudes, and the purely arbitrary assumption of three different minas is an obvious subterfuge. The same thing applies to Hitzig's explanation, that the triple division, twenty, twenty-five, and fifteen shekels, has reference to the three kinds of metal used for coinage, viz., gold, silver, and copper, so that the gold mina was worth, or weighed, twenty shekels; the silver mina, twenty-five; and the copper mina, fifteen, - which has no tenable support in the statement of Josephus, that the shekel coined by Simon was worth four drachms; and is overthrown by the incongruity in the relation in which it places the gold to the silver, and both these metals to the copper. - There is evidently a corruption of very old standing in the words of the text, and we are not in possession of the requisite materials for removing it by emendation.

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