All the gold that was occupied for the work in all the work of the holy place, even the gold of the offering, was twenty and nine talents, and seven hundred and thirty shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)All the gold that was occupied for the Work.—Rather, that was made use of for the work.
The gold of the offering, was twenty and nine talents.—The gold talent is estimated by Poole as = 10,000 shekels, and the gold shekel as worth about £1 2s. of our money. In this case the gold employed in the Tabernacle would have been worth nearly £320,000. Some, however, reduce the estimate to £175,000 (Cook), and others to £132,000 (Thenius). In any case the amount was remarkable, and indicated at once the liberal spirit which animated the people and the general feeling that a lavish expenditure was required by the occasion. There is no difficulty in supposing that the Israelites possessed at the time gold to the (highest) value estimated, since they had carried with them out of Egypt, besides their ancestral wealth, a vast amount of gold and silver ornaments, freely given to them by the Egyptians (Exodus 3:22; Exodus 12:35-36).Exodus 36:38.
The gold of the offering - The gold of the wave offering.
Talents ... the shekel of the sanctuary - The shekel was the common standard of weight and value with the Hebrews: and is probably to be estimated at 220 English grains (just over half an ounce avoirdupois) and its value in silver as 2 Samuel 7d. The shekel of the sanctuary (or, the holy shekel) would seem to denote no more than an exact shekel, "after the king's weight" 2 Samuel 14:26, "current money with the merchant" Genesis 23:16.
In the reign of Joash, a collection similar to that here mentioned, apparently at the same rate of capitation, was made for the repairs of the temple 2 Chronicles 24:9. The tax of later times, called didrachma, στατήρ statēr, Matthew 17:27, was not, like this and that of Joash, a collection for a special occasion, but a yearly tax, for the support of the temple, of a whole shekel. See also Exodus 30:13.
The talent contained 3,000 shekels, as may be gathered from Exodus 38:25-26. According to the computation here adopted, the Hebrew talent was 94 2/7 lbs. avoirdupois. The Greek (Aeginetan) talent, from which the Septuagint and most succeeding versions have taken the name "talent," was 82 1/4 lbs. The original Hebrew word, ככר kı̂kār, would denote a circular mass, and nearly the same word, kerker, was in use among the Egyptians for a mass of metal cast in the form of a massive ring with its weight stamped upon it.Genesis 23:15 Exodus 30:13. It is not said that all this gold and following silver were used about the building of the tabernacle, for the people brought much more than enough, Exodus 36:5. And these remains, it is probable, were put into the sacred treasury, to be used as occasion should require.
even the gold of the offering; which the people brought and offered freely; as their bracelets, earrings, and jewels of gold, Exodus 35:22.
was twenty nine talents, and seven hundred and thirty shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: now as it is clear from Exodus 38:25 that a talent is of the value of 3000 shekels, which, according to Brerewood, amount to three hundred and seventy five pounds of our money; and reckoning as he does the value of gold to be twelve times that of silver, a talent of gold, with him, is, of our money, 4500 pounds; so that twenty nine talents, seven hundred and thirty shekels, are reckoned by him at 131,595 pounds (m); but according to Dr. Cumberland (n), who is more exact in his calculation, and who reckons a talent of silver at three hundred and fifty three pounds, eleven shillings, and ten pence halfpenny, and the value of gold to be fourteen times that of silver; so that a talent of gold is, with him, 5067 pounds, three shillings, and ten pence; wherefore this whole sum of gold expended in the tabernacle, according to him, amounted to 148,719 pounds sterling: and, according to Waserus (o), the amount of the whole is 350,920 Hungarian ducats, which make three tons and a half of gold, and nine hundred and twenty ducats: when one considers the distressed case of the Israelites in Egypt, their late deliverance from thence, and the desert in which they were, it may be wondered how they came by these riches, here and after mentioned; but when it is observed, the riches of their ancestors, particularly what Joseph got in Egypt, which descended to their posterity; the repayment of the labour of the Israelites at their departure, with what they borrowed of the Egyptians, and what they found upon their carcasses when cast up by the Red sea, it will in a good measure be accounted for; to which may be added, that, according to Jerom (p), there were, eleven miles from Mount Horeb in the wilderness, fruitful mountains of gold; called Catachrysea.All the gold that was occupied for the work in all the work of the holy place, even the gold of the offering, was twenty and nine talents, and seven hundred and thirty shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)24. The gold. This amounted to 29 talents, and 730 shekels, or (as the talent contained Exo 3000 shekels) 87,730 shekels, i.e. if the ‘sacred’ shekel (p. 333) weighed 224 grs., c. 40,940 oz. troy,—which, even at the present value of gold, would be worth nearly £ 160,000.
the offering] properly, the wave-offering; see on Exodus 35:22. So v. 29.
the sacred shekel] See on Exodus 30:13; and cf. DB. iv. 906a.Verse 24. - The gold. The value of the gold has been estimated by Canon Cook at £175,075 13s. 0d. of our money; by Thenius at 877,300 Prussian thalers, or about £131,595. It was certainly under £200,000. De Wette and others have argued that the possession of so large a sum in gold at this time by the Hebrew nation is inconceivable. But most critics are of a different opinion. Gold was very abundant in Egypt at the period, being imported from Ethiopia, a rich gold-producing country (Herod. 3:23; Diod. Sic. 3:11), as well as taken in tribute from the nations of Asia. The wealth of Rhampsinitus (Rameses III.), a little later than the exodus, was enormous (Herod. 2:121; Rawlinson, History of Egypt, vol. 2. pp. 368, 378). According to the preceding narrative (Exodus 12:35, 36) much of the wealth of Egypt had, at the moment of their quitting the country, passed from the Egyptians to the Hebrews. If they numbered two millions of souls, their gold ornaments are likely to have been worth very much more than £200,000 of our money. On the shekel of the sanctuary, see the comment upon Exodus 30:13. Exodus 37:1-9, as in Exodus 25:10-22); the table of shew-bread and its vessels (Exodus 37:10-16, as in Exodus 25:23-30); the candlestick (Exodus 37:17-24, as in Exodus 25:31-40); the altar of incense (Exodus 37:25-28, as in Exodus 30:1-10); the anointing oil and incense (Exodus 37:29), directions for the preparation of which are given in Exodus 30:22-38; the altar of burnt-offering (Exodus 38:1-7, as in Exodus 27:1-8); the laver (Exodus 37:8, as in Exodus 30:17-21); and the court (Exodus 37:9-20, as in Exodus 27:9-19). The order corresponds on the whole to the list of the separate articles in Exodus 35:11-19, and to the construction of the entire sanctuary; but the holy chest (the ark), as being the most holy thing of all, is distinguished above all the rest, by being expressly mentioned as the work of Bezaleel, the chief architect of the whole.
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