Weights in Biblical Times

Many Bible stories describe weights in a measurement unit used during biblical times such as a beka, a shekel, a mina, or a talent.  Prepare a display to help the children visualize how much a shekel or a talent weighs.  Suggestions for the display are included in the table below.   You can also weigh each child in shekels, or minas, or talents.  If you are looking for Bible story activities to teach a story such as David and Goliath, or to teach a Bible truth, go to Bible Story Activities - Weights.

 Ancient Unit of Weight

Approximate Equivalent

Suggested Display

Name Reference Basis of Measurement Unit English Metric Display Weight
Gerah Exodus 30:13 1/20 shekel 1/50 ounce .6 gram    
Beka Exodus 38:26 1/2 shekel 1/5 ounce 5.7 grams US Jefferson 5 coin 5 grams
Pim 1 Samuel 13:21 2/3 shekel 1/3 ounce 7.6 grams US Sacagawea golden dollar or Susan B. Anthony dollar 8.1 grams
Shekel Exodus 30:13 20 gerahs 2/5 ounce 11.5 grams US Kennedy 50 coin 11.3 grams
Mina Luke 19:16 50 shekels 1 1/4 pounds .6 kilogram 1 1/4 pounds of coffee  
Talent Exodus 25:39 60 minas or 3,000 shekels 75 pounds 34 kilograms Child weighing 75 pounds  

Sources:

The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible.  Merrill C. Tenney, General Editor.  Grand Rapids:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1975-1976.

Holman Book of Biblical Charts, Maps, and Reconstructions.  Marsha A. Ellis Smith, General Editor.  Nashville:  Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993.

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  This information is presented to help teachers serving in a Christian Preschool Ministry or a Children's Ministry or a Sunday School class teach children what the Bible says about God and the way He wants us to live.

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