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Matthew and Money
There are two extreme schools of thought as to the means by which the books of the Bible were composed. The one, which we might call the “dictation” school, implies that the authors were really no more than “secretaries” who wrote down, word for word, what God spoke to them. The other extreme declares that the authors compiled and arranged and edited various materials, part written and part oral, from many older sources. Since these sources were not necessarily “inspired” in any regular sense of the word, and since the compiler was at liberty to “pick and choose”, therefore the final result could scarcely be considered the infallible “word of God”. An “advancement” (?) upon this second school of thought is that the gospels, for example, did not take their final forms until some time in the second century, after later disciples “tinkered around” with their predecessors’ stories.
Concerning Roman Imperial Coinage
Concerning Roman Imperial coinage¹⁴, it appears there was very little of it in Jerusalem at this time. Very few Roman denarii have been found there. D. T. Ariel¹⁵ in A Survey of Coin Finds in Jerusalem mentions only one Republican denarius, one of Mark Antony, one of Augustus and one of Tiberius. The writers of RPC¹⁶ state that Roman denarii were not made in Syria nor did they circulate there, and that the principal silver currencies in Syria, of which Judaea was part, were tetradrachms of Antioch and shekels of Tyre. If this is the case it is hard to explain how easily Jesus obtained a Roman denarius from the people when he made his statement, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God's’ (Mark 12:17), in answer to the question whether it is right to pay tax to Caesar. The most likely explanation is that the coin which Jesus held up to the people was not a denarius at all but a tetradrachm of Antioch. Because the writer of Marks’ Gospel was writing for a Roman audience who had never seen a tetradrachm of Antioch, he referred to the coin as a denarius.
Six Caesars Of The Tribute Penny
Sellers of ancient coins push out Roman denarii struck by Tiberius on the theory that these are the “tribute penny” mentioned in the Book of Matthew at 22:16 and Mark at 12:13 and Luke 20:22. They may well be. They are not the only candidates. In fact, they are not even the most likely.
Commentary: Luke 12:6
“Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings?” (Luke 12:6)
Money In The Scriptures
The remarks in this paper are devoted to money, its definition, description and occurrence in the Bible. No attention is given to the exhortations and instructions concerning its use and possession contained in the Word.
(Greek: denarion), a silver coin of the value of about 7 1/2d. or 8d. of our present money. It is thus rendered in the New Testament, and is more frequently mentioned than any other coin (Matthew 18:28; 20:2, 9, 13; Mark 6:37; 14:5, etc.). It was the daily pay of a Roman soldier in the time of Christ. In the reign of Edward III. an English penny was a labourer’s day’s wages. This was the “tribute money” with reference to which our Lord said, “Whose image and superscription is this?” When they answered, “Caesar’s,” he replied, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:19; Mark 12:15).
dē̇-nā ́ri-us (δηνάριον, dēnárion): A Roman silver coin, 25 of which went to the aureus, the standard gold coin of the empire in the time of Augustus, which was equal in value to about one guinea or $5.25; more exactly £1.0.6 = $5.00, the £ = $4.866. Hence, the value of the denarius would be about 20 cents and this was the ordinary wage of a soldier and a day laborer. The word is uniformly rendered “penny” in the King James Version and “shilling” in the American Standard Revised Version, except in Matthew 22:19; Mark 12:15 and Luke 20:24, where the Latin word is used, since in these passsages it refers to the coin in which tribute was paid to the Roman government. See MONEY.
pen ́i (δηνάριον, dēnárion; Latin denarius (which see)): the American Standard Revised Version (Matthew 18:28; 20:2, 20:9-10, 20:13, etc.) renders it by “shilling” except in Matthew 22:19; Mark 12:15 and Luke 20:24, where it retains the original term as it refers to a particular coin. See DENARIUS; MONEY.
In the A.V., in several passages of the New Test., “penny,” either alone or in the compound “pennyworth,” occurs as the rendering of the Greek δηνάριον, a transfer of the name of the Roman denarius (Matthew 18:28; 20:2,9,13; 22:19; Mark 6:37; 12:15; 14:5; Luke 7:41; 10:35; 20:24; John 6:7; 12:5; Revelation 6:6). It took its name from its being first equal to ten “n asses,” a number afterwards increased to sixteen. The earliest specimens are of about the commencement of the 2d century B.C. From this time it was the principal silver coin of the commonwealth. It continued to hold the same position under the empire until long after the close of the New Testament canon. In the time of Augustus eighty-four denarii were struck from the pound of silver, which would make the standard weight about 60 grains. This Nero reduced by striking ninety-six from the pound, which would give a standard weight of about 52 grains, results confirmed by the coins of the periods, which are, however, not exactly true to the standard. The drachm of the Attic talent, which from the reign of Alexander until the Roman domination was the most important Greek standard, had, by gradual reduction, become equal: to the denarius of Augnstus, so that the two coins came to be regarded as identical. Under. the same emperor the Roman coin superseded the Greek, and many of the few cities which yet struck silver money took for it the form and general character of the denarius, and of its half, the quinarius. In Palestine in the New Test. period, we learn from numismatic evidence, that denarii must have mainly formed the silver currency. It is therefore probable that in the New Test, by (δραχμή and ἀργύριον, both rendered in the A.V. “piece of silver,” we are to understand the denarius. SEE DRACHMA. The δίδραχμον of the tribute (Matthew 17:24) was probably in the time of our Savior not a current coin, like the στατήρ mentioned in the same passage (ver. 27). SEE MONEY. From the parable of the laborers in the vineyard it would seem that a denarius was then the ordinary pay for a day’s labor (Matthew 20:2,4,7,9-10,13). The term denarius aureus (Pliny 34:17; 37:3) is probably a corrupt designation for the aureus
Denarius of the Emperor Tiberius (1)
Denarius of the Emperor Tiberius (2)
Denarius of the Emperor Tiberius (3)
Denarius of the Emperor Tiberius (4)
Denarius of the Emperor Tiberius (obverse) (1)
Denarius of the Emperor Tiberius (obverse) (2)
Denarius of the Emperor Tiberius (reverse)
The Tribute Money (1516 oil)
Biblical and Talmudic units of measurement
Biblical and Talmudic units of measurement were used primarily by ancient Israelites and appear frequently within the Hebrew Bible as well as in later Judaic scripture, such as the Mishnah and Talmud. These units of measurement are still an important part of Jewish life today. There is much debate within Judaism, as well as by outside scholars, about the exact relationship between measurements in the system and those in other measurement systems, such as the English units system used in the United States of America. Classical statements, such as that an Etzba was seven barleycorns laid side by side, or that a Log was equal to six medium-sized eggs, are so indefinite and vague as to be nearly useless. Nevertheless, the entire system of measurement corresponds almost exactly with the Babylonian system, and in all probability the Israelite measurement system was derived from the Babylonian, with some lesser level of influence from the Egyptian system. It may therefore be assumed that the relationship between the Israelite measurements and contemporary units is the same as the relationship between the Babylonian system and contemporary units.
Coins in the Bible
A number of coins are mentioned in the Bible, and they have proved very popular among coin collectors.
The tribute penny was the coin that was shown to Jesus when he made his famous speech “Render unto Caesar...” The phrase comes from the King James Version of the gospel account: Jesus is asked, “Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” (Mark 12:14) and he replies, “bring me a penny, that I may see it” (Mark 12:15).