Ancient “Cheat-Weight” Found in Jerusalem

The ancient weight likely used by a scammer in the First Temple era in Jerusalem. (photo credit: ELIYAHU YANAI)

“Archaeologists have uncovered a weight used for trading in ancient Jerusalem that scholars believe was used to defraud traders. Found in the northern part of the City of David in Jerusalem’s Old City and dating back to 2,700 years ago during the First Temple period, the weight in question is just 14 mm. in diameter and 12 mm. in height, and is only the second one of its kind to have been found in Israel. Made of hard limestone, it contained engravings indicating it has a weight of two gerah, which equals 0.944 grams. Despite this, however, the weight does not weigh two gerah. Rather, the researchers found that it weighed at least 3.61 grams, over three times as much. While this may seem odd, Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Eli Shukron and Hagai Cohen Kolonimus say that the likely explanation is that whoever used this weight in commerce was using it to cheat people. This type of scamming is actually extensively described in the Bible, where it is harshly criticized.”

Deuteronomy 25:13-16 in the KJV: “Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God.”

“Weight used to cheat in trade,” Jerusalem Post, Sept. 2, 2021