PIECE OF SILVER [SMITH]
I. In the Old Testament the word "pieces" is used in the Authorized Version for a word understood in the Hebrew (if we except) (Psalms 68:30
) The phrase is always "a thousand," or the like, "of silver." (Genesis 20:16
; Judges 9:4
; 2Ã‚Â Kings 6:25
; Hosea 3:2
; Zechariah 11:12,13
) In similar passages the word "shekels" occurs in the Hebrew. There are other passages in which the Authorized Version supplies the word "shekels" instead of "pieces," (22:19,29
; Judges 17:2,3,4,10
; 2Ã‚Â Samuel 18:11,12
) and of these the first two require this to be done. The shekel, be it remembered, was the common weight for money, and therefore most likely to be understood in an elliptical phrase. The "piece" or shekel of silver weighed 220 grains, or about half an ounce, and was worth a little more than half a dollar (55 cents). II. In the New Testament two words are rendered by the phrase "piece of silver:"
- Drachma , (Luke 15:8,9) which was a Greek silver coin, equivalent, at the time of St. Luke, to the Roman denarias (15 or 16 cents).
- Silver occurs only in the account of the betrayal of our Lord for "thirty pieces of silver." (Matthew 26:15; 17:3,5,6,9) It is difficult to ascertain what coins are here intended. If the most common silver pieces be meant, they would be denarii. The parallel passage in Zachariah, (Zechariah 11:12,13) must, however, be taken into consideration where shekels (worth about 55 cents) must be understood. It is more probable that the thirty pieces of silver were tetradrachms than that they were denarii (80 cents).
PIECE OF SILVER [ISBE]
PIECE OF SILVER
- Two words are thus rendered in the Old Testament (ratstse-khaceph, and qesiTah) and two in the New Testament argurion, and drachme). The first expression means pieces of silver broken off from bars or larger pieces (Ps 68:30
). The second is used for money in Josh 24:32
, and is so rendered in the Revised Version (British and American). The pieces were not coins, but perhaps bore a stamp. See MONEY
. In other passages of the Old Testament where pieces of silver are mentioned, the Hebrew has simply a numeral joined with keTeph, "silver," as in the account of the selling of Joseph (Gen 37:28
). In Isa 7:23
the word silverlings means small pieces of silver, and they were no doubt shekels. In the New Testament the Greek arguria (Mt 26:15
), is translated as pieces of silver, but probably means shekels. In Acts 19:19
the same word occurs, but in this case the reference is probably to the denarius or drachma (compare Lk 15:8
f). Thus, the 30 pieces of Matthew would be equal to about 4 British pounds or $20 (in 1915), and the 50,000 of Acts to about 2,000 British pounds or $10,000 (in 1915).