Baptists/ancient Israel's money
Where did ancient Israel's money come from? Who minted it? How did it get injected into public circulation? Thank you.
Thank you for your question. It seems that coinage wasn't used in the area of the Middle East until the late 8th century BC and before that, at first, various methods of bartering took place. However, attempts were made to stabilise the values of commodities with each other and that was eventually done by valuing them according to their weight in silver, although other precious metals were used at times, including gold. Silver was most used because it was most readily accessible. In our English translations of the bible reference to silver is often omitted. For example Solomon bought chariots at 600 (shekels weight of silver) and horses at 150. Until after the exile the 'shekel' bears its literal meaning of a certain weight rather than denoting a coin. There are many more examples of the shekel weight being used in the Old Testament.
For metal to be used as currency it had to be transportable and often became kept in the form of jewellery (see Genesis 24:22). Gold was often carried in thin bars or wedges (Hebrew 'tongue') like the golden wedge of Ophir in Isaiah 13:12. Commonly small fragments began to be carried often in purses and used to trade.
Coinage struck with a seal authenticating its title and weight so that it would be accepted without being weighed first appears in Asia Minor in the mid 7th century and then spreads. The first known coins were struck in Lydia. Herodtus says coinage started with Croeses of Lydia (561-546 BC). The Persians had the Daric and this is mentioned in 1 Chron 29:7. Coinage would have been accepted from many sources and countries as the insignia guarnteed the weight. Israel seems to have had no independent coinage until the Romans were in charge. They allowed the making of small bronze coins. The only silver ones were made in times of revolt.
During New Testament times money was in circulation from three sources, imperial Roman coins, provincial coins minted at Antioch and Tyre (adhering to an old Greek standard) and local Jewish money probably minted at Caesarea (though bronze coins came from a number of unknown Jewish sources).
I hope this helps in some way.
God bless you.