Before the Exile the Jews had no regularly stamped money. They made use of uncoined shekels or talents of silver, which they weighed out (Genesis 23:16; Exodus 38:24; 2Sam 18:12). Probably the silver ingots used in the time of Abraham may have been of a fixed weight, which was in some way indicated on them. The "pieces of silver" paid by Abimelech to Abraham (Genesis 20:16), and those also for which Joseph was sold (37:28), were proably in the form of rings. The shekel was the common standard of weight and value among the Hebrews down to the time of the Captivity. Only once is a shekel of gold mentioned (1 Chronicles 21:25). The "six thousand of gold" mentioned in the transaction between Naaman and Gehazi (2 Kings 5:5) were probably so many shekels of gold. The "piece of money" mentioned in Job 42:11; Genesis 33:19 (marg., "lambs") was the Hebrew
, Probably an uncoined piece of silver of a certain weight in the form of a sheep or lamb, or perhaps having on it such an impression. The same Hebrew word is used in Joshua 24:32, which is rendered by Wickliffe "an hundred yonge scheep."
These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.
Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for 'Coin'". "Easton's Bible Dictionary".