use of ancient Biblical coins in jewelry encompasses both a perspective on the
coins historically used by ancient Israel, as well as coins of Biblical
prominence as mentioned in the Bible. To appreciate the use of
Biblical coinage in jewelry, one must first understand the historical
beginnings of these coins in ancient Israel.
From the sixth to the fourth
century B.C., Israel was part of the Persian Empire. In 538 B.C., Cyrus
who was the King of Persia, allowed the exiled Israelites to
return to their land and it was during this period that the first coins were
struck and used in Israel. The early Jewish issues resembled coins from
Athens with Hebrew inscriptions of "YEHUD" or "YEHUDAH".
These coins also often featured a classic design in Jewish art, the
Alexander the Great defeated the Persians in 331 B.C., new coinage bearing the
head of Herakles (also meant to resemble Alexander), was quite prevalent in
Israel. Later upon his death in 323 B.C., Israel fell under the rule of
the Ptolemies of Egypt and many Ptolemaic coins found circulation in Israel
during this time. Ptolemy II ruled with great favor for the
Israelites. He is best remembered as having the five books of Moses (the
Bible) translated in Alexandria into the Greek language by 72 scholars, hence
the reason the Bible is also called the "Septuagint", meaning
An early mention of the concept
of money in the Bible occurs in Genesis where Abraham is purchasing a burial
place for his family. The discussion of an actual weight standard that
is translated as "shekel" is written as follows, "Abraham weighed to
Ephron the silver, which he had named in the hearing of the children of Heth,
four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. So the
field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah... and the cave which was therein...
were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a burying place."
(Genesis 23:15 - 20)
know though, that this could not have been coins as there would have been no
need to weigh the silver since coinage is minted in standardized weights,
hence the purpose of coinage in the first place. Nevertheless, we see
that a standard of weight had been established in the barter system at this
early point in history. The silver
mentioned in the early Biblical record was most likely in the form of
ingots or jewelry. Coins were not invented until just before the
first book of Chronicles.
the interest of Biblical coins relates most to the history of ancient
Israel and the Old Testament, the ancient coins of the New Testament and
early Christianity are also quite popular and many are featured in our
jewelry. A great example of this is the wonderful story that
surrounds the "widow's mite" coin, the lowest denomination coin
circulating during the time, the prutahs of Alexander Jannaeus.
describing an incident that involved Jesus, the disciple Mark wrote,
"He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting
money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great amount.
A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a
penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, 'In truth I
tell you, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to
the treasury for they have put in money then could spare but she, in her
poverty, has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live
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johnbmcnamara.com - all
jewelry in this section features GENUINE ancient coins that have prominence in ancient
Jewish and Christian history as they relate to the Biblical
piece comes with a
certificate of authenticity / history sheet.