Values of Assyrian and Babylonian weights have been calculated by weighing inscribed stone weights found at various places. The mina was about 17 ounces (480 grams). This sets the talent of 60 minas at 63.5 pounds (28.8 kilograms). Weights in Israel were slightly different, the mina being estimated at 1 pound, 1.5 ounces to 1 pound, 8 ounces (500 to 600 grams); the talent at 66 to 76 pounds (30 to 36 kilograms); and the shekel at about 0.4 ounce (11.5 grams). With the uncertainty about exact weights, all the figures given in this essay have to be understood as subject to correction. See Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel I (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961).


In the Hebrew text, the denomination of the weight is not given. This is not uncommon, and the reader was expected to know it would be the most common for the type of object being weighed, and so was usually the shekel, as assumed here. One might compare the English use of “a half” in ordering drink, when “pint” is understood but not stated.


The deben weight in the New Kingdom (1550–1070 B.C.) and later has been computed at 91 grams, from weighing extant examples. (See Sir A. H. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar [Oxford, 1950], ss. 266:4).


An ostracon is a potsherd with an inscription on it.



For example, Joseph Robinson, The First Book of Kings, Cambridge Bible (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1972), p. 79.


John Gray, I and II Kings (London: SCM Press, 1964) p. 160.


The gilded copper roof was placed on the Golden Temple at Amritsar in 1802 by King Ranjit Shigh. See Chambers Encyclopaedia (Oxford and New York: Pergamon Press, 1967) under “Amritsar.”


The Shwe Dagon Pagoda in Rangoon was built in the 15th century and rebuilt in 1841 to its present height of 326 feet (100 meters). See Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th ed., vol. 26, p. 521.


Sir Leonard Woolley and P. R. S. Moorey, Ur ‘of the Chaldees’, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press/London: Hebert Press, 1982).


Rita E. Freed, Ramesses the Great (Memphis, TN: The City of Memphis, TN, 1987), plates no. 22, 18.


William L. Moran, Les Lettres d’el Amarna (Paris: du Cerf, 1987), letters no. 14, 22, cf. 13, 25.


Vassilios Karageorgis, Excavations in the Necropolis of Salamis, III (Nicosia, Cyprus: Dept. of Antiquities, 1973).


Max E. L. Mallowan, Nimrud and its Remains (London: Collins, 1966); Ivories from Nimrud I–IV (London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq, 1967–1986).


Ancient Records of Assyria II, transl. D. D. Luckenbill (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1927) p. 172f.


Botta thought he was excavating Nineveh, but it was actually Dur-Sharruken, Sargon’s city.

Paul-Emile Botta, Monument de Ninive, 5 vol. (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1849–50). Flandin’s original drawing has recently been published in Pauline Albenda, The Palace of Sargon, King of Assyria (Paris: Editions Recherche sur les Civilizations, 1986), pp. 91, 110f, plate 133.


Rykle Borger, Die Inschriften Asarhaddons (Graz, Austria: E. W. Weidner, 1956), p. 87.


S. Langdon, Die Neubabylonische Königsinschriften (Leipzig: Heinrichs, 1912), p. 222.


James H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt II (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1907), para. 883.


Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt IV, paras. 7, 9.


Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt IV, paras. 195, 209.


“L’or dans l’architecture egyptienne,” Annales du Service des Antiquites de l’Egypte 53 (1956) pp. 221–250.


Luckenbill, Ancient Records of Assyria I, para. 803; see also Ancient Near Eastern Texts, ed. James B. Pritchard (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 3rd ed., 1969), p. 282b.


Luckenbill, Ancient Records of Assyria II, para. 70.


The relief is reproduced and explained in Walter Wreszinski, Atlas Zur altaegyptischen Kulturgeschichte (Leipzig: Heinrichs, 1935), II Taf. 33.