A Defective Weight from the First Temple Period Found Near the Western Wall

Oct. 14 2020

The book of Deuteronomy commands that “thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have,” and, moreover, states that anyone who uses dishonest weights to cheat his customers is guilty of an “abomination.” Thanks to a recent discovery, we know more about what such weights looked like. But in this case, as Amanda Borschel-Dan explains, its flaws are likely due to incompetence rather than wickedness:

A uniquely inscribed, 2,700-year-old limestone two-shekel weight recently discovered in earth excavated near the Western Wall in Jerusalem is a “very rare” example—of poor craftsmanship. The weight’s inscription, said the excavation’s co-director Dr. Barak Monnickendam-Givon, indicates the craftsman was “not familiar with the international symbol” for such stones, and so instead incised “something close enough.”

During the First Temple period, the coin-sized, 23-gram [0.8oz] round stone was part of a precise set of internationally recognized weights and measures imported from Egypt that were used in the Land of Israel for both Temple worship and the marketplace.

The Egyptian weight system was based on units of eight, as opposed to the more known decimal system that appears often in the Bible. . . . During the Iron Age, the Egyptian weight system was used in international commerce, and its implementation in the Land of Israel is an indication that the fledgling monarchy saw itself as an international player.

While hundreds of two-shekel weighing stones have been uncovered in excavations in and near ancient Jerusalem, this example is “very rare,” Monnickendam-Givon [said]. It . . . points to a “very local manufacture,” he said: the craftsman was apparently ignorant of the proper Egyptian symbol generally used to mark these stones.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Deuteronomy

Iran’s Dangerous Dream of a Triple Alliance with Russia and China

Aug. 16 2022

Unlike Hamas, which merely receives support from the Islamic Republic, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—with which Israel engaged in a short round of fighting last week—is more or less under its direct control. In fact, the recent hostilities began with a series of terrorist attacks launched by PIJ from Samaria, which might in turn have been a response to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s call “to open a new front in the West Bank against the Zionist enemy.” Amir Taheri writes:

In Gaza, the Islamic Republic has invested heavily in promoting Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. . . . Islamic Jihad is in a minority in Gaza, hence the attempt by Tehran to help it create a base in the West Bank.

Reliable sources in Baghdad say that [Iran’s expeditionary and terrorist paramilitary] the Quds Force has been “transiting” significant quantities of arms and cash via Iraq to Jordan, to be smuggled to the West Bank. The Jordanian authorities say they are aware of these “hostile activities.” King Abdullah himself has publicly called on Iran to cease “destabilizing activities.”

But such schemes, Taheri explains, are part of a larger strategic vision of creating a grand anti-Western alliance even while engaging in nuclear negotiations with the U.S. and Europe:

Last month, Khamenei praised Vladimr Putin for his invasion of Ukraine. And this month, China’s ambassador to Iran, Chang Hua, praised the Islamic Republic for supporting China in “asserting its sovereignty” over Taiwan.

It is clear that some dangerous pipe-dreamers in Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran have fallen for the phantasmagoric vision of “three great powers” banding together and with help from “the rest,” that is to say, the so-called Third World . . . to destroy an international system created by the “corrupt and decadent.”

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: China, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Russia, West Bank