Jewish Silver Temple Tax Shekel of Tyre - 116 BC

A silver shekel from the city of Tyre, minted in year 11 of the Tyrian calendar, 116 / 115 BC.

The obverse with the portrait of the god Melqart, chief deity of Tyre, wearing laurel wreath.

The reverse with eagle, standing on ship's prow, palm frond behind, club in left field. The legend reading:

ΤΥPΟΥ ΙΕΡΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΑΣΥΛΟΥ

"Tyre the Holy and Inviolable"

ΔI (date) above club, monogram in right field.

 

The silver shekels produced by the Phoenician city of Tyre are coveted as some of the most fascinating of all Biblical period coins. By the half century before the birth of Christ, they had become the predominant coin in the Judaeo-Phoenician area.

Every year, a Jewish man, 20 years and above, paid a voluntary half shekel tax to the Temple in Jerusalem. This tax, instituted by Moses (Ex 30:11, 16), was paid in either the Tyrian shekel (for himself and one other) or half-shekel (for only himself). The Jewish Talmud required the tax to be paid with a coin of high purity silver and it was therefore the 94% silver Tyrian shekels that became the only accepted coin type.

The Tyrian shekel is mentioned at least twice in the New Testament. Notably in Matthew 26:14, 15 when Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, almost certainly Tyrian shekels from the Temple Treasury.

Jewish Silver Temple Tax Shekel of Tyre - 116 BC. A silver shekel from the city of Tyre, minted in year 11 of the Tyrian calendar, 116 / 115 BC. The obverse with the portrait of the god Melqart, chief deity of Tyre, wearing laurel wreath. The reverse with eagle, standing on ship's prow, palm frond behind, club in left field. The legend reading: ΤΥPΟΥ ΙΕΡΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΑΣΥΛΟΥ "Tyre the Holy and Inviolable" ΔI (date) above club, monogram in right field.   The silver shekels produced by the Phoenician city of Tyre are coveted as some of the most fascinating of all Biblical period coins. By the half century before the birth of Christ, they had become the predominant coin in the Judaeo-Phoenician area. Every year, a Jewish man, 20 years and above, paid a voluntary half shekel tax to the Temple in Jerusalem. This tax, instituted by Moses (Ex 30:11, 16), was paid in either the Tyrian shekel (for himself and one other) or half-shekel (for only himself). The Jewish Talmud required the tax to be paid with a coin of high purity silver and it was therefore the 94% silver Tyrian shekels that became the only accepted coin type. The Tyrian shekel is mentioned at least twice in the New Testament. Notably in Matthew 26:14, 15 when Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, almost certainly Tyrian shekels from the Temple Treasury.

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