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Volume 33 - Page 216 of 253 Index | Zoom | |
Job speaks also of "the weight" for the winds and of the waters (Job 28: 25), and
"the balancings" of the clouds (Job 37: 16), while Isaiah takes note of the "small dust
of the balance" (Isa. 40: 15), an indication that the system of weights in Israel was far
from being either crude or primitive. The word that is translated "weight" in the O.T. is
the Hebrew word eben, "A stone", and there is much to be said for a weight being made
of stone, as it is less likely than a metal one to gain or lose.
Throughout the Scriptures balances are used as a figure of righteousness, just as
to-day they are used as a symbol of justice:
"Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure.
Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have" (Lev. 19: 35, 36).
"Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small . . . . . But thou
shalt have a perfect and just weight" (Deut. 25: 13-15).
"A false balance is abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight" (Prov. 11: 1).
"A just weight and balance are the Lord's: all the weights of the bag are His work"
(Prov. 16: 11).
These are references are to literal weights and balances, but, in turn, they typify the
righteous judgment of the Lord. In the second verse of this same sixteenth chapter of
Proverbs we are reminded that "the Lord weigheth the spirits", while in I Sam. 2: 3 we
are told that by Him "actions are weighed". Hosea charged Ephraim with using
"balances of deceit" (Hos. 12: 7). Amos makes similar charges against Israel, saying that
they make the ephah "small" and the shekel "great" and that they "falsify the balances by
deceit" (Amos 8: 5), while Micah asks concerning Judah, "Shall I count them pure with
the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?" (Micah 6: 11).
The A.V. translates several Hebrew words by the English "weigh", "weight", or
"balance", the most important being the verb shaqal, which gives us the familiar
"shekel". The word tekel used in the writing on the wall in Belshazzar's palace is a
Chaldean equivalent of this word.
While we do not suggest that the Hebrew prophets anticipated Newton's discovery of
the law of gravity, the fact that this self-same word, shaqal, gives us the word "plummet"
(II Kings 21: 13; Isa. 28: 17), shows that all who used these words would know that
the force which enabled them to weigh their bread likewise enabled them to build to a
perpendicular line. So to this day we speak of a "right" line and a "right" angle, using the
word that gives us "righteousness". Another word translated "weigh" is the Hebrew
word palas, which means "To make level, or even". As a noun it means "the beam of a
balance" (Prov. 16: 11; Isa. 40: 12). The verb is used generally for the mental process
of "pondering" or "adjusting": "Ponder the path of thy feet" (Prov. 4: 26). The one
other word translated "weigh" is takan. Its primary meaning can be seen in the fact that
in the Niphal future it is always translated "equal", the essential element in weighing with
The word translated "balances" is moznayim, a dual word indicating "a pair". It is
derived from the same root that gives us ozen, "the ear", as though the ear "weighed" or