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Biblical Coins - Ancient Jewish Money from the Holy Land

Coins mentioned in the Bible, Jewish coinage, Roman civic issues, and other issues struck in the Holy Land  are all described as Biblical coins. For  everyday business,  Jews used small bronze lepta and prutot. Trade, tribute and the Temple tax were paid for with the gold and silver coinage of other nations.

Dominated by powerful neighbors, the devout  Jewish people struggled to preserve their heritage. To acknowledge foreign rule by acts of worship was forbidden, causing conflicts with Syrian and Roman authority.

Harsh Syrian repression led to a revolt, followed by  independence under the Hasmonean and Herodean dynasties. In 6 ad, Judaea was annexed by the Roman Empire, whose corrupt prefects and procurators plundered it relentlessly. In 66 a.d. the Jews revolted, fighting until 70  when their last stronghold, Masada, fell.

Moses.jpg (20186 bytes)
Moses breaking the tablets of the Law

Many Jews fled to Persia and Egypt,  embittered against Rome. In 132  another revolt led to a terrible war and near extinction of the Jewish inhabitants of the Holy Land.

In reading the Bible coins you will find mentioned include the Tribute penny, the Widow's Mite and the Thirty Pieces of Silver. During the ministry of Jesus, money in the Holy Land was issued by foreign authorities,  the Roman Empire  and autonomous cities such as Tyre. The  exception was  bronze coinage,  the prutah and the lepton or Widow's Mite, struck by the Roman  administration of Judaea, which were the only contemporary ancient Jewish coins.

What coins might Jesus have touched? The Tribute Penny is the only specific reference, but when   the moneychangers' tables were knocked over by Jesus coins of other types may have been touched.

To view available Biblical Coins, click on the links below:

Before the Romans

Coins of Palestine before Roman rule

Roman Procurators

Roman Procurators

The Revolts

The Revolts of 66 and 132 a.d.

Judaea Capta

Roman coins celebrating conquest of Judaea

City Coins of Palestine

Civic Issues of Palestine under the Romans

Coins of the New Testament

Coins Referenced in the New Testament

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