SHEKEL. In the system of Babylonian and Assyrian weights the talent (called in Heb. "9.;, kikkar) consisted of 60 mama (Heb. nr?, maneh) or minas, and the latter again of sixty shekels (Heb.i7iN?). For the values of these weights see NUMISMATICS, vol. xvii. p. 631, where it is also explained that the Phoenicians and Hebrews modified the system and reckoned only 50 shekels to the maneh, at all events in applying the names to money, i.e., to the precious metals,' and that the weight of their silver shekel was also probably modified for convenience of interchange between the gold and silver standard. The silver shekels of the Maccabees (Numismancs, p. 650) have a maximum weight of about 224 grains, and correspond to the Phcenician tetradrachm (four drams). Hence in Matt. xvii. 24 the temple tax of half a shekel is called the didrachm (2 drams). In 2 Sam. xiv. 26 we read of shekels " after the king's weight," i.e., according to the Assyrian standard, which is called "royal" on weights found at Nineveh. The Hebrews divided the shekel into twenty parts, each of which was a gerah (rnA).