Jewish shekels were first coined by Simon the Hasmonean, probably in 139-138 B.C. These bear inscriptions in the archaic Hebrew and various emblems, such as the cup or chalice, the lily branch with three flowers, the candlestick, the citron and palm branch and so forth.
It should be borne in mind that in early times the larger values, such as minae, would be transmitted by commerce, while after the introduction of coinage the lesser values of shekels and drachmae would be the units; and this needs notice, because usually a borrowed unit was multiplied or divided according to the ideas of the borrowers, and strange modifications thus arose.
Then at Abydus, or more probably from Babylonia, there is the large bronze lion-weight, stated to have been originally 400,500 grains; this has been continually divided by 60 by different writers, regardless of the fact (Rev. arch., 1862, 30) that it bears the numeral 100; this therefore is certainly a talent of 100 minae of 4005; and as the mina is generally 50 shekels in Greek systems it points to a weight of 80.1.
A slave often ran away; if caught, the captor was bound to restore him to his master, and the Code fixes a reward of two shekels which the owner must pay the captor.