A Further Lead Weight of Shimon Bar Kokhba
by Robert Deutsch

A lead weight bearing the name of Shimon son of Kosba was published by this author in 2001.1 A further specimin is the subject of this article.2

The lead weight is square, cast in a mould and measures 4.8×4.8cm. It is 1.08cm-1.11cm thick and weights 215.4g. The cross-section of the weight is a trapezoid. Its front side (3.7×3.7cm) bears a damaged Paleo-Hebrew inscription and a palm branch is depicted on its back. The inscription reads: “Shim’on son of Kosba, Prince of Israel”.

The Paleography

Several letters — the waw, resh and shin — are similar to those on the coins of Bar Kokhba.4 Four letters are in mirror script, the letters: mem, bet, yod and lamed. Several letters are damaged or missing. The word ns(y’) “Prince” is written with the letter shin as it appears on the coins of Bar Kokhba, and not with the letter samekh as it is spelled on previously published Bar Kokhba weights and letters.5

The Script and Language

The language used to mark the issuing authority of the weight is Hebrew, as is confirmed by the use of the Hebrew words bn “son” and nasi “prince”. This is the fifth lead weight belonging to the Bar Kokhba administration recorded to date and the second with a Paleo-Hebrew inscription.6

The Weight Standard

As demonstrated in a previous article,7 the weight standard used by Bar Kokhba’s administration was based on the Greek Imperial silver tetradrachm unit, which is 14g on average. The weight published by Lifshitz^8^ weighs 210g, which is exactly 15 sela, and the Horbat Alim weight^9^ weights almost four times as much, c. 804g, which is about 57.5 sela. Our weight weights 215.4g, or 15 sela. Accordingly, we have a system of three weights: 15 (3) and c. 60 sela.


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