Use the following Bible story activities to teach the children in your Sunday School class about the units of weight mentioned in the story you are studying. For more information on weights in biblical times, go to Weights in Biblical Times
A Ring and Bracelets for Rebekah. Genesis 24:22.
The gold ring Abraham's servant gave to Rebekah was either a nose ring or an earring. The ring weighed one beka or a half shekel, which is about equivalent to the weight of a US Jefferson 5¢ coin. The golden bracelets weighed ten shekels which is about equivalent to 1/4 pound or the weight of ten US Kennedy 50¢ coins. Teach the children about the weight of a beka and a shekel by showing them a ring and bracelets comparable in weight to the ones given to Rebekah
Joseph Sold Into Slavery. Genesis 37:12-28.
Joseph's brothers sold him as a slave to the Ismaelites for twenty shekels of silver. Twenty shekels of silver are about equivalent to the weight of twenty US Kennedy 50¢ coins.
The Tabernacle and its Furnishings. Exodus 37-38.
The Value of a Male or Female Child. Leviticus 27:5.
The Israelites gave a value of silver when they made a vow to dedicate a person to the Lord. The value of a male between the ages of five and twenty was set at 20 shekels of silver. The value of a female between the ages of five and twenty was set at ten shekels of silver. You can use US Kennedy 50¢ coins to help the children visualize the weight of a shekel. The weight of twenty 50¢ coins is about equal to the weight of 20 shekels. Use ten 50¢ coins to represent the weight of ten shekels.
Redemption of the Firstborn. Numbers 18:16.
Every Israelite offered a redemption price of five shekels of silver in place of the firstborn son and the firstborn male of unclean animals. The weight of five shekels is about 1/8 pound or two ounces. You can show the children five US Kennedy 50¢ coins to give them an idea of what five shekels of silver would have looked like.
The Commanders' Offering of Gold. Numbers 31:52.
The gold articles offered to the Lord by the commanders of the army weighed 16,750 shekels (Numbers 31:52), or about 420 pounds. See how many children in the class it takes to equal 420 pounds.
Gideon's Golden Earrings. Judges 8:26.
The golden earrings the Israelites gave to Gideon weighed 1,700 shekels (Judges 8:26), or about 43 pounds. The earring Abraham's servant gave to Rebekah weighed 1/2 shekel (see above). Let the children guess how many earrings the Israelites gave to Gideon. It was probably close to 3,400 earrings.
Goliath's Armor and Spear. 1 Samuel 17:5-7.
Goliath's coat of armor weighed 5,000 shekels, or about 125 pounds. The point of his spear weighed 600 shekels, or about 15 pounds. Let the children see if they can safely lift a 15 pound weight without straining. This will help the children understand how big and strong Goliath was.
David's Crown. 2 Samuel 12:30.
After he captured Rabbah, David took the gold crown from the head of the king of Rabbah. The crown weighed one talent or 75 pounds. The weight of the crown can be represented by a child or children weighing 75 pounds.
The Philistine's Spearhead. 2 Samuel 21:16.
Ishbi-Benob's spear had a spearhead that weighed 300 shekels, or about 7.5 pounds. Let the children see if they can safely lift a 7.5 pound weight without straining.
Solomon's Income. 1 Kings 10:14.
Each year Solomon received gold weighing 666 talents, not including revenues from merchants and traders and the Arabian kings and governors of the land. This equals about 50,000 pounds of gold. This would be about equal to the weight of ten golden Chevrolet Suburbans or heavy duty pickup trucks. If gold is valued at $250 per troy ounce, this part of Solomon's yearly income had a value of $182 million. Try to explain that this is an enormous amount of money.
Solomon's Shields. 1 Kings 10:17.
King Solomon made small shields of gold, each of which weighed three minas, or about 3.75 pounds. Let the children see how long they can hold a "shield" weighing 3.75 pounds.
Gold and Silver for the Temple. 1 Chronicles 22:14.
King David set aside 100,000 talents of gold and 1,000,000 talents of silver to be used in building the temple of the Lord. This equals about 7.5 million pounds of gold and 75 million pounds of silver. The gold is about equal to the weight of 19 freight locomotives. The silver is about equal to the weight of 190 freight locomotives. If gold is valued at $250 per troy ounce and silver is valued at $4 per ounce, the value of the gold and silver David set aside for the building of the temple totaled about $32 billion. Try to explain that this is an enormous amount of money.
This information is presented to help teachers serving in a Christian Preschool Ministry or a Children's Ministry or a Sunday School class teach children what the Bible says about God and the way He wants us to live.