Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Christianity How Heavy Was a Talent in the Bible? A Talent Was an Ancient Unit of Measurement for Weighing Gold and Silver Share Flipboard Email Print Ancient talent weight. Library of Congress Christianity Key Terms in Christianity Christianity Origins The Bible The New Testament The Old Testament Practical Tools for Christians Christian Life For Teens Christian Prayers Weddings Inspirational Bible Devotions Denominations of Christianity Funerals and Memorial Services Christian Holidays Christian Entertainment Catholicism Latter Day Saints View More by Mary Fairchild Mary Fairchild is a full-time Christian minister, writer, and editor of two Christian anthologies, including "Stories of Cavalry." Updated March 17, 2018 A talent was an ancient unit of weight and value in Greece, Rome, and the Middle East. In the Old Testament, a talent was a unit of measurement for weighing precious metals, usually gold and silver. In the New Testament, a talent was a value of money or coin. The talent was first mentioned in the book of Exodus within the inventory of materials used for the construction of the tabernacle: "All the gold that was used for the work, in all the construction of the sanctuary, the gold from the offering, was twenty-nine talents ..." (Exodus 38:24, ESV) The Meaning of Talent The Hebrew term for "talent" was kikkār, meaning a round gold or silver disk, or disk-shaped loaf. In the Greek language, the word comes from tálanton, a large monetary measurement equal to 6,000 drachmas or denarii, the Greek and Roman silver coins. How Heavy Was a Talent? The talent was the heaviest or largest biblical unit of measurement for weight, equal to about 75 pounds or 35 kilograms. Now, imagine the opulence of this enemy king's crown when it was placed on King David's head: "David took the crown from their king's head, and it was placed on his own head. It weighed a talent of gold, and it was set with precious stones." (2 Samuel 12:30, NIV) In Revelation 16:21, we read that "great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent." (NKJV) We get a better picture of the crushing fierceness of God's wrath when we realize these hailstones weighed about 75 pounds. The Talent of Money In the New Testament, the term "talent" meant something very different than it does today. The talents Jesus Christ spoke of in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35) and the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) referred to the largest unit of currency at the time. Thus, a talent represented a rather large sum of money. According to New Nave's Topical Bible, one who possessed five talents of gold or silver was a multimillionaire by today's standards. Some calculate the talent in the parables to be equivalent to 20 years of wages for the common worker. Other scholars estimate more conservatively, valuing the New Testament talent somewhere between $1,000 to $30,000 dollars today. Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway), knowing the actual meaning, weight, and value of a term like talent can help give context, deeper understanding, and better perspective when studying the Scriptures. Dividing the Talent Other smaller weight measurements in Scripture are the mina, shekel, pim, beka, and gerah. One talent equaled about 60 minas or 3,000 shekels. A mina weighed approximately 1.25 pounds or .6 kilograms, and a shekel weighed about .4 ounces or 11 grams. The shekel was the most common standard used among the Hebrew people for both weight and value. The term meant simply "weight." In New Testament times, a shekel was a silver coin weighing one shekel. The mina equaled about 50 shekels, whereas the beka was exactly one-half a shekel. The pim was about two-thirds of a shekel, and a gerah was one-twentieth of a shekel: Dividing the Talent Measure U.S./British Metric Talent = 60 minas 75 pounds 35 kilograms Mina = 50 shekels 1.25 pounds .6 kilograms Shekel = 2 bekas .4 ounces 11.3 grams Pim = .66 shekel .33 ounces 9.4 grams Beka = 10 gerahs .2 ounces 5.7 grams Gerah .02 ounces .6 grams Continue Reading The Shekel Is A Biblical Coin Worth Its Weight in Gold What Was the Sanhedrin and How Did It Play a Part in Jesus' Death? Why Were Some Roman Soldiers Called 'Centurions' in the Bible? How the Ark of the Covenant Foreshadowed Jesus Christ What Is Blasphemy in the Bible? Biblical Answers to Questions About Sin Agape: What Does the Bible Say About the Highest Form of Love? What Is the Armor of God? What Does Forgiveness Mean in the Bible? What Is the Meaning of Immanuel in the Bible? What Is God's Plan of Salvation? Explore the Pentateuch: The First 5 Books of the Bible Why Frankincense Is a Gift Fit for a King What Is the Role of a Deacon or Deaconess in the Church? What Is the Tribulation Period? Why Were the Apocryphal Books Not Accepted Into the Canon?