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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Fig. 81—Money Purses

Bag, a purse or pouch (Deuteronomy 25:13; Job 14:17; 1 Samuel 17:40; Luke 12:33). The money deposited in the treasuries of Eastern princes, or intended for large payments, or to be sent to a government as taxes or tribute, is collected in long narrow bags or purses, each containing a certain amount of money, and sealed with the official seal. As the money is counted for this purpose, and sealed with great care by officers properly appointed, the bag, or purse, passes current, as long as the seal remains unbroken, for the amount marked thereon. In the receipt and payment of large sums, this is a great and important convenience in countries where the management of large transactions by paper is unknown, or where a currency is chiefly or wholly of silver it saves the great trouble of counting or weighing loose money. This usage is so well established, that, at this day, in the Levant, 'a purse' is the very name for a certain amount of money (now five pounds sterling), and all large payments are stated in 'purses.' The antiquity of this custom is attested by the monuments of Egypt, in which the ambassadors of distant nations are represented as bringing their tributes in sealed bags of money to Thothmes III; and we see the same bags deposited intact in the royal treasury. When coined money was not used, the seal must have been considered a voucher not only for the amount, but for the purity of the metal. The money collected in the Temple, in the time of Joash, seems to have been made up into bags of equal value after this fashion; which were probably delivered, sealed, to those who paid the workmen (2 Kings 12:10; comp. also 2 Kings 5:23; Tobit 9:5; Tobit 11:15).





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Bag'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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