Bekhukotai–Worth Your Weight in Silver

” . . . the equivalent for a male shall be: from twenty to sixty years of age the equivalent shall be fifty shekels of silver  by the sanctuary shekel.   If the person is a female, the equivalent is thirty shekels.”  (Lev. 27:3-4)

For purposes of this offering, Leviticus 27 sets a scale of valuation of persons irrespective of status, beauty or wealth (although the amount of the offering could be lowered for a poor person at the priest’s discretion).  In keeping with the practical tone of this chapter, the “value” of a person is reckoned solely in terms of productivity in the economy of ancient Israel.   Carol Meyers argues that the text reflects a social reality in ancient Israel where women bore nearly 40% of the workload; this was taken as a balanced division of labor, given the nature of the biological demands upon women in reproduction.

And if the person is sixty years old or over, then the equivalent for a male is fifteen shekels, and for a female ten shekels.   (Lev. 27:7)  I just turned 60 a few months back, and it was the first birthday that made me feel older.  Am I worth less now?  Or am I just being given a senior discount?

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