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[193] Now Moses commanded them to make use of all the utensils which were more than were necessary to the structure of the tabernacle, for covering the tabernacle itself, the candlestick, and altar of incense, and the other vessels, that they might not be at all hurt when they journeyed, either by the rain, or by the rising of the dust. And when he had gathered the multitude together again, he ordained that they should offer half a shekel for every man, as an oblation to God; which shekel is a piece among the Hebrews, and is equal to four Athenian drachmae. 1 Whereupon they readily obeyed what Moses had commanded; and the number of the offerers was six hundred and five thousand five hundred and fifty. Now this money that was brought by the men that were free, was given by such as were about twenty years old, but under fifty; and what was collected was spent in the uses of the tabernacle.

1 This weight and value of the Jewish shekel, in the days of Josephus, equal to about 2s. 10d. sterling, is, by the learned Jews, owned to be one-fifth larger than were their old shekels; which determination agrees perfectly with the remaining shekels that have Samaritan inscriptions, coined generally by Simon the Maccabee, about 230 years before Josephus published his Antiquities, which never weigh more than 2s. 4d., and commonly but 2s. 4d. See Reland De Nummis Samaritanorum, p. 138.

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