Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Weighing it up

Rereading the Book of Chronicles (in the Bible) yesterday, I was struck by the amount of gold and silver David stockpiled for the Temple. According to my translation it was in the region of 100,000 talents of gold and million talents of silver. There were 3,000 shekels in a talent, and a shekel weighed (as far as archaeologists have been able to establish) around 10 grams. A hundred shekels, therefore, would make a kilogram, which means that a talent would weigh, roughly, 30 kilograms. I’m not going to try and recalculate that in pounds, as I find it hard enough working in kilograms as it is. That seems a phenomenal weight for what is virtually a large gold ingot. And the weight of 100,000 talents would be in the region of 3,000,000 kilograms. (We haven’t even started on the silver yet!)
No wonder the Temple was considered such a wondrous building. It must have shimmered in the Eastern sun.
Which goes to show, perhaps, that gold has always appealed to human beings as being something of exceptional worth. Even now an ounce of gold – which I discover is equivalent to 28.4 grams (go get the calculator out and you can work out how many ounces David had) is worth a pretty penny. (Apparently bullion bars come in ten ounce units.) If my reading of Monex.com’s price list is correct, the current gold price is edging up to $US700 per bullion bar. (If you’ve worked out how many ounces David had, you’ll be able to figure out what his 100,000 talents were worth.)
Gold is on the rise, it seems, particularly since oil is so iffy. So the expression, Go for Gold, is probably quite apt these days!
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