mene, mina

The Daniel Chapter 5 Prophecy

tekel, shekel


The prophecy is found in Daniel chapter 5 and the surface meaning of the
handwriting of God incident is provided in the verses Daniel 5:25-28.

     Dan   5:25  And this is the inscription that was written:

                         MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

            :26  This is the interpretation of each word.
                 MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished
            :27  TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and
                 found wanting;
            :28  PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to
                 the Medes and Persians.

Most prophetic scriptures clearly portray a time dimension. This prophecy
cleverly hides its prophetic nature behind the narrative.

To fully understand this prophecy it is necessary to look at the meanings
of the words.

             MENE     -  'numbered' or 'mina'
                         (Mina is a measure of weight and money weight)

             TEKEL    -  'weighed' or 'weight' or 'shekel'
                         (Shekel is a unit of weight and money)

             UPHARSIN -  ie 'Parsin' (singular Peres (verse 28)),
                         Parsin - 'to divide (into many pieces)'
                         Peres  - 'to divide (once)'

As can be seen the words 'mene' and 'tekel' carry meanings which indicate
weight and monetary value.
(As a result of this observation many have felt the word 'upharsin' should
likewise be understood as 'half mene' or 'half shekel'.)

To determine the time periods it is necessary to follow the instructions
of the prophecy.





Number twice by weight and divide!

In other words:    Number the 'mene' twice by shekel weight
                   and then divide into many pieces.

So a mene (or mina) is composed of how many shekels?


A text found in Ezekiel provides the critical information.

    Ezek  45:10  You shall have just balances, ...

            :12  The shekel shall be twenty gerahs;
                 twenty shekels, twenty-five shekels,
                 and fifteen shekels shall be your mina.

This verse is commonly thought to be suggesting the mina of the sanctuary
was composed of 60 shekels. However, this view fails to explain why the
verse breaks the apparent 60 shekels into twenty, twenty-five and fifteen

Some theories have attempted to explain the text and different renderings
have been suggested.

A more literal rendering of this verse yields the following.

    Ezek  45:12  And the shekel twenty gerah: twenty shekels five
                 and twenty shekels ten and five shekel the mina
                 shall become for you.

This can provide the renderings.

    Ezek  45:12  And the shekel twenty gerah: twenty shekels by five
                 and twenty shekels by ten and five, shekel to the
                 mina shall become to you.


    Ezek  45:12  And the shekel twenty gerah: twenty weights of five
                 and twenty weights of fifteen, shekel to the mina
                 shall become to you.


    Ezek  45:12  And the shekel twenty gerah: twenty weights of five
                 and twenty weights of fifteen, weight to the mina
                 shall become to you.

    [ NB: The problem with the word 'shekel' is that is can
          refer to a specific weight or simply a weight in
          general. So great care has to be taken. ]

In other words:    ... '100'(20 of 5) and '300'(20 of 15),
                   shekel (or weight) shall be to your mina.

The Hebrew weight 'mina' (or 'maneh'), Strong's 4488, is also sometimes
translated as 'pound'.

Now, notice how the New Testament presents its comparable weight.
The translation 'pound' is a rendering of the Greek 'litra' or 'libra',
which is Strong's 3046.

  1)  John  19:39  And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night,
                   also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes,
                   about a hundred pound.

  2)  John  12:3   Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of
                   spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, ...
              :5   "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for
                   three hundred denarii and given to the poor?"

In both New Testament verses we encounter a 'pound' like weight, the
first reference is associated with the number 100 and the second with
the number 300.

Notice, the second reference is also connected with coinage, the denarii.

    What these New Testament verses are indicating, along with    
    Ezekiel 45:12, is;

      for WEIGHT purposes 100 weights composed the mina, and    

      for MONETARY purposes 300 weights composed the mina.    

[NB: Translations of John 19:39 suggest Nicodemus brought forth
     a very large quantity of myrrh and aloes, a 100 pounds,
     but it is more likely this was just one pound. The number
     'hundred' being present to define this pound as being the
     weight equivalent to 100 shekels. ]

The following Old Testament example confirms the 100 shekels per mina


The following verses suggest a mina of gold was the equivalent of
100 shekels of gold. (Note, the word 'shekels' in 2 Chr 9:16 is not
actually present in the original Hebrew.)

      1 Kin 10:17  He also made three hundred shields of hammered
                   gold; three mina of gold went into each shield.
                   And the king put them in the House of the Forest
                   of Lebanon.

      2 Chr  9:16  He also made three hundred shields of hammered
                   gold; three hundred shekels {or weights} of gold
                   went into each shield. The king put them in the
                   House of the Forest of Lebanon.


Scripture indicates there were some different shekel weights


Exod 30:13,24,25,26, Lev 5:15 27:3,25, Num 3:47, 3:50,
Num 7:13,19,25,31,37,48,49,55,61,67,73,79,85,86, 18:16,
Ezek 45:12.

This shekel is repeatedly identified as being the equivalent of
20 gerahs.

Exod 30:13, Lev 27:25, Num 3:47, 18:16, 45:12.


      Gen   23:16  And Abraham listened to Ephron and Abraham weighed
                   out the silver for Ephron which he had named in
                   the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred
                   shekels of silver, currency of the merchants
                   [literal = passing to the merchant].


      2 Sam 14:26  And when he cut the hair of his head - at the
                   end of every year he cut it because it was
                   heavy on him - when he cut it, he weighed
                   the hair of his head at two hundred shekels
                   according to the king's standard [literal
                   = stone/weight of the king].

The contrast between the following verses also suggest there was another
shekel weight.

       Exod  30:13  This is what everyone among those who are numbered
                    shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel
                    of the sanctuary ...
               :16  And you shall take the atonement money of the
                    children of Israel, and shall appoint it for
                    the service of the tabernacle of meeting, ...

       Neh   10:32  Also we made ordinances for ourselves, to exact
                    from ourselves yearly one-third of a shekel for
                    the service of the house of God.

[NB: The existence of the half shekel weight is well documented in Scripture.
     However, the third shekel weight of Neh 10:32 is not.

     The implication is that the heavier king's shekel was 50% heavier
     than the  shekel of the sanctuary. 
     So a shekel of the sanctaury would eqaute to 20 gerahs.
     A 50% heavier shekel of the king would eqaute to 30 gerahs.

     Hence to meet the requirenent to contribute half a sanctuary
     shekel, ie the equivalent of 10 gerahs, only a third of a king's
     standard shekel would be required.

     This line of reasoning would also require the rendering of
     Neh 10:32 to be adjusted. The 'yearly' implication would
     have to be removed. Instead it would have to indicate
    'in the year' (ie, in the year of the census).   ]


The actual existence of a multiple shekel weight is also suggested in
a literal rendering of Numbers 3:47.

In our bibles it reads,

       Num    3:47  you shall take five shekels for each one
                    individually, you shall take them in the
                    currency of the shekel of the sanctuary,
                    the shekel of twenty gerahs.

However, a more literal translation is as follows,

       Num    3:47  and you take five of five of shekels to
                    the skull in shekel of the sanctuary you
                    shall take, twenty gerah the shekel.

                    [ NB: Notice, in the original Hebrew the
                          repetition, "five of five of".
                          Translators not being able to
                          understand the repetition have
                          simply left it out. ]

However, what we see in Num 3:47 and in the revised Ezek 45:12 is the
repeated indication that there existed a weight which was the equivalent
of 5 shekels of the sanctuary. 

A literal rendering of the sum collected is,

       Num    3:50  From firstborn sons of Israel he took the silver
                    five and sixty and three of hundreds and thousand,
                    in shekel of sanctuary.

The collection for 273 individuals (Num 3:46) resulted in 1,365 weights.
These weights being calculated based on the standard of the shekel of the
sanctuary. However, based on the repetition found in the Num 3:47 we can
identify that these weights weighed the equivalent of five sanctuary shekels
each! A total of 1,365 weights weighing five shekel each is the equivalent
of 6,825 shekels of the sanctuary. 

Having now reviewed the likely meaning of Ezekiel 45:12 we can consider
the teaching of this prophecy.


With this understanding it is now possible to derive the periods of time
being prophesied by the handwriting on the wall.


     - 100 shekels divided into gerahs(20 per shekel) = 2,000 gerahs

                               ie  2,000 years!


     - 300 shekels divided into gerahs(20 per shekel) = 6,000 gerahs

                               ie  6,000 years!

These periods would be counted backwards from the critical end-time
focus points of prophecy.

              ** 100 Shekels **                    ** 300 Shekels **

                                                       -  6,000 yrs  
                                                       |  (20x(10+5))
                                                       |  (Adam & Eve)
                           - 2.010 yrs                 |
    - 2,000 yrs            |  (NT Gospel               | 
    | (Gospel to           |   to Jews)                |
    |  Non-Jews)           |                           |
    |                and   |                           | 
    |                /or   |                           |
    |                      -  10 yrs                   |
    - 0 yrs                   (Great Trib)             -  0 yrs
      (Fall of                                           (Kingdom of God)

These periods of time, being predetermined warnings for Judaism and


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