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Israeli Archaeologists Discover Rare Shekel Used to Pay Temple Tax during King Herod's Reign

Israeli Archaeologists Discover Rare Shekel Used to Pay Temple Tax during King Herod's Reign

Archeologists in the Old City of Jerusalem have discovered a rare silver coin that is believed to have been used to pay the Temple Tax during King Herod's reign.

The coin, also known as the "Tyre shekel," was found inside a box of artifacts during a conservation project at the Tower of David Museum. The box had previously been discovered during the last conservation project in the 1980s but was later lost until its recent rediscovery.

In an interview with CBN News, Eilat Lieber, the Director of the Museum, explained that the rare coin's discovery provides further evidence for the historical authenticity of the accounts of Jesus talking to moneychangers.

"We know from the Gospels that Jesus visited Jerusalem ... and we know that He talked to the money changers," Leiber explained. "So here we have the evidence, the archaeological evidence to the historical sources."

As stated in the four Gospels, Jesus cleansed the temple as he accused the merchants and money changers of turning it into a "den of thieves" (the Synoptic Gospels) or "a house of trade" (the Gospel of John).

The Tower of David, which is an ancient citadel located near the Jaffa Gate entrance in Old Jerusalem, also features Herod's palace, where Jesus' trail apparently took place, according to historians and theologians.

She noted the recent discovery of the Tyre shekel connects the past, present, and future of the Tower of David.

"You can see how the past, the present, and the future are actually here at the Tower of David.  During the work for the future of the citadel, we found the evidence from the past.  And we can actually know more about our identity," Lieber said. "Christians can see how the sources, the Gospels are coming alive here in Jerusalem."

During the Second Temple Period, the coin was produced in the ancient city of Tyre, which is located in Lebanon. According to The Jerusalem Post, Tyre coins were minted from 125 BC until 66 AD during the outbreak of the Great Revolt, as the Jewish people rebelled against the Roman Empire. It was around this time when the Romans would destroy Jerusalem in 70 AD. 

The Tyre shekel would have been used by pilgrims traveling to the Temple for Passover, Shavuot or Sukkot.

Following the discovery, the coin will be part of a new exhibition at the museum next year.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Krugloff, this is a stock image.

Milton QuintanillaMilton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for CrosswalkHeadlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.