Pim weight

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Pim weight, a polished stone about 15 mm (5/8 inch) diameter, equal to about two-thirds of a Hebrew shekel. Many specimens have been found since their initial discovery early in the 20th century, and each one weighs about 7.6 grams compared to 11.5 grams of a shekel. Its name, which can also be transliterated as "payim", comes from the inscription seen across the top of its dome shape: פימ.

Drawing of the first Pim weight ever published; found at Gezer


Until Robert Alexander Stewart Macalister's excavations at Gezer (1902-1905 and 1907-1909), scholars did not know how to translate the word pim (פִ֗ים p̄îm) in 1 Samuel 13:21.[1]

Here is the 1611 translation of the King James Version of the Bible:

Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads.

The 1982 New King James Version rendered it:

And the charge for a sharpening was a pim for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to set the points of the goads.

Apparently the word and the weight fell out of usage during the Israelite monarchy, so its appearance in the books of Samuel indicates that the historian used ancient source material.


Top-view of an unprovenanced pim weight
Side-view of an unprovenanced pim weight

See also[edit]


  1. ^ William G. Dever, Will Dever. Recent Archaeological Discoveries and Biblical Research. Samuel and Althea Stroum lectures in Jewish studies. Publisher: University of Washington Press, 1989. p 33. ISBN 0295972610, 9780295972619


  • Macalister, R. A. Stewart (1912). The Excavation of Gezer 1902-1905 and 1907-1909 Vol. II. London: John Murray. p. 285. 
  • Avraham Negev; Shimon Gibson, eds. (2003). Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land. New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc. pp. 537–9.