How Wealthy Was The Temple In The First Century?


Reading Acts

When Jesus described the Temple as a “den of robbers,” he was attacking a healthy economic system that developed around the Temple in the first century. Josephus (Antiq. 14.105-109) reported that in 54 B.C. the Roman general Crassus raided the Temple, taking cash reserves weighing about 2000 talents (about 176,000 pounds or 80,000 kilograms, although the “low end” estimate for the value of a talent is a bit less, a total of 151,200 pounds!) Eleazar the priest attempted to give Crassus a gold bar worth tens of thousands of drachmas, but Crassus raided the sanctuary anyway. Most scholars consider these values exaggerated, but no one denies the Temple was very wealthy at the time. A second line of evidence is found in Cicero commenting on the amount of gold confiscated by the Romans in 62 B.C. From The Romans confiscated 220 Roman pounds (165 British pounds) from Apamea, Laodicea, and Adramyttium…

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