Ancient Lifehour Currencies

It doesn't hurt to go to church. Sitting in a pew reviewing the Bible, a synopsis on ancient "Money's, Weights and Measures" was discovered. In reading it (below in the box), note the theme of a coin being based on the average daily wages of the average laborer (which is highlighted in red.)

The Hebrews probably first used coins in the Persian period (500-350 B.C.). However, minting began around 700 B.C. in other nations. Prior to this, precious metals were weighed, not counted as money ....

It is helpful to relate biblical moneys to current values. But we cannot make exact equivalents. The fluctuating value of money's purchasing power is difficult to determine in our own day. It is even harder to evaluate currencies used two to three throusand years ago.

Therefore, it is best to choose a value meaningful over time, such as a common laborer's daily wage. One day's wage corresponds to the ancient Jewish system (a silver shekel is four days' wages) as well as to the Greek and Roman systems (the drachma and the denarius were each coins representing a day's wage).

New Revised Standard Version Bible (1989, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee).

[With timistic analysis, one can quickly assign lifehour values to these ancient currencies. Assuming an ancient 8-daily hours to buy necessities, the lifehour value would be three (24x8). A 12-hour workday would be worth 1.5 lifehours (12/8).


To Earn



Value of





18 lifehours




4.5 lifehours
  1. The Jewish silver shekel would be worth roughly eighteen lifehours. (24/8 x 4days x 1.5daily earnings).

  2. The drachma and denarius would be worth 4.5 lifehours (24/8 x 1 x 1.5)--RSB]

Instead of shekels, drachma and denarius, they could have been called lifedays with subdivisions called lifehours. This synopsis of biblical currencies buttresses the call for a currency based on problem-solving time that transcends the boundaries of nations and centuries--the lifehour, that is, the average hourly time-savings or creation by an average worker or laborer.

In Japan, the basic unit of commerical worth was the koku which was the value of the rice to keep a person alive for one year, that is, five bushels of rice. This works out to almost one pint of rice a day since there are 320 pints in five bushels. For determining the lifehour value of an economy, farmer who produced twice as much in a day as the average rice farmer had a lifehour value double the average worker.

Where does God stand on human compensation? Would Jesus support legal laws that let a fewer few get increasingly overpaid with unearned income at the expense of the many wage-earners who earn their daily bread by the sweat of their brow? It is the same question of whether the Almighty supports an economic system that has a few masters and many slaves. In the eyes of God, surely, there is little or no difference between stealing another person's time by steel chains or stealing income. He did say, "Thou shall not steal." Would God have voted for the Paris Hilton tax-cuts for the rich by the Bush family? No. If we are going to bring God into politics, we need to do it fully and honestly, not pick-and-chose.