City: Phoenicia, Tyre
Date: 107/106 BC
Reference: Hendin 917
In Matt 26:15 we find that Judas was paid 30 pieces of silver. There is no mention in the text what type coin or denomination it was. But there have been arguments made by Scripture scholars that when you encounter the generic word “silver” in a context like this, what was being referred to, would be the shekel of Tyre.
If we look at Exodus 21:32 we find that the full silver shekel was a compensation for the death of a slave. So it is the amount of money given for one who died and therefore as “blood money” it has been connected with this passage. The Exodus text may have had some influence on this specific amount. With this in mind we can see that what is being said of Jesus with 30 shekels is that his life is worthless but in reality, as the Gospel unfolds, His life is priceless!
It is hard to put a dollar figure on the worth of 30 shekels. A silver shekel is what an ordinary worker would get paid for four days of work. They did not have hourly wages but rather daily wages at this time. So the 30 pieces of silver would be equal to 120 days pay for an ordinary day laborer. Despite the fact that this can be seen as a considerable amount of money there is some evidence that in nearby cultures at this time the term 30 shekels was a slang phrase meaning completely worthless