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Talent

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The talent (Greek: ταλεντον; talenton) was the weight of any precious metal that a man could carry on his back. In Biblical and other ancient times, this was the largest standard money portion in any society.

King Omri buys a hill for two silver talents, and builds a capital city on it (Kings 16:24). The kings of the Divided Kingdoms Northern and Southern frequently paid tributes denominated in talents, sometimes of silver, sometimes of gold. In the New Testament, Matthew the Evangelist recounts a parable by Jesus that involves a man who gives various sums of money to three stewards, and each sum is denominated in talents. Jesus also tells a parable involving a man who owed another ten thousand talents and asked forgiveness, but would not offer that same forgiveness to one owing him one hundred dinars.

The Book of Revelation describes a great and terrible earthquake accompanied by hail in the form of great stones that each weigh a talent (Revelation 16:21). The New International Version describes this weight as one hundred Avoirdupois pounds. This is an exaggeration based on the original definition of the standard Roman talent, which was one hundred libri mercatores, or one hundred Roman pounds. One talent probably weighs 75 modern pounds today. The King James Version translates the original Greek word talenton.

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