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Balance, Balances

The term is used only in Revelation 6:5 (KJV) in the NT where the rider of the black horse has “a pair of scales (ζυγόν, yoke, fig. for a cross bar of a scale) in his hand.” The picture of the black horse, its rider and scales represents a prophecy of famine, when food staples would become cruelly expensive and money would be inflated and buy very little; as, for example, a day’s wages (denarion) would purchase only a small measure of wheat for bread. It would be a time for closely checking and watching all scales, balances, and measuring devices. People would weigh carefully even the cheaper barley (three measures for a denarion). The word, generally in the Heb. pl. (מֹאזְנַ֫יִם, H4404), occurs more frequently in the OT. At Belshazzar’s feast, Daniel interpreted part of the handwriting on the wall as “You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting” (Dan 5:27). The scales or balances used by the Hebrews were not the delicate devices of our scientific age, but consisted of