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Dishonest Scales and Differing Weights
© 07.19.22 By David Eric Williams

This article appeared in the July 21 edition of the Cottonwood Chronicle

A few weeks ago I wrote in this column saying we're in a situation similar to that of the prophet Elijah. As you recall, in the story of Ahab and Elijah, Ahab blames Elijah for Israel's problems even though it was Ahab and his ilk who were to blame. These days, the left likes to blame Christians (and their ilk) for all the world's problems. Many of those "problems" are simply the failure of the left to get their way. Nevertheless, there are a lot of things going on that really are hard times - for everyone. Let's take one situation as an example: inflation.

Anyone with half a brain knows inflation is a bad thing. Inflation is the debasement of currency. A dollar used to buy 10 widgets; now it buys just one. The ten widgets that used to cost a dollar now cost $10. It takes $10 to buy what $1 used to buy. That's the effect of inflation.

But what causes inflation? As I said, it is the debasement of our currency. When money was actually precious metal or backed by precious metal, debasement took place when alloyed coins with a higher percentage of non-precious metal replaced coinage with a high percentage of valuable metal. Prior to 1964 the change in your pocket would be mostly silver. These days, our quarters nickels and dimes are made from a copper, silver alloy. Before 1964, a dime was 90% silver and 10% copper. At today's prices a pre-64 dime is worth about a $1.35. The dime in your pocket right now is worth less than two cents. Before 1964, a quarter was 90% silver and 10% copper and any pre-64 quarter you may have is worth around three and a half dollars at today's silver values. The quarters you tossed on top of your dresser last night are worth less than five cents each.

Paper money has value when it is backed by precious metal. The United States abandoned the last vestiges of a gold standard during the Nixon presidency and we have relied upon a fiat currency ever sense. In other words, our money has value only because our government says it has value. That value fluctuates with the perceived strength of our civil society and suffers tremendously when money is simply introduced into the economy. In other words, when you pump trillions of dollars into the economy as "covid relief" you debase the value of the already inherently valueless money.

Now, there's a lot more that could be said about the situation but what I want to do is draw your attention to the fact the Bible tells us inflationary policy is wickedness. Any government that circulates fiat currency (that is, money with no intrinsic value nor backed by precious metal or other valuable commodity) is in violation of God's commands. For instance, dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, But a just weight is His delight (Proverbs 11:1). And again, a just balance and scales belong to the LORD; All the weights of the bag are His concern (Proverbs 16:11). Also, differing weights and differing measures, Both of them are abominable to the LORD (Proverbs 20:10) and differing weights are an abomination to the LORD, And a false scale is not good (Proverbs 20:23).

What do "dishonest scales and differing weights" have to do with inflation? Well, as we have seen inflation is the debasement or devaluing of your money. In the ancient world, money was precious metal measured by weight. A dishonest scale would debase your money by weighing light when it came time to pay for your goods. If you bought a carpet from a merchant for a shekel of silver you expected to pay twenty gerahs of silver by weight (Exodus 30:13, 38:26, Leviticus 27:5 and so on). A dishonest scale or dishonest weights would falsely show your shekel to be light and you would be forced to add additional money (weight) in order to complete your purchase. You would then walk away grumbling "a shekel sure doesn't buy what it used to," a victim of inflation via the dishonest practice of the merchant. These days, "a dollar sure doesn't buy what it used to" and we are victims of inflation via the dishonest practices of our civil authorities.

More on this next week.


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