30:13 Everyone who crosses over to those who are numbered26 is to pay this: a half shekel27 according to the shekel of the sanctuary28 (a shekel weighs twenty gerahs). The half shekel is to be an offering29 to the Lord.
sn Each man was to pass in front of the counting officer and join those already counted on the other side.
sn The half shekel weight of silver would be about one-fifth of an ounce (6 grams).
sn It appears that some standard is in view for the amount of a shekel weight. The sanctuary shekel is sometimes considered to be twice the value of the ordinary shekel. The “gerah,” also of uncertain meaning, was mentioned as a reference point for the ancient reader to understand the value of the required payment. It may also be that the expression meant “a sacred shekel” and looked at the purpose more—a shekel for sanctuary dues. This would mean that the standard of the shekel weight was set because it was the traditional amount of sacred dues (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 333). “Though there is no certainty, the shekel is said to weigh about 11, 5 grams … Whether an official standard is meant [by ‘sanctuary shekel’] or whether the sanctuary shekel had a different weight than the ‘ordinary’ shekel is not known” (C. Houtman, Exodus, 3:181).
tn Or “contribution” (תְּרוּמָה, térumah).