True Blue Jon
This translation of the Tanach provided by http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8165
1. And the life of Sarah was one hundred years and twenty years and seven years; [these were] the years of the life of Sarah. 2. And Sarah died in Kiriath arba, which is Hebron, in the land of Canaan, and Abraham came to eulogize Sarah and to bewail her. 3. And Abraham arose from before his dead, and he spoke to the sons of Heth, saying, 4. "I am a stranger and an inhabitant with you. Give me burial property with you, so that I may bury my dead from before me."
5. And the sons of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him, 6. "Listen to us, my lord; you are a prince of God in our midst; in the choicest of our graves bury your dead. None of us will withhold his grave from you to bury your dead."
7. And Abraham arose and prostrated himself to the people of the land, to the sons of Heth. 8. And he spoke with them, saying, "If it is your will that I bury my dead from before me, listen to me and entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar. 9. That he may give me the Machpelah (double) Cave, which belongs to him, which is at the end of his field; for a full price let him give it to me in your midst for burial property."
10. Now Ephron was sitting in the midst of the sons of Heth, and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the sons of Heth, of all those who had come into the gate of his city, saying, 11. "No, my lord, listen to me. I have given you the field, and the cave that is in it, I have given it to you. Before the eyes of the sons of my people, I have given it to you; bury your dead."
12. And Abraham prostrated himself before the people of the land. 13. And he spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying, "But, if only you would listen to me. I am giving the money for the field; take [it] from me, and I will bury my dead there."
14. And Ephron replied to Abraham, saying to him, 15. "My lord, listen to me; a [piece of] land worth four hundred shekels of silver, what is it between me and you? Bury your dead."
16. And Abraham listened to Ephron, and Abraham weighed out to Ephron the silver that he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, accepted by the merchant. 17. And so the field of Ephron which was in Machpelah, facing Mamre, was established (as Abraham's possession). [This included] the field and the cave that was in it, and all the trees that were in the field, which were within its entire border around. 18. [It was] to Abraham as a possession before the eyes of the sons of Heth, in the presence of all who had come within the gate of his city.
19. And afterwards, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah, facing Mamre, which is Hebron, in the land of Canaan. 20. And the field and the cave within it were established to Abraham as burial property, [purchased] from the sons of Heth.
Real estate dealings were much more polite and civilized when the population density was 1000x lower.
Course you had other problems to make up for that...
How much food would a shekel buy?
The major weight of metal mentioned in the Bible is the shekel, as its name, which means simply "weight," testifies.
It goes on...
Since the shekel was the definite weight, an expression such as "1,000 silver" (Genesis 20:16) can be explained as 1,000 shekels of silver,
1 talent=60 maneh=3,000 shekels
1 maneh=50 shekels=100 beka=1,000 gerahs
From the rest of the article, it looks like a shekel is about 10 grams of silver (which would make a gerah a half gram).
However.. then I thought of costs and this was more what i was looking for...
One Shekel (1 Seah?) : a fine meal, II Kings 7:16 ($10?)
Two Shekel : 1 Ram, Lev. 5:15
50 Shekels : 1 Homer (134 or 370 liters) of barley (150 to 370 quarts of bear or wine. Maybe $300 or $900 - so $6 to $18 per shekel)
150 pieces of silver (shekels I assume) : one horse I Kings 10:29
600 pieces of silver: one chariot from Egypt I Kings 10:29
So 400 shekels might be about $3000 to $8000 for the land.
Then it occurred to me to look for wages. This lead to a much more useful site...
Government & Military Wages
Rank Number Shekels
Infantry 24,000 0.75
Cavalry 12,000 1.125
Charioteer 12,000 1.125
Overseer 3,300 2.0
Officer 550 3.0
Officer(50) 480 3.75
Officer(Chief) 250 7.0
Officer(100) 240 7.5
Officer(1000) 24 75.0
Officials 12 140.0
High Official 11 150.0
True Blue Jon
Neat sites! Thanks!