1, of fishes (קִשׂקֶשֶׂת, kaskeseth, Le 11:9-10,12; De 14:10; Eze 29:4; so of the laninoe of a coat of "mail," 1Sa 17:5); similarly λεπίς (a flake) of incrustations from the eyes (Ac 9:18); but in Job 41:15 (Hebrews 7) the scaly armor of the crocodile is figuratively denoted (אִפַּיקֵי מָגַנַּים, strong ones of shields, A.V. "scales");
2, of balances (פֶּלֶס, peles, in the sing. only, "weight," Pr 16:11; "scales," Isa 40:12; always associated with מאֹזיַם, the balance proper);
3, as a verb, to scale the walls of a city (עָלָה olah, Pr 21:22, to go up, as elsewhere often). SEE LADDER.
Before the introduction of coins, balances were of the utmost importance for the weighing of gold and silver in every commercial transaction (Ge 23:16; Ge 43:21; Isa 46:6; Jer 32:9), so that a balance was required to be of exquisite delicacy. Allusions to this are found in Isa 40:15; Ecclesiastes 28:29, "small dust of the balance," "a little grain of the balance;" and all dishonesty in the treatment of the scales is sternly forbidden and denounced (Le 19:35; Ho 12:7; Am 8:5; Mic 6:11; Pr 11:1; Pr 16:11). Hence arose the Rabbinic rule that the scales should be made of marble which could not wear away. The above term פֶּלֶס, peles (rendered "weight" Pr 16:11 [Sept. ῥοπη], and "scales" Isa 40:12 [Sept. σταθμός), is said by Kimchi (on Isa 26:7) to be properly the beam of the balance. In his Lexicon he says it is the part in which the tongue moves, and which the weigher holds in his hand. Gesenius (Thesaur. s.v.) supposed it was a
steelyard. That the steelyard was an invention known to the ancients is certain, for specimens of them, elaborately adorned, have been found at Pompeii and Herculaneum (Mus. Borbon. 1, 55). Still it was probably not known until the Roman era, and indeed is said to have been called Trutina Campana, from its invention in Campania (Smith, Dict. of Class. Ant. s.v. "Trutina"). No traces of its use have been found either in the tombs or temples of Egypt or Assyria, and this is a sufficient proof that the instrument was unknown in those countries. Hence there is no evidence that this instrument was known to the Hebrews. Of the material of which the balance was made we have no information. SEE BALANCE.
It is thought that the Jews knew the constellation Libra as one of the signs of the zodiac (2Ki 23:5; Job 38:32). SEE ASTRONOMY.