BALANCE (Heb. פֶּלֶס, peles; Isa. 40:12; Prov. 16:11; cf. pilles "make straight, level," Isa. 26:7; Ps. 78:50; synonomous by synecdoche with pair of scales, moznayim – Lev. 19:36; Isa. 40:12; Jer. 32:10; et al. – and with balance beam קָנֶה, kaneh; Isa. 46:6). The equal arm balance of the ancient Near East (as distinguished from the unequal arm balance with counterpoise introduced by the Romans) consisted of a horizontal beam moving freely on a central fulcrum, with the object to be weighed and standard weights suspended at opposite ends in pans or on hooks. In its earliest form the beam was suspended at its center by a cord held in the hand, and equilibrium was estimated visually. Under the 18th dynasty in Egypt larger balances were developed, supported by an upright frame resting on the ground. From the frame was suspended a weighing plummet (Heb. mishkolet, II Kings 21:13; Isa. 28:17) which could be compared with a pointer extending downward at right angles from the pivotal point of the beam. The principle of the balance was probably derived from the yoke of the burden bearer (Isa. 9:3), with its two equalized loads. The earliest mechanical balances were small, and were used only for objects of high value in relation to their size, e.g., gold, silver, jewels, spices, etc. The oldest known example is a stone balance beam from the pre-dynastic Gerzean civilization in Egypt. Weights from the Sumerian and Indus civilizations show that the balance was in use there in the third millennium. Hand balances and large standing balances are illustrated in many Egyptian reliefs and wall paintings, the former also on a Hittite relief from Carchemish and the latter on one from ninth century Assyria. From ancient Israel a crude sketch of a man holding a pair of scales, incised on the base of a scale-weight of the seventh-sixth centuries B.C.E., is extant (unpublished). Biblical references to the balance are both literal (Lev. 19:36; Jer. 32:10; Ezek. 45:10; et al.) and figurative (Isa. 40:12; Ps. 62:10; Job 6:2; et al.). Fraudulent weighing is repeatedly denounced in the Bible, i.e., substandard weights (Amos 8:5), different sets of weights for buying and selling (Deut. 25:13), and false balances (Hos. 12:8; Prov. 11:1). An effort to standardize weights by marking them with an official shekel sign, attributable on archaeological grounds to Josiah, may have been accompanied by regulations for the construction and operation of balances. In later times the levites were made custodians of "all measures of quantity and size" (I Chron. 23:29). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: A.B. Kisch, Seals and Weights (1965), 26–78; F.G. Skinner, Weights and Measures (1967); EM, 4 (1962), 540–3 (incl. bibl.). (Robert B.Y. Scott)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Balance — (de) …   Kölsch Dialekt Lexikon

  • Balance — Bal ance (b[a^]l ans), n. [OE. balaunce, F. balance, fr. L. bilanx, bilancis, having two scales; bis twice (akin to E. two) + lanx plate, scale.] 1. An apparatus for weighing. [1913 Webster] Note: In its simplest form, a balance consists of a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • balance — BALANCE. s. f. Instrument dont on se sert pour peser, composé de deux bassins de même poids, suspendus à un fléau. Balance juste. Fausse balance. Les bassins, les plats d une balance. La languette d une balance. Le fléau d une balance. Tenir la… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • balance — BALANCE. subst. f. Instrument à deux bassins servant à peser. Balance juste. fausse balance. les bassins de la balance. la languette de la balance. le fleau de la balance. tenir la balance juste. faire pencher la balance. On dit que, Le poids… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Balance — Bal ance (b[a^]l ans), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Balanced} (b[a^]l anst); p. pr. & vb. n. {Balancing} (b[a^]l an*s[i^]ng).] [From {Balance}, n.: cf. F. balancer.] 1. To bring to an equipoise, as the scales of a balance by adjusting the weights; to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • balance — 1. The noun is about four centuries older than the verb, and has derived several figurative uses from its primary meaning of ‘an apparatus for weighing’, as for example in accounting (where the notion of balancing the books is ever present) and… …   Modern English usage

  • balance — ► NOUN 1) an even distribution of weight ensuring stability. 2) mental or emotional stability. 3) a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. 4) an apparatus for weighing, especially one with a beam and… …   English terms dictionary

  • Balance — bezeichnet: Gleichgewicht (Physik), ein Gleichgewicht von entgegenwirkenden Kräften oder Aspekten oder einen Zustand der Ausgewogenheit Ausgeglichenheit Eigenschaften einer Datenstruktur; siehe Balancierter Baum Balance (Magazin), ein von der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Balance — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Balance puede referirse a: Balance (contabilidad), informe financiero que refleja la situación del patrimonio de una entidad en un momento determinado. Balance hídrico, el equilibrio entre todos los recursos hídricos …   Wikipedia Español

  • balance — n 1 Balance, equilibrium, equipoise, poise, tension are comparable when denoting the stability or efficiency resulting from the equalization or exact adjustment of opposing forces. Balance suggests a steadiness that results when all parts are… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • balance — or Balance [bal′əns] n. [ME & OFr, prob. via ML < VL * bilancia < LL bilanx, having two scales < L bis, twice + lanx, a dish, scale < IE * elek , extended stem of base * el , to bend > ELBOW] 1. an instrument for weighing, esp. one …   English World dictionary

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