Dear 100 Hour Board,
Can you explain the monetary system discribed in Alma 11? Most specifically for how much the bribe would be worth today (6 onties, verse 22) and the wages of the judges (senine of gold for a day, or a senum of silver, verse 3).
The base units of their currency appers to be a senine of gold and a senum of silver, which are equal to each other.
From this, we can derive the monetary system:
2 Senine GOLD = 1 seon GOLD
2 seon GOLD = 1 shum GOLD
1 senine + 1 seon + 1 shum = 1 Limnah GOLD = 7 senine
2 leah SILVER = 1 Shiblum SILVER
2 shiblum SILVER = 1 Shiblon SILVER
2 Shiblon SILVER = 1 Senum SILVER = 1 senine GOLD
2 Senum SILVER = 2 senine GOLD = 1 amnor SILVER = 1 seon GOLD
2 amnor SILVER = 2 seon GOLD = 1 ezrom SILVER = 1 shum GOLD
1 senum + 1 amnor + 1 ezrom = 1 onti SILVER = 1 limnah GOLD = 7 senum SILVER = 42 leah SILVER
In verse 19, an antion of GOLD is worth 3 shiblons of SILVER, or would be worth 12 leah, or 2/7 the value of a limnah or 3/2 a senum of SILVER or 3/2 a senine of GOLD.
Now, as to the actual values for which we could use, we can only assume an arbitrary number and therefore cannot be accurate (or, in case you don't know the meaning of arbitrary like me for about 6 years of hearing it, we don't know enough about the actual value of their money to say 1 senine GOLD = X amount $$).
However, we know that a judge's wage was one senine. Let's set that to be $500 our wages, which is a decent wage for anyone to bring home in one day, or about $125,000 a year.
Zeezrom's bribe of 6 onties would be worth 7 senines apiece, or 42 senines overall. At $500 a senine, that would put the bribe at $21,000. That's a hefty chunk of change!
Now, if the judge's were making more, say relativly $5,000 a day, then Alma and Amulek turn down $210,000.
This means they turned down about two months of a judge's wages in order to preach the gospel. No wonder Zeezrom was so impressed, as his mind was so set upon money and the prestige of the world!
So much work for those prophets. We can be forever grateful they turned down $21,000 in order to help us in our salvation by teaching the Ammoniahites of the effects of priestcraft, as well as the resurrection and the atonement.