The merchant's place of business. In the Oriental city or village, the market place is an important place for the doing of business. It is not always located in the same place. It may be near the city gates, or it may be in the open streets of the town. The market is not always in operation in some districts, but is open for business whenever there is something to be sold. The arrival in town of a camel caravan would be one great occasion for setting up the market place

and the selling of produce, especially the "blessed grain." Also, many goods are sold in the oriental bazaar. This is usually a covered arcade containing a row of narrow shops on each side, and those of like trade often having their shops together, such as those selling dry goods, grocery items, tin utensils, leather goods, sweetmeats, etc. Jeremiah speaks of the bakers' street (Jeremiah 37:21).

Oriental buying and selling. This is quite different from purchasing in the West. No fixed price is put upon whatever is to be sold. Ordinarily the buyer must expect to spend from a few minutes to an hour or so to complete a purchase. The merchant begins by asking a high price and the buyer by offering a low price. Then the bargaining continues in earnest. To a stranger this process of "striking a bargain" is a tedious one indeed, but the true Orientals enjoy it greatly.

Among them, haggling over prices, and controversy, argument, and excitement usually become heated.

When the sale is made, the buyer will go away to boast of his splendid bargain, and will be greatly admired by the seller. The Book of Proverbs pictures such a purchaser: "It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer; but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth" (Proverbs 20:14). The word "naught" means "nothing."

Payment for goods. Payment is not always in cash or coins for goods purchased. Barter and trade originally took the place money. There was exchange of goods in kind. In early Old Testament times the giving of money took the form of weighing precious metals to be given the seller. Thus "Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth" (Genesis 23:16). This was the purchase price for the Cave of Machpelah. Concerning the money in the sacks of Joseph's brethren, Scripture says: "Every man's money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight" (Genesis 43:21). The first coins did not appear until about 700 B. C. The New Testament refers to the coinage of the Roman Empire which was in general use in those days for business transactions. But the Oriental seller does not always receive cash. Debt is common among many. Sometimes a poor peasant will sow seed he has borrowed, on borrowed land, using borrowed tools, and will even live in a borrowed house. The parable JESUS told of the unjust steward refers to men who owed their lord various amounts such as "an hundred measures of oil," and "an hundred measures of wheat" (Luke 16:5-7).

Method of measuring grain. In selling grain in Bible lands it is the custom that each measure must run over. Likewise such liquids as oil or milk should run over a small amount into the buyer's vessel. A bushel measure is used for measuring the grain. As this measure begins to be full to the brim, the grain is pressed down, and then two or three shakes are given from side to side to settle the grain. The man who is doing the measuring then puts more grain on top, and repeats the shaking process until the measure is actually full clear to the brim. He then presses gently on the grain and makes a small hollow place on top and taking additional handfuls of grain he makes a cone on the surface. He builds up the cone until it can hold no more, some of it beginning to run over. Following this the grain is emptied into the buyer's container. Such is Oriental measure.

JESUS said, "Give, and it shall be given you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again" (Luke 6:38). The word translated "bosom" means "lap," it is not in his bosom but in the skirt of his garment that there is ample room, and there the Oriental carries his grain, like a woman among us might carry things in her folded apron.