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The Widow's Mite

Mark 12:42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

The mite, also known as a lepton, was a Jewish coin and the smallest used in New Testament time. At the time of Mark's writing, it was worth 1/64 of a denarius. A denarius was a day's wage for a common worker. In today's terms, it would be worth about 1/8 of a cent. The one pictured below is believed to have been minted between 103 - 76 B. C.

Mark 12:41-44; 41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. 42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Luke 21:1-4; 1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And he saw a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. 3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: 4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

Resources

Gehman, Henry Snyder, The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, Westminster Press, 1970.

The Holy Bible; King James Version, 1611

Joines Archeological Collection, Special Collection, Samford University Library.

Meshorer, Ya'akov, Ancient Jewish Coinage Vol. II Herod the Great through Bar Cochba, Amphora Books 1982.

Orlinsky, Harry M., The Library of Biblical Studies, KTAV Publishing House, Inc. 1967.