The Widow's Mite

Special Collection Treasures

Published in July 2005 by Special Collection
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.

Mite and Penny, tails

Mite and Penny, heads

Mite and Penny, tails

Mite and Penny, tails

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.
Close-up of mite, heads

Close-up of mite, heads

Close-up of mite, tails

Close-up of mite, tails

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.