contraction of minute, from the Latin minutum, the translation of the Greek word lepton, the very smallest bronze of copper coin ( Luke 12:59 ; 21:2 ). Two mites made one quadrans, i.e., the fourth part of a Roman as, which was in value nearly a halfpenny. (See FARTHING .)
A Jewish coin.
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. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two MITES, which make a farthing. ( Mark 12:41-42 )
a coin current in Palestine in the time of our Lord. ( Mark 12:41-44 ; Luke 21:1-4 ) It seems in Palestine to have been the smallest piece of money (worth about one-fifth of a cent), being the half of the farthing, which was a coin of very low value. From St. Marks explanation, "two mites, which make a farthing," ver. 42, it may perhaps be inferred that the farthing was the commoner coin. [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary
The smallest copper or bronze coin current among the Jews. They were first struck by the Maccabean princes with Hebrew legends, and afterward by the Herods and the Roman procurators with Greek legends. The "widow's mite" mentioned in Mark 12:42 and Luke 21:2 was probably of the first kind, since those with Greek legends were regarded as unlawful in the temple service. According to Mark, the lepton was only half a kodrantes (Latin quadrans), which would indicate a value of about one-fourth of a cent or half an English farthing.
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