Mark 12:41

The Widow's Offering

41 1And he sat down opposite 2the treasury and watched the people 3putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums.

Mark 12:41 Meaning and Commentary

Mark 12:41

And Jesus sat over against the treasury
the Arabic version reads, "at the door of the treasury"; the place where the chests stood, into which money was put for various uses: there were thirteen chests in the temple F4; six of them were, (hbdnl) , for voluntary oblations, or freewill offerings; for what remained of the sin offering, and of the trespass offering, and of the turtles; for those that had fluxes, and for new mothers; and of the sacrifices of the Nazarite, and of the trespass offering for the leper; and the last was for a freewill offering in general; and into one of these chests, or all them, was the money cast, afterwards spoken of. The Ethiopic version renders it, "over against the alms chest"; but this contribution in the temple, was not for the maintenance of the poor, but for the supply of sacrifices, and other things, as mentioned. Jesus having done preaching, and the Scribes and Pharisees having left him, and the multitude being dismissed, he sat down, being weary, and rested himself in this place:

and beheld;
with pleasure.

how the people,
of all sorts, rich and poor,

cast money into the treasury;
into one or other of the above chests: the word rendered "money", signifies "brass", which the Jews call, (twem) ; for they had shekels of brass, as well as silver; and brazen pence, as well as silver pence F5; and also "prutas", or mites of brass F6; and such, the poor woman cast in:

and many that were rich cast in much:
they gave very liberally and largely, as they were possessed with much worldly substance; for though religion was at a low ebb with them, yet they took care to support the external and ritual part of it.


F4 Misn. Shekalhim, c. 6. sect. 5. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. & Moses Kotsensis, Mitzvot Tora, pr. affirm. 44. & Maimon. Hilch. Shekalim, c. 2. sect. 2, 3.
F5 Misn. Maaser Sheni, c. 2. sect. 8, 9. & Ediot, c. 1. sect. 9, 10.
F6 Vid. Hottinger de Nummis Heb. p. 118.

Mark 12:41 In-Context

39 and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts,
40 who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation."
41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums.
42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.
43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.

Cross References 3

  • 1. For ver. 41-44, see Luke 21:1-4
  • 2. Matthew 27:6; John 8:20
  • 3. 2 Kings 12:9
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.