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Mark 12:42

42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Read Mark 12:42 Using Other Translations

And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.
Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.

What does Mark 12:42 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Mark 12:42

And there came a certain poor widow
Among the many that came to offer their gifts freely, there came one that was particularly taken notice of by Christ; and she was a "widow", had no husband to provide for her, and was a "poor" one; had no substance left her by her husband to support her with; very likely she was an inhabitant of Jerusalem:

and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing;
a "quadrant", which was the fourth part of the Roman assis, or farthing; which seems to be much the same with the (tetarthmorion) of the Greeks, which is said F7 to be,

``the fourth part of an obolus (the least Athenian coin), that is, two brass pieces.''

These mites seem to be the same with the "prutas", the Jews often speak of; who say F8, that a "pruta" is the eighth part of an Italian farthing; though some make it to be the sixth: hence the Syriac version here renders it, "two menin, that is, eighths"; and the Jerusalem Talmud expressly says F9, that, (ojnydrq twjwrp ynv) , "two prutas make a quadrant", the very word here used: and that the Jews took the freewill offerings of the poor as well as the rich, though ever so little, is clear from this canon of theirs F11;

``a poor man that gives a "pruta", or mite, into the alms dish, or a "pruta" into the poor's chest, they take it of him; but if he does not give, they do not oblige him to give.''

Nor were they obliged to cast into the treasury; but if they did, they received it, be it less or more: and indeed, the rich might throw in as little as they pleased: as for instance; into the chest for gold, they might throw in as little as the weight of a barley corn of gold; and into the chest for frankincense, as little as the weight of a barley corn of frankincense F12. The Persic version here, different from all others, instead of "two mites", renders it, "two bottoms of thread", or "yarn".


FOOTNOTES:

F7 Harpocratian. Lexic. p. 281.
F8 Misn. Kiddushin, c. 1. sect. 1. T. Hieros. Kiddushin, fol. 58. 4. T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 12. 1. Bava Metzin, fol. 44. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Shekalim, c. 1. sect. 3.
F9 Kiddushi, fol. 58. 4.
F11 Maimon. Hilch. Mattanot Anayim, c. 9. sect. 19.
F12 Maimon. & Battenora in. Misn. Shekalim, c. 6. sect. 6.
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