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".