Page 3 - EIA FlipBookVersion
P. 3

In Mk 12:42 Jesus observed a poor widow casting two
    bronze coins (Greek “leptons”) into the treasury, “which make a
    farthing” (KJV), or “which make a penny” (RSV).  Because these
    were the smallest bronze coins, translations used the names of
    their period’s contemporary small coins (e.g. “mite”).  Though
    often translated “copper,” tin was normally added for strength,
    so we chose the word “bronze.”  These coins were too small to
    be cast in a mold or have legible inscriptions.  Reverse images
    were made on a hammer and quickly struck onto ½ inch diameter
    bronze slugs, one side at a time.  One side was generally
    decorated with a small dot with rays surrounding it, and the
    reverse was usually an anchor.  As one can see here, often the
    target was hit off-center, as indicated in these two diagrams.

           We are fortunate to live during a time of biblical
    scholarship when we can picture the specific setting for this brief
    text about the widow’s gift.  The Gospels tell us that Jesus was
    sitting in the “Treasury” where he perhaps enjoyed looking at
    the faces of people making donations to the work of the Temple.
    Like the prophets of old, Jesus believed gifts should be given out
    of gratitude towards God for whatever we have…no matter how
    small.  Seeing joy in her face, maybe in contrast to stern duty in
    others, Jesus commented to his followers that she had actually
    donated more than everyone else that day!   Picture the treasury
    area as a large courtyard known as the Court of Women.  An
    ancient Jewish source (Middoth) mentions that the treasury of the
    Temple featured a large semi-circular stairway leading up to the
    Court of the Priests.  This stairway was fifteen rows high and also
    served as a place for Levitical choirs to sing as well as a seating
    area.  In front of these seats there were seven “trumpet-shaped”
    offering receptacles (like funnels) atop donation boxes.  Even
    during a crowded time, multiple people would be able to “cast”
    (as in our text) their coins into them simultaneously.  Jesus wanted
    his disciples to learn that the small value of the widow’s coins
    could result in a large gift to God.
   1   2   3   4   5   6