Own A Piece Of History
A bronze prutah of Alexander Jannaeus “widow’s mite”, 103-76 BC, Set 925 silver cufflink.
Obv: Anchor surrounded by Greek inscription [A]ΛEΞANΔOY BAΣIΛEΩ[Σ] (of King Alexander)
Rev: Eight pointed star within diadem; between the rays, paleo-Hebrew inscription (Yehonatan the King).
Ref: See Meshorer Y, A Treasury of Jewish Coins, Group K. Page 209.
The Lesson of the widow’s mite
The Lesson of the widow’s mite is presented in the Synoptic Gospels (Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-4), in which Jesus is teaching at the Temple in Jerusalem.
The Gospel of Mark specifies that two mites (Greek lepta) are together worth a quadrans, the smallest Roman coin. A lepton was the smallest and least valuable coin in circulation in Judea, worth about six minutes of an average daily wage
“He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, ‘Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.
The traditional interpretation of this story tends to view it as contrasting the conduct of the scribes with that of the widow and encouraging generous giving; often read with 2 Corinthians 9:7, “…for God loves a cheerful giver.”
However, Addison Wright observes that there is no indication given of the widow’s demeanor or frame of mind. He points out that earlier, in Mark 7:10-13, Jesus takes to task the scribes and Pharisees for an hypocrisy that would impoverish parents.
For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother shall die.’ Yet you say, ‘If a person says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban “‘(meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”