Pristine Grace

Mk 12:41-44, (GILL)
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 [d]; 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 [e]; and also "prutas", or mites of brass [f]; 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.

[d] 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. [e] Misn. Maaser Sheni, c. 2. sect. 8, 9. & Ediot, c. 1. sect. 9, 10. [f] Vid. Hottinger de Nummis Heb. p. 118.

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 [g] 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 [h], 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 [i], 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 [k];

"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 [l]. The Persic version here, different from all others, instead of "two mites", renders it, "two bottoms of thread", or "yarn".

[g] Harpocratian. Lexic. p. 281. [h] 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. [i] Kiddushi, fol. 58. 4. [k] Maimon. Hilch. Mattanot Anayim, c. 9. sect. 19. [l] Maimon. & Battenora in. Misn. Shekalim, c. 6. sect. 6.

43  And he called unto him, his disciples,.... Who were at some little distance from him, he having finished his discourses:

and saith unto them, verily I say unto you: a way of speaking he often used, when he was about to deliver something of importance, and not so easy of belief, and which required attention, and what he solemnly affirmed:

that this poor widow, pointing to her,

hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: not that she had cast in more, or so much as any one of them as to value and substance, much less more than them all put together; but that she had cast in more in proportion to what she had, than they had in proportion to their substance; and that hers, though very small in itself, and might be contemptible to others, yet it was more in the account of God and Christ, and more highly valued and esteemed of by them, than all that the rich men put in: since what she gave, she gave in faith, and from a principle of love, and with a view to the glory of God; when theirs was given only in hypocrisy, to make an outward show, and to be seen of men.

44  For all they did cast in of their abundance,.... Or "superabundance", as the Arabic version renders it; or "superfluity", as the Ethiopic: they abounded in the things of the world, of which they gave only a part; and though they might give much, yet they could easily spare it, and had enough remaining:

but she, of her want; or "penury", as in Lu 21:4; see 2Co 8:2;

did cast in all that she had, even all her living; her whole substance, all that she had in the world; what was to have bought her food, for that day; she left herself nothing, but gave away all, and trusted to providence for immediate supply.

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