Mark 12:42
Parallel Verses
New International Version
But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

King James Bible
And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

Darby Bible Translation
And a poor widow came and cast in two mites, which is a farthing.

World English Bible
A poor widow came, and she cast in two small brass coins, which equal a quadrans coin.

Young's Literal Translation
and having come, a poor widow did put in two mites, which are a farthing.

Mark 12:42 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Cast money into the treasury - It is worthy of observation, that the money put into the treasury, even by the rich, is termed by the evangelist χαλκον, brass money, probably that species of small brass coin which was called פרוטה prutah among the Jews, two of which make a farthing, and twenty-four an Italian assarius, which assarius is the twenty-fourth part of a silver penny. We call this, mite, from the French, miete, which signifies a crumb, or very small morsel. The prutah was the smallest coin in use among the Jews: and there is a canon among the rabbins that no person shall put less than two prutahs into the treasury. This poor widow would not give less, and her poverty prevented her from giving more. And whereas it is said that many rich persons cast in Much, πολλα, (many), this may only refer to the number of the prutahs which they threw in, and not to the value. What opinion should we form of a rich man, who, in a collection for a public charity, only threw in a handful of halfpence? See Luke 21:1, and see the note on Matthew 5:26. The whole of this account is lacking in Matthew. Another proof that Mark did not abridge him.

Let us examine this subject a little more closely: Jesus prefers the widow's two mites to all the offerings made by the rich.

In the preceding account, Mark 12:41, it is said Jesus beheld how the people cast money into the treasury. To make this relation the more profitable, let us consider Christ the observer and judge of human actions.

I. Christ the observer.

1. Christ observes all men and all things: all our actions are before his eyes, what we do in public and what we do in private are equally known unto him.

2. He observes the state and situation we are in: his eye was upon the abundance of the rich who had given much; and he was well acquainted with the poverty and desolate state of the widow who had given her all, though that was but little in itself. What an awful thought for the rich!

"God sees every penny I possess, and constantly observes how I lay it out." What a comfortable thought for the poor and desolate! The eye of the most merciful and bountiful Jesus continually beholds my poverty and distress, and will cause them to work for my good.

3. Christ sees all the motives which lead men to perform their respective actions; and the different motives which lead them to perform the same action: he knows whether they act through vanity, self-love, interest, ambition, hypocrisy, or whether through love, charity, zeal for his glory, and a hearty desire to please him.

4. He observes the circumstances which accompany our actions; whether we act with care or negligence, with a ready mind or with reluctance.

5. He observes the judgment which we form of that which we do in his name; whether we esteem ourselves more on account of what we have done, speak of it to others, dwell on our labors, sufferings, expenses, success, etc., or whether we humble ourselves because we have done so little good, and even that little in so imperfect a way.

II. See the judgment Christ forms of our actions.

1. He appears surprised that so much piety should be found with so much poverty, in this poor widow.

2. He shows that works of charity, etc., should be estimated, not by their appearance, but by the spirit which produces them.

3. He shows by this that all men are properly in a state of equality; for though there is and ought to be a difference in outward things, yet God looks upon the heart, and the poorest person has it in his power to make his mite as acceptable to the Lord, by simplicity of intention, and purity of affection, as the millions given by the affluent. It is just in God to rate the value of an action by the spirit in which it is done.

continued...

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

two mites. 'It is the seventh part of one piece of that brass money.'

Library
God's Last Arrow
'Having yet therefore one son, his well-beloved, he sent him also last unto them.'--Mark xii. 6. Reference to Isaiah v. There are differences in detail here which need not trouble us. Isaiah's parable is a review of the theocratic history of Israel, and clearly the messengers are the prophets; here Christ speaks of Himself and His own mission to Israel, and goes on to tell of His death as already accomplished. I. The Son who follows and surpasses the servants. (a) Our Lord here places Himself in
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Marvels of Holy Scripture, --Moral and Physical. --Jael's Deed Defended. --Miracles vindicated.
Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God. ON a certain occasion, the Son of Man was asked what was thought a hard question by those who, in His day, professed "the negative Theology [588] ." There was a moral and there was physical marvel to be solved. Both difficulties were met by a single sentence. The Sadducean judgment had gone astray from the Truth, (planasthe our Saviour said,) from a twofold cause: (1) The men did not understand those very Scriptures
John William Burgon—Inspiration and Interpretation

A Serious Persuasive to Such a Method of Spending Our Days as is Represented in the Former Chapter.
1, 2. Christians fix their views too low, and indulge too indolent a disposition, which makes it more necessary to urge such a life as that under consideration.--3. It is therefore enforced, from its being apparently reasonable, considering ourselves as the creatures of God, and as redeemed by the blond of Christ.--4. From its evident tendency to conduce to our comfort in life.--5. From the influence it will have to promote our usefulness to others.--6. From its efficacy to make afflictions lighter.--7.
Philip Doddridge—The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul

The Cross as a Social Principle
Social Redemption is Wrought by Vicarious Suffering DAILY READINGS First Day: The Prophetic Succession And he began to speak unto them in parables. A man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge about it, and digged a pit for the winepress, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into another country. And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruits of the vineyard. And they took him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.
Walter Rauschenbusch—The Social Principles of Jesus

Cross References
Matthew 5:26
Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

Mark 12:41
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.

Mark 12:43
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.

Luke 12:59
I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny."

Luke 21:2
He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.

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