Mark 12:42

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

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.