Poor widow gave more (Lk 21:3-21:3)

“Jesus said.

‘Truly!

I tell you!

This poor widow

Has put in

More than

All of them.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν Ἀληθῶς λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἡ χήρα αὕτη ἡ πτωχὴ πλεῖον πάντων ἔβαλεν·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said (καὶ εἶπεν) with a solemn pronouncement (Ἀληθῶς λέγω ὑμῖν) that this poor widow (ὅτι ἡ χήρα αὕτη ἡ πτωχὴ) had put in more than all of them (πλεῖον πάντων ἔβαλεν).  This sounded a little strange, since her gift was so miniscule.  Only Mark, chapter 12:43, has something similar, while Matthew did not mention this incident at all.  Mark said that Jesus called his disciples together (καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  He told them with a solemn pronouncement (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) that this poor widow had put in more money than all those rich people who were contributing to the treasury (ὅτι ἡ χήρα αὕτη ἡ πτωχὴ πλεῖον πάντων ἔβαλεν τῶν βαλλόντων εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον).  In plain numerical terms, that was not correct, but proportionally it was true.  She had given the smallest amount of Greek or Roman money as possible.  There was nothing smaller than her contribution of two copper lepton coins.  However, she had so little to begin with, so that this was a large contribution for her.  What is the largest donation that you ever made?

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She gave out of her poverty (Mk 12:44-12:44)

“All of them

Have contributed

Out of their abundance.

But she has contributed

Out of her poverty.

She has put in everything,

All that she had

To live on.”

 

πάντες γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον, αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τῆς ὑστερήσεως αὐτῆς πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν ἔβαλεν, ὅλον τὸν βίον αὐτῆς.

 

Only Luke, chapter 21:4, has something similar, while Matthew did not mention this incident.  Mark said that Jesus explained how this poor widow had given more than others, since it was not numerically correct.  All of the other rich people had contributed out of their abundance or overflowing wealth (πάντες γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον).  However, she had contributed out of her poverty (αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τῆς ὑστερήσεως αὐτῆς).  She put into the Temple treasury everything that she had to live on (πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν ἔβαλεν), her whole livelihood (ὅλον τὸν βίον αὐτῆς).  Now she was destitute.  This was a strange explanation.  This widow became destitute by contributing to the Temple treasury.  Was that a good idea?  Was this a false sense of generosity?

The widow contributed more (Mk 12:43-12:43)

“Then Jesus called

His disciples.

He said to them.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

This poor widow

Has put in more

Than all those

Who are contributing

To the treasury.”

 

καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἡ χήρα αὕτη ἡ πτωχὴ πλεῖον πάντων ἔβαλεν τῶν βαλλόντων εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον·

 

Only Luke, chapter 21:3, has something similar, while Matthew did not mention this incident.  Mark said that Jesus called his disciples (καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  He told them with a solemn pronouncement (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) that this poor widow had put in more money than all those rich people who were contributing to the treasury (ὅτι ἡ χήρα αὕτη ἡ πτωχὴ πλεῖον πάντων ἔβαλεν τῶν βαλλόντων εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον).  In plain numerical terms, that was not correct, but proportionally it was true.  She had given the smallest amount of Greek or Roman money as possible.  There was nothing smaller than her contribution of 2 copper coins.  However, she had so little to begin with, so that this was a large contribution for her.

Jesus at the treasury (Mk 12:41-12:41)

“Jesus sat down

Opposite the treasury.

He watched

The crowd

Putting money

Into the treasury.

Many rich people

Put in large sums.”

 

Καὶ καθίσας κατέναντι τοῦ γαζοφυλακίου ἐθεώρει πῶς ὁ ὄχλος βάλλει χαλκὸν εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον· καὶ πολλοὶ πλούσιοι ἔβαλλον πολλά·

 

Only Luke, chapter 21:1, has something similar, while Matthew did not mention this incident.  Mark said that Jesus sat down opposite the treasury (Καὶ καθίσας κατέναντι τοῦ γαζοφυλακίου), a room in the Temple.  He watched how the crowds of people put money into the treasury (ἐθεώρει πῶς ὁ ὄχλος βάλλει χαλκὸν εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον).  Many rich people put in large sums of money (καὶ πολλοὶ πλούσιοι ἔβαλλον πολλά).  So far there is nothing extraordinary about rich people giving lots of money to the Temple treasury.

It is hard to enter the kingdom of God (Mk 10:24-10:24)

“The disciples

Were perplexed

At his words.

But Jesus

Answered them again.

‘Children!

How hard it is

For those who trust

In riches

To enter

The kingdom of God!’”

 

οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ ἐθαμβοῦντο ἐπὶ τοῖς λόγοις αὐτοῦ. ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς πάλιν ἀποκριθεὶς λέγει αὐτοῖς Τέκνα, πῶς δύσκολόν ἐστιν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν·

 

This unique saying of Mark is really the repetition of what was said in the previous verse, a redundancy, to drive home a point.  Mark indicated how difficult it would be for rich people to get into the kingdom of God.  Mark said that the disciples were perplexed or amazed at his words (οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ ἐθαμβοῦντο ἐπὶ τοῖς λόγοις αὐτοῦ.).  However, Jesus responded or answered his disciples again (δὲ Ἰησοῦς πάλιν ἀποκριθεὶς), calling them children (λέγει αὐτοῖς Τέκνα,), not understanding what was being said.  He indicated once again how hard it was for those who trusted in riches or wealth to enter the kingdom of God (πῶς δύσκολόν ἐστιν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν τοὺς πεποιθότας ἐπὶ χρήμασιν).  Mark had Jesus repeat things because the disciples were not that sharp.  Quite often wealth had been seen as a sign that God was pleased with that person.