Abundance versus necessities (Lk 21:4-21:4)

“All of them

Have contributed

Out of their abundance.

But she has contributed

Out of her poverty.

She has put in

All that she had

To live on.”

 

πάντες γὰρ οὗτοι ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον εἰς τὰ δῶρα, αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τοῦ ὑστερήματος αὐτῆς πάντα τὸν βίον ὃν εἶχεν ἔβαλεν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that all of them had contributed their gifts out of their abundance (πάντες γὰρ οὗτοι ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον εἰς τὰ δῶρα).  However, she had contributed out of her poverty (αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τοῦ ὑστερήματος αὐτῆς).  She put in all that she had to live on (πάντα τὸν βίον ὃν εἶχεν ἔβαλεν).  Thus, she would be destitute.  Only Mark, chapter 12:44, had 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).  This was a strange explanation.  This widow became destitute by contributing to the Temple treasury.  Was that a good idea?  Someone should have advised her to keep her money.  Was this a false sense of generosity?  Was this part of the idea of giving up everything for Christ?  Would you give up everything?

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The poor widow (Lk 21:2-21:2)

“Jesus saw

A poor widow

Put in

Two small copper coins.”

 

εἶδεν δέ τινα χήραν πενιχρὰν βάλλουσαν ἐκεῖ λεπτὰ δύο,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus saw a poor widow (εἶδεν δέ τινα χήραν πενιχρὰν) put in two small copper coins (βάλλουσαν ἐκεῖ λεπτὰ δύο).  Only Mark, chapter 12:42, has something similar, since Matthew did not mention this incident.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that this one poor widow came to the treasury (καὶ ἐλθοῦσα μία χήρα πτωχὴ).  She put in two small copper coins (ἔβαλεν λεπτὰ δύο).  A λεπτὰ “lepton” copper coin was the smallest Greek coin and often called a “mite”.  Two of these “lepton” copper coins was worth a penny or a κοδράντης (ὅ ἐστιν κοδράντης).  This κοδράντης “quadrans” was the smallest Roman copper coin.  This was a very small amount of money that this poor widow put into the Temple treasury.  Do you give pennies away?

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 poor widow (Mk 12:42-12:42)

“One poor widow came.

She put in

Two small copper coins,

That are worth

A penny.”

 

καὶ ἐλθοῦσα μία χήρα πτωχὴ ἔβαλεν λεπτὰ δύο, ὅ ἐστιν κοδράντης.

 

Only Luke, chapter 21:2, has something similar, while Matthew did not mention this incident.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that one poor widow came to the treasury (καὶ ἐλθοῦσα μία χήρα πτωχὴ).  She put in two small copper coins (ἔβαλεν λεπτὰ δύο).  A λεπτὰ “lepton” copper coin was the smallest Greek coin and often called a “mite”.  2 of these “lepton” copper coins was worth a penny or a κοδράντης (ὅ ἐστιν κοδράντης).  This κοδράντης “quadrans” was the smallest Roman copper coin.  This was a very small amount of money that this poor widow put into the Temple treasury.

The prophecy of Jeremiah (Mt 27:9-27:10)

“Then was fulfilled

What had been spoken

Through the prophet Jeremiah.

‘They took

The thirty pieces of silver,

The price of the one

On whom

A price had been set,

On whom

Some of the people of Israel

Had set a price.

They gave it

For the potter’s field,

As the Lord

Commanded me.”

 

τότε ἐπληρώθη τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἱερεμίου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος Καὶ ἔλαβον τὰ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια, τὴν τιμὴν τοῦ τετιμημένου ὃν ἐτιμήσαντο ἀπὸ υἱῶν Ἰσραήλ

καὶ ἔδωκαν αὐτὰ εἰς τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως, καθὰ συνέταξέν μοι Κύριος.

 

This is unique to Matthew, who said that this happened to fulfill (τότε ἐπληρώθη) what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah (τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἱερεμίου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος).  Unfortunately, this is from the prophet Zechariah, chapter 11:12-13, not Jeremiah.  He had said that they took 30 pieces of silver (Καὶ ἔλαβον τὰ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια).  This was the specific set price (τὴν τιμὴν τοῦ τετιμημένου) that the people or sons of Israel had established (ὃν ἐτιμήσαντο ἀπὸ υἱῶν Ἰσραήλ).  They gave it for a potter’s field (καὶ ἔδωκαν αὐτὰ εἰς τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως) because the Lord had commanded it (καθὰ συνέταξέν μοι Κύριος).  In the original text from Zechariah, he was told to throw 30 shekels of silver into the Temple treasury.  Like all good prophets, Zechariah did what Yahweh asked him to do.  He threw the 30 silver shekels into the treasury in the house of Yahweh.  There was no mention of a potter’s field.  That might be allusion to Jeremiah who visited a potter’s house in chapter 18:1-6.  However, here that second verse is an addition by Matthew, not in the original Old Testament verse of Zechariah.

The Field of Blood (Mt 27:6-27:8)

“But the chief priests,

Taking the pieces of silver,

Said.

‘It is not lawful

To put them

Into the treasury,

Since these pieces

Are blood money.’

After conferring together,

They used

These silver pieces

To buy the potter’s field,

As a place

To bury foreigners.

Thus,

That field

Has been called

The Field of Blood

To this day.”

 

οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς λαβόντες τὰ ἀργύρια εἶπαν Οὐκ ἔξεστιν βαλεῖν αὐτὰ εἰς τὸν κορβανᾶν, ἐπεὶ τιμὴ αἵματός ἐστιν.

συμβούλιον δὲ λαβόντες ἠγόρασαν ἐξ αὐτῶν τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως εἰς ταφὴν τοῖς ξένοις.

διὸ ἐκλήθη ὁ ἀγρὸς ἐκεῖνος Ἀγρὸς αἵματος ἕως τῆς σήμερον.

 

This is unique to Matthew among the gospel writers, although in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1:16-20, Peter talked about the death of Judas and the Field of Blood. The chief priests, however, took the 30 pieces of silver (οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς λαβόντες τὰ ἀργύρια).  They said that it was not lawful to put this money into the Temple treasury (εἶπαν Οὐκ ἔξεστιν βαλεῖν αὐτὰ εἰς τὸν κορβανᾶν), since it was blood money (ἐπεὶ τιμὴ αἵματός ἐστιν).  After conferring together or taking counsel among themselves (συμβούλιον δὲ λαβόντες), they used this money to buy the potter’s field (ἐξ αὐτῶν τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως), as a place to bury foreigners or strangers (εἰς ταφὴν τοῖς ξένοις).  Thus, this field has been called the Field of Blood (διὸ ἐκλήθη ὁ ἀγρὸς ἐκεῖνος Ἀγρὸς αἵματος) to this day (ἕως τῆς σήμερον).  Apparently, the clay that was used for pottery was useless for growing anything.  Thus, it was called potter’s field.  This field became a graveyard for foreigners, strangers, and commoners who had no money for a proper burial.  It was the poor man’s burial area.  This returned blood money could not be used for any Temple activities or holy purposes.  Thus, a cemetery for the indigent seemed like a good comprise.  Notice that Matthew said that it was called a “Field of Blood” even until the time of his writing, this day, indicating an interval between this incident and the writing about it