I tell you!
This poor widow
Has put in
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?
A poor widow
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?
“Jesus looked up.
He saw rich people
Putting their gifts
Into the treasury.”
Ἀναβλέψας δὲ εἶδεν τοὺς βάλλοντας εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον τὰ δῶρα αὐτῶν πλουσίους.
Luke indicated that Jesus looked up (Ἀναβλέψας δὲ). He saw (εἶδεν τοὺς) rich people (πλουσίους) putting, casting, or dropping their gifts into the treasury (βάλλοντας εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον τὰ δῶρα αὐτῶν). Only Mark, chapter 21:41, has something similar, but in a more expansive form, while Matthew did not mention this incident. Mark said that Jesus sat down opposite the treasury (Καὶ καθίσας κατέναντι τοῦ γαζοφυλακίου), that was a room in the Temple. This room probably had many large containers, probably twelve receptacles for the various Israelite tribes, to put gifts into. He watched how the crowds of people put money into the treasury containers (ἐθεώρει πῶς ὁ ὄχλος βάλλει χαλκὸν εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον). Many rich people put in large sums of money (καὶ πολλοὶ πλούσιοι ἔβαλλον πολλά). There is nothing extraordinary about rich people giving lots of money to the Temple treasury. This seemed normal enough. Do you contribute to religious organizations?
“Then Jesus called
He said to them.
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.
“King Antiochus was elated in spirit. He did not perceive that the Lord was angered for a little while because of the sins of those who dwelt in the city. This was the reason that the Lord was disregarding the holy place. But if it had not happened that they were involved in many sins, this man would have been flogged and turned back from his rash act as soon as he came forward. Remember what happened to Heliodorus, whom King Seleucus sent to inspect the treasury. But the Lord did not choose the nation for the sake of the holy place, but the place for the sake of the nation. Therefore the place itself shared in the misfortunes that befell the nation and afterward participated in its benefits. What was forsaken in the wrath of the Almighty was restored again in all its glory when the great Lord became reconciled.”
The Lord let King Antiochus IV succeed because of the sins of the people of Jerusalem. He could have had the king flogged, but the people of Jerusalem were so involved in sin. This is an attempt to explain why this Seleucid king got away with his actions, when the Lord was so severe with Heliodorus unde King Seleucus IV in chapter 3 of this work. This author reminded the people that the people were not chosen because of the place, but the reverse is true. The place was chosen for the people. The place of Jerusalem suffered the wrath of God for the sins of the people, but it would enjoy the glory of the people at its restoration. Clearly this biblical author was not afraid to express his opinion and belief.
“Many acts of sacrilege had been committed in the city by Lysimachus with the connivance of Menelaus. When the report of them had spread abroad, the populace gathered against Lysimachus because many of the gold vessels had already been stolen. The crowds were becoming aroused and filled with anger. Lysimachus armed about three thousand men. He launched an unjust attack, under the leadership of a certain Auranus, a man advanced in years and no less advanced in folly. But when the Jews became aware that Lysimachus was attacking them, some picked up stones, some blocks of wood, and others took handfuls of the ashes that were lying around. They threw them in wild confusion at Lysimachus and his men. As a result, they wounded many of them. They killed some. They put all the rest of them to flight. The temple robber himself they killed close by the treasury.”
Lysimachus was the brother of Menelaus who was the second in command to the high priesthood of Menelaus. He had stolen the golden vessels from the Temple and committed other acts of sacrilege. The Jerusalem crowds became aroused and filled with anger. Lysimachus decided to get about 3,000 people led by a foolish old man named Auranus to attack the crowds. The crowds fought back by heaving, stones, wood, and ashes. I am not so sure about the value of throwing ashes. Anyway, they wounded many and killed some of these 3,000 men including Lysimachus. The rest fled. Finally, they were rid of the Temple robbers.
“When Heliodorus arrived at the treasury with his bodyguard, then and there the Sovereign of spirits and of all authority caused so great a manifestation that all who had been so bold as to accompany him were astounded by the power of God. They became faint with terror. There appeared to them a magnificently caparisoned horse, with a rider of frightening mien. It rushed furiously at Heliodorus and struck at him with its front hoofs. Its rider was seen to have armor and weapons of gold. Two young men also appeared to him, remarkably strong, gloriously beautiful and splendidly dressed. They stood on each side of him and scourged him continuously, inflicting many blows on him. When he suddenly fell to the ground and deep darkness came over him, his men took him up. They put him on a stretcher and carried him away. This man who had just entered the aforesaid treasury, with a great retinue and his bodyguard, was now unable to help himself. They recognized clearly the sovereign power of God.”
When Heliodorus arrived at the Temple treasury with his bodyguards, he was met by a heavenly manifestation or apparition that showed the power of God. He became faint. Appearing to him was a horse and rider who kicked him. This golden armored rider had 2 other strong, beautifully dressed men to whip him on each side until he fell to the ground. Finally they took him away on a stretcher as he was unable to help himself. This was a show of strength of the sovereign God. To what extent they were real men or not, we do not know, but the effect was real on Heliodorus.
“They gave orders to inscribe this decree upon bronze tablets. It was to be put in a conspicuous place in the precincts of the sanctuary. They had to deposit copies of them in the treasury, so that Simon and his sons might have them.”
This decree of the authority of Simon was put on bronze tablets in a conspicuous place in the sanctuary. Copies of it were put into the treasury or the archive of the Temple so that it would be there forever. Thus there could be no complaint against the authority of Simon and his sons.
“When King Antiochus heard these reports, he was greatly angered. He sent for and gathered all the forces of his kingdom, a very strong army. He opened his coffers and gave a year’s pay to his forces. He ordered them to be ready for any need. Then he saw that the money in the treasury was exhausted. The revenues from the country were small because of the dissension and disaster that he had caused in the land by abolishing the laws that had existed from the earliest days. He feared that he might not have such funds as he had before for his expenses and for the gifts which he used to give more lavishly than preceding kings. He was greatly perplexed in mind. He determined to go to Persia. There he could collect the revenues from those regions and thus raise a large fund.”
The Seleucid Syrian King Antiochus IV got angry when he heard these reports about Judas Maccabeus. He wanted a strong army. Thus he paid all the people in the army for a full year so that they would be ready at any moment. However, he soon realized that he did not have as much money as he expected. The revenues were diminishing after he set in motion the new laws of unification that did away with all the local laws. There was a lot of dissension that led to this disaster. He decided that he would go to Persia and get some money from that region there.
“Then Haman said to King Artaxerxes.
‘There is a certain people scattered,
Among the other people in the provinces of your kingdom.
Their laws are different from those of every other people.
They do not keep the king’s laws.
It is not expedient for the king to tolerate them.
If it pleases the king,
Let it be decreed that they are to be destroyed.
I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the king’s treasure.’”
Haman went to the king with his plan. He never mentions the Jews by name here. Obviously, picking on a minority group is always a safe bet. Haman said these people were different from every other people, so let us get rid of them. Have you ever heard that before? Their laws are different so that they do not follow the king’s laws. He did not think that the king should tolerate them. However, the kings of Persia were in fact, very tolerant. They were not seeking a uniform standard for the 127 provinces. Now the kicker comes. If it pleased the king, send out a decree to have them destroyed. Haman, who apparently was rich, offered to pay 10,000 talents of silver, worth approximately $60,000,000.00 USA, to the king’s treasury. Was this a bribe or a gift? That is always difficult to determine.