Mark 12:41

New Testament

38 In his teaching Jesus also said, “Watch out for the experts in the law. They like walking around in long robes and elaborate greetings in the marketplaces, 39 and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ property, and as a show make long prayers. These men will receive a more severe punishment.” 41 Then he sat down opposite the offering box, and watched the crowd putting coins into it. Many rich people were throwing in large amounts. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. 43 He called his disciples and said to them, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others. 44 For they all gave out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in what she had to live on, everything she had.”

Dio Chrysostom Discourse 7


92 A poor man, if he be of strong character, finds the little that he has sufficient both to enable him to regain his health when his body has been attacked by an illness not too severe — when, for example, he is visited by the sort of malady that usually attacks hard-working people whenever they overeat — and also to give acceptable gifts to strangers when they come — gifts willingly given that do not arouse the recipient's suspicion or give him offence — 93 perhaps not silver bowls, or embroidered robes, or a four-horse chariot, which were the gifts of Helen and Menelaus to Telemachus. For the poor man would be unlikely to have such guests to welcome as satraps or kings, for instance, unless they were very temperate and good men in whose eyes no gift is inadequate which is prompted by affection. But guests that are dissolute and tyrannical they would neither be able, I suppose, to serve acceptably nor, perhaps, would they care to extend such hospitality. 94 For it surely did not turn out any better for Menelaus that he was able to receive the wealthiest prince of Asia as a guest and that nobody else in Sparta was equal to entertaining the son of King Priam.

 Notes and References

"... The sentiment expressed here was widely held in the Jewish and Greco-Roman world and is illustrated in the story of “the widow’s mite” in Mark 12:41–44. On the Jewish side, Tobit 4:8 is relevant: “Measure your alms by what you have; if you have much, give more; if you have little, do not be afraid to give less in alms.” The enlightened pagan moralist Dio Chrysostom thought along similar lines: “No gift is inadequate which is prompted by affection.” ..."

Gill, David W. J. & Hubbard, Moyer 1 and 2 Corinthians (p. 219) Zondervan, 2016

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