This Widow’s Mite or coin is the lowest value used in the second temple period, and one of the most well know coins from New Testament scripture.
This small bronze coin was made famous in Jesus’ parable of the Widow’s Offering (Mark 12, Luke 21). In this story, the widow gives an offering of only two small coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Yet Jesus valued her offering greater than all the others because she gave everything she had.
This coin was first minted by Alexander Jannaeus (76-103 B.C.), and was mass-produced in Jerusalem. The front contains a star design with the paleo-Hebrew characters of Jehonatan (Alexander Jannaeus’ Hebrew name) between the rays.
The back contains an anchor as a symbol of naval strength after conquering the philistine coastal cities. The Greek inscription reading, “King Alexander.” These small coins were in circulation for a long duration, and were used as small change in the first century A.D.
Coins of Jesus Time
It is the smallest coin in use during Jesus’ time. Therefore known as the “Widow’s Mite” from this New Testament parable. Although this coin is small and unimpressive, it is a constant reminder of Jesus’ message. The message that God values the heart and sacrifice of a person, not the outward standards of people.
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” (Luke 21:1-4)
Zak’s Antiquities shop established in 1964 is located on the Christian Quarter road of the Old City in Jerusalem.
You are invited to visit Zak and feel the bustling surrounding his store. Come and enjoy a cup of tea and chat about the vast range of antiquity. His knowledge of antiquity and New Testament coins from Israel shall fascinate you.