Great offer on six authentic Widow’s Mite coins used in Jerusalem Jesus Time.
What we call the “Widow’s Mite” is actually a bronze lepta (small denomination) from the Hasmonean period. Minted under Alexander Jannaeus (103-76 B.C.). This is an interesting coin which on one side has a design of star with paleo-Hebrew characters. Set between the rays which spell out the Hebrew name of Alexander Jannaeus, Yehonatan.
On the other side, there is an anchor with a Greek inscription reading, “Alexander Jannaeus, the king” on the outside of the anchor. The symbol of the anchor was used to commemorate Alexander Jannaeus’ conquest of the coastal plain. Expanding the Hasmonean territory to the Mediterranean. The star was a common symbol in the Ancient Near East. It could refer to a number of ideas related to the heavens or counting the seasons.
The use of both paleo-Hebrew (ancient Hebrew used during the time of King David), and Greek indicates the society of the second century B.C.
This coin would please both the supporters of Hellenism and the conservatives who existed during this time. It is however, a very controversial coin. Before Alexander Jannaeus, the Hasmonean rulers only referred to themselves as the high priest on their coinage, not king. There is no doubt that taking on this title angered many of the conservative group. This could be why many of these coins were re-struck.
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)
So, why do we call this coin the “Widow’s Mite?” Unlike the silver coins of the day, which were re-minted each year, and for every new ruler, the small bronze coins were reused during later periods. These coins were massed produced in the Hasmonean period throughout Israel. Found in later excavations, including the first century (time of Jesus). We know that these coins were used as the small change during Jesus’ time, which makes this coin the most likely candidate for Jesus’ parable of the widow’s offering in Luke 21. This faceless, unimpressive Jewish coin was all the widow had. That is what makes this such a great illustration of Jesus’ teaching.
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Zak’s Antiquities is the website of Zak’s fine art and antiquities. Located on the Christian Quarter road in Jerusalem’s Old City. The shop began in 1964 and has remained as a family owned and operated business till this day. For the past 50 years Zak’s Antiquities has sold ancient coins, antiquities and art authentic to Israel and Jerusalem.