"As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.
He also saw a poor widow put in her two mites. "Truly I tell you," he said, "this
poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts
out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." (Luke
The Christian lesson of the widow's mites, as relayed in Luke (21:1-4) and Mark
(12:41-44), is an enduring testament to the value of faith. A destitute widow has
only a few mites to her name, and those she gave selflessly as her donation to the
Temple. (Mites were ancient pennies, fairly worthless at the time). Jesus comments
that her modest gift was worth more than the ostentatious contributions of the
wealthy, for her mites represented all that she had. This virtuous woman had
demonstrated true Christian faith in God -- she could not know from where her
next meal would come, but she believed that He would provide for her.
"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things (food,
clothes, all material needs) will be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)
Widow's Mite Coin Descriptions
These bronze widows mite coins were not Roman coins but were in fact true
Judean coins that were minted during the inter-testamental period of Jewish
history when Israel was a self-governing nation. These coins were minted under
King and High Priest Alexander Jannaeus who ruled Israel from 103-76 B.C.
Leptons & Prutahs
There are two distinctive different yet similar coins referred to as “widow’s mites”.
These are the smaller lepton coins and the larger Prutah coins, both minted with
similar images and both minted under Alexander Jannaeus, King and High Priest
of Israel from 103-76 BC. So what is the difference between these two yet similar
The smaller lepton mites were scripturally speaking the coin used by the poor
widow referred to in scripture. The common word “mite” is the 1611 King James
Version translation for this famous coin. The original Greek used the widow’s mite
stories was the word lepton (?ept??). These leptons were the smallest and lowest
denomination coin that circulated in Jerusalem during Christ’s lifetime. These
coins were thin and were often carelessly and crudely struck, usually off center
and in small flans. Legends are generally unreadable. Actual size of these coins
were around 10-12 mm, sometime as small as a the size of a pencil eraser. The
value of the coins were based on combined weight with other coins and not on an
individual coin value. They are believed to be the coins that referred to in the
Biblical story of the poor widow.
Along with the small lepton was the larger prutah coin. Both the lepton and the
prutah had the images of the anchor on one side and the star or wheel image on
the other. These coins were often intermixed, the same as you will find pennies,
nickels, dimes and quarters intermixed today. When looking through hoard
quantities of these mites, one will usually find both prutahs and leptons
intermixed. So while the scripture references only the lepton, due to the
commonalities of these two coins, both coins today are usually and commonly
referred to as widow’s mites.
Bronze Lepton, Obverse, anchor with (or without) solid circle around the anchor.
Reverse eight ray star sometimes surrounded by writing inscriptions.
Bronze Prutah, Obverse BASILEWS ALEXANDROU (King Alexander) around
anchor; reverse eight ray star (or wheel) surrounded by diadem (solid circle,
sometimes looks like a wagon wheel), Hebrew inscription “Yehonatan the king”
between the rays.
The ANCHOR: The anchor was adopted from the Seleucids, who used it to
symbolize their naval strength. Anchors are depicted upside down, as they would
be seen hung on the side of a boat ready for use.
The STAR: The star symbolize heaven
Widow's Mite Scriptures
The widow’s mite coin, or “lepta” in Greek, as quoted below, is found in three
locations in the New Testament Gospels. The passages in Mark 12 and Luke 21
both tell the story of the poor widow who gave two mites, all she had. Luke 12 also
references the “very last mite” for how the judge will expect you to pay all you
owe, down to the smallest coin in your possession.
Christ used this little coin to teach dual messages: 1.Financially, these stories tell
us that whether we give willingly, or pay out of obligation, we are to be financially
responsible before both God and man.
2.Spiritually, the widow’s story teaches us to give from the heart. The judge story
teaches us that we are accountable for all of our deeds. Fortunately, since it is
impossible for us to repay our debts to God, our God through Jesus Christ is
willing to forgive us if we just ask him!
Mark 12:41-44 (The poor widow)
41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into
the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came
and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to
Himself and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in
more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of
their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole
Luke 21:1-4 (The poor widow)
1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. 2
And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. 3 And he said,
Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: 4 For
all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her
penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
Luke 12:58-59 (Paying the “last mite” )
58 When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way,
give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the
judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into
prison. 59 I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last
Widow's Mites Available Today
In Israel, quite a few of these coins have been found and are available for
purchase, either as the coins themselves, or mounted in jewelry.
Biblical Coins from the time of Jesus Christ ~ Mark 12:41-44
All Orders Will Be Shipped On
The Same Or Next Business Day
The Story and Meaning
of the 2 Widow's Mites