Mk 12:41-44  And Jesus having sat down over-against the treasury, was beholding how the multitude do put brass into the treasury, and many rich were putting in much, 42 and having come, a poor widow did put in two mites (lepta), which are a farthing [kodrantes]. 43 And having called near his disciples, he saith to them, “Verily I say to you, that this poor widow hath put in more than all those putting into the treasury; 44 for all, out of their abundance, put in, but she, out of her want, all that she had put in — all her living.” (NLT)

Previously I blogged on a Constantine I coin that was given to me. Now, I’ve been given a mite (also known as a lepton).  A mite was the smallest coin with the smallest monetary worth. It was worth half a quadrans. A quadrans was worth 1/64 of a denarius, which was a day’s wage, so a mite was worth 1/128 of a denarius.  In other words, this is what the average person would make for six minutes worth of work (assuming a 12 hour work day). How much was a mite worth, then? By today’s standards, it would be worth ~$0.56 (assuming a $6 per hour rate for 12 hours). Two mites, then, was little more than a dollar by today’s standards.  It is strange, then, that so many translations render Mk 12:41 as “penny,” “cent,” “less than a penny,” or something similar. The 2011 NIV and CEV are closest when they translate it as a few cents/pennies, but even this is severely undervalued. Whatever it may be worth, here is a picture of my mite:

Front of mite

Back of Mite