For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They did cast in of their abundance . . . she of her want.—The contrast between the two Greek words is somewhat stronger: They of their superfluity . . . she of her deficiency. We recognise the same standard of judgment, possibly even an allusive reference to our Lord’s language, in St. Paul’s praises of the churches of Macedonia, whose “deep poverty” had “abounded unto the riches of their liberality” (2Corinthians 8:1-2).
Even all her living.—This was not necessarily involved in the act itself, but the woman may have become known to our Lord in one of His previous visits to Jerusalem, or we may see in the statement an instance of His divine insight into the lives and characters of men, like that shown in the case of the woman of Samaria (John 4:18).
She of her want - Of her poverty.
All her living - All that she had to live on. She trusted in God to supply her wants, and devoted her little property entirely to him. From this passage we may learn:
1. That God is pleased with offerings made to him and his cause.
2. That it is our duty to devote our property to God. We received it from him, and we shall not employ it in a proper manner unless we feel that we are stewards, and ask of him what we shall do with it. Jesus approved the conduct of all who had given money to the treasury.
3. That the highest evidence of love to the cause of religion is not the "amount" given, but the amount compared with our means.
4. That it "may be" proper to give "all" our property to God, and to depend on his providence for the supply of our wants.
5. That God does not despise the humblest offering, if made in sincerity. He loves a cheerful giver.
6. That there are none who may not in this way show their love to the cause of religion. There are few, very few students in Sunday Schools who may not give as much to the cause of religion as this poor widow; and Jesus would be as ready to approve their offerings as he was hers: and the time to "begin" to be benevolent and to do good is in early life, in childhood.
7. That it is every man's duty to inquire, not how much he gives, but how much compared with what he has; how much self-denial he practices, and what is the "motive" with which it is done.
8. We may remark that few practice self-denial for the purpose of charity. Most give of their abundance - that is, what they can spare without feeling it, and many feel that this is the same as throwing it away. Among all the thousands who give to these objects, how few deny themselves of one comfort, even the least, that they may advance the kingdom of Christ!
See on Lu 21:1-4.See Poole on "Mark 12:41"
did cast in all that she had, even all her living; her whole substance, all that she had in the world; what was to have bought her food, for that day; she left herself nothing, but gave away all, and trusted to providence for immediate supply.For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Mark 12:44.—ἐκ τῆς ὑστερήσεως, from her state of want, cf. on Lk.—ὑστέρησις, here and in Php 4:11.—πάντα ὅσα: this not visible to the eye; divined by the mind, but firmly believed to be true, as appears from the repetition of the statement in another form.—ὅλον τὸν βίον, her whole means of life. For the use of βίος in this sense vide Luke 8:43; Luke 15:12; Luke 15:30; similarly in classics.
Though it has nothing to do with strict exegesis, I am tempted to give here a prayer by that felicitous interpreter and devout monk, Euthymius Zigabenus, based on this beautiful Gospel story: “May my soul become a widow casting out the devil to which it is joined and subject, and casting into the treasury of God two lepta, the body and the mind; the one made light (λεπτυνθέντα) by temperance, the other by humility”.44. of their abundance] i. e. of their superfluity, “of þat þing þat was plenteuous to hem.” Wyclif.
she of her want] “of hir myseste sente alle þingis þat she hadde, al hir lyflode,” Wyclif. Observe all the graphic touches in the account of the widow’s mite. (i) Our Lord was sitting over against the Treasury; (ii) He was watching the people casting in their contributions; (iii) He called to Him His disciples; and (iv) He points out to them the full meaning of her act of self-denial. After this incident in the “court of the women,” and apparently while the Saviour was still there, it came to pass, that two of the Apostles, Andrew and Philip, brought to Him the “inquiring Greeks,” who had desired to see Him (John 12:20-22). No sooner did He behold these “inquirers from the West,” than He broke forth into words of mysterious joy (John 12:24-26), and presentiments of His coming Passion (John 12:27-28); after which was heard the last of the Three Heavenly Voices, attesting the true dignity of His mission (John 12:28). And so with the clear prevision that He was about to be “lifted up” upon His Cross, and, if “lifted up,” would “draw all men unto Him” (John 12:32), He prepared to leave the Temple, which He was never to enter again. His public work was over. His last counsels, His final warnings, had been delivered.
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