The Oriental Setting of This Parable
Luke 15:8-10
Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, does not light a candle, and sweep the house…

The touches about lighting the candle (or better, lamp, or light), sweeping the house, and seeking diligently, and calling the friends and neighbours together, are not without some pertinent modern Oriental illustrations. Most of the native houses are without glass windows, and are very dark when shut up. Often the windows are small, and sometimes kept shut, as a rule depending on the door for light. They are dark places. The floor, too, is often earth, or perhaps mortar, and very dirty. Where animals dwell with the family, as is very common, the dirt is such as is best left to the imagination. In such cases the particulars mentioned in verse eight are by no means superfluous. So, too, the calling of the friends and neighbours together. One of the difficulties in picking up the Arabic language among the common people is the paucity of subjects of conversation. Little is to be heard except bargaining among the men, and accounts of the most ordinary household operations among the women — except in the case of some rather public scolds, whose voices, without a particle of exaggeration, sounds to the Occidental like the falling and rattling of boards. The occasion of losing and finding a piece of money would be a piece of great good fortune to the gossips, as the writer has actually witnessed. It would be an incident for a nine days' talk. And such terrible busybodies as they are I Every one knows, at least, all his or her neighbours' business, and more besides, to an extent not readily defined. The woman who loses and finds a piece of money would not be long in calling her friends and neighbours together; nor would they be slow to come even uninvited. The babel of telling the story and commenting and congratulating is not to be imagined in our land. The talk could be heard a long distance.

(Professor Isaac H. Hall.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?

WEB: Or what woman, if she had ten drachma coins, if she lost one drachma coin, wouldn't light a lamp, sweep the house, and seek diligently until she found it?

The Lost Silver Piece
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