21:1 Jesus 1 looked up 2 and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box. 3 21:2 He also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 4 21:3 He 5 said, “I tell you the truth, 6 this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 7 21:4 For they all offered their gifts out of their wealth. 8 But she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had to live on.” 9
[21:1] 3 tn On the term γαζοφυλάκιον (gazofulakion), often translated “treasury,” see BDAG 186 s.v., which states, “For Mk 12:41, 43; Lk 21:1 the mng. contribution box or receptacle is attractive. Acc. to Mishnah, Shekalim 6, 5 there were in the temple 13 such receptacles in the form of trumpets. But even in these passages the general sense of ‘treasury’ is prob., for the contributions would go [into] the treasury via the receptacles.” Based upon the extra-biblical evidence (see sn following), however, the translation opts to refer to the actual receptacles and not the treasury itself.
[21:1] sn The offering box probably refers to the receptacles in the temple forecourt by the Court of Women used to collect freewill offerings. These are mentioned by Josephus, J. W. 5.5.2 (5.200), 6.5.2 (6.282); Ant. 19.6.1 (19.294); and in 1 Macc 14:49 and 2 Macc 3:6, 24, 28, 40 (see also Mark 12:41; John 8:20).
[21:2] 4 sn These two small copper coins were lepta (sing. “lepton”), the smallest and least valuable coins in circulation in Palestine, worth one-half of a quadrans or 1/128 of a denarius, or about six minutes of an average daily wage. This was next to nothing in value.