Robbery in Progress
by Ronald W Robey
Often, when discussing the topic of the widow’s mite, many state that Jesus was commending the widow for her “generosity” as compared to the rich who only cast in little.
I do not believe “generosity” was a part of the picture that day. Let’s examine the account, shall we?
Just the day before, Jesus had visited the Temple and had delivered a scathing rebuke to the scribes. Among the many charges He levied against them, He said they had made the Temple a “den of thieves”. (Mark 11:17)
He leaves the Temple, and returns the following day, exposing more wrongs the scribes and Pharisees are guilty of. This day, Jesus says the scribes are “robbing widow’s houses”. (Mark 12:40)
Then, he sits against a wall facing the treasury box.
It is no coincidence that a poor widow came into the Temple after Jesus had stated that widow’s houses were being robbed.
What did this poor widow do?
She threw the last bit of money she had to live on into the treasury box… a box governed by people who “rob widow’s houses”. A box in a building that had become “a den of thieves”.
If you look up the Greek behind the word “threw” in Mark 12:42, you wills see that the word denotes an action of disgust, and of a degree of violence. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance compares the action to casting away dung, saying it is done with some degree of force. It doesn’t sound to me like the widow was “happily” giving that money into the Treasury.
Jesus knew that widow would be there that day. He finished His message of warning just in time for the widow to arrive.
The widow’s arrival was a demonstration to the crowd just how widows were being forced out of their homes… they were being forced to give all they had to the thieves that Jesus was warning the crowd of that day
This widow entered the den of thieves poor, and left even poorer… she was now destitute. For this reason, I believe Jesus subsequent statement to His Disciples, “this poor widow has given more than they all…” was not a statement commending the widow. I believe it was a statement of disgust and pity..
Jesus’ statement that the widow gave more was not praise for what she gave. Rather, it was a statement of pity for a widow who had just been robbed; a woman who had just given everything to thieves. It was also a statement of disgust brought on by the obvious neglect of care for widows.
She came into the Temple poor, and left the Temple destitute
The context of the story reveals that the crowd was not witnessing a widow giving with a cheerful heart,… they were watching a robbery in progress!