Did You Know?
How much were the widow’s two coins worth?
In the first century C.E., the annual temple tax paid by the Jews was “two drachmas,” worth about two days’ wages. (Matthew 17:24) By contrast, Jesus said that two sparrows sold “for a coin of small value,” the equivalent of 45 minutes’ wages. In fact, five sparrows could be obtained for double this price, or the wages for about 90 minutes’ work.
The temple contribution made by the needy widow whom Jesus observed was worth far less than that. These two coins, or two lepta, were the smallest copper coins used in Israel at that time. They were the equivalent of a mere 1⁄64 of a day’s wages, or less than 12 minutes’ wages if based on an average workday of 12 hours.
Jesus Christ valued the widow’s gift as being greater than that of all those who had donated more “out of their surplus.” Why? The account mentions that she had “two small coins,” so she could have contributed one and kept the other for herself. Yet, she gave “all of what she had, her whole living.”
When did Saul become known as Paul?
The apostle Paul was born a Hebrew with Roman citizenship. (Acts 22:27, 28; Philippians 3:5) So it is likely that from childhood he had both the Hebrew name Saul and the Roman name Paul. Some of Paul’s relatives likewise had Roman and Greek names. (Romans 16:7, 21) Additionally, it was not unusual for Jews of that time, particularly among those living outside Israel, to have two names.
For over a decade after becoming a Christian, this apostle seemed to have been known mostly by his Hebrew name, Saul. (Acts 13:1, 2) However, on his first missionary journey, about 47/48 C.E., he might have preferred to use his Roman name, Paul. He was commissioned to declare the good news to non-Jews, and he might have felt that his Roman name would be more acceptable. (Acts 9:15; 13:9; Galatians 2:7, 8) He may also have used the name Paul because the Greek pronunciation of his Hebrew name, Saul, is very similar to that of a Greek word that has a bad connotation. Whatever the reason for the change, Paul showed that he was willing to “become all things to people of all sorts, that [he] might by all means save some.”
[Picture on page 12]
A lepton, shown actual size