Widow’s Mite: devouring

Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, RavennaInjustice via God’s Name. 40 They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.

Perkins [682] notes that the charge that the scribes “devour the houses of widows” (v. 40) also seems more characteristic of prophetic charges against the rich than of a particular role played by scribes. Some interpreters have hypothesized that scribes might have acted as guardians for widows who lacked male relatives. Others suggest that they may have accepted hospitality from widows under the pretense of piety in order to support their tastes for wealth and power. When he sent them out to preach, Jesus prohibited his own disciples from accumulating wealth or moving from the first household to take them in (6:8–10). Jesus also constantly warned his own disciples against seeking honor rather than serving others (9:33–35; 10:42–45). Mark’s Roman/Gentile readers were not likely to have had dealings with scribes, but they could recognize the same characteristics among others. The wandering Cynic philosophers who frequented Greco-Roman cities often castigated other philosophers whose wealthy patrons provided luxurious clothes, sumptuous food, and social honor. Continue reading