Parable of the Lost Coin

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In this parable, a woman sweeps her dark house looking for a lost coin (engraving by John Everett Millais).

The Parable of the Lost Coin is one of the parables of Jesus. It appears in only one of the Canonical gospels of the New Testament. According to Luke 15:8-10, a woman searches for a lost coin. It is a member of a trilogy on redemption that Jesus tells after the Pharisees and religious leaders accuse him of welcoming and eating with "sinners."[1] The other two are the Parable of the Lost Sheep, and the Parable of the Lost Son or Prodigal Son.

Narrative[edit]

As recounted in Luke 15, a woman with ten silver coins (Greek drachmae) loses one. She then lights an oil lamp and sweeps her house until she finds it, rejoicing when she does:

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? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the drachma which I had lost.' Even so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner repenting."

— Luke 15:8–10, World English Bible

On finding the lost coin, the woman shares her joy with her neighbors (etching by Jan Luyken).

Interpretation[edit]

Joel B. Green notes that the woman described is a poor peasant, and the ten silver coins, corresponding to ten days wages, "likely represent the family savings."[2] The coins may also have been the woman's dowry, worn as an ornament.[3][4] Both theories may be true, and either one explains the urgency of the woman's search, and the extent of her joy when the missing coin is found.

Like the parable of the Ten Virgins, this is a parable about women which immediately follows, and makes the same point as, a preceding parable about men.[5] In the Greek, the "friends and neighbors" are female.[6]

Green suggests that the invitation to the "friends and neighbors" may reflect a celebratory meal, which recalls the meals Jesus is accused of sharing with "sinners."[2] The woman's diligent activity in searching may symbolise either Jesus' own activity or that of God the Father.[3] The rejoicing of the angels is understood to be rejoicing along with God.[4]

Depictions[edit]

This parable has been depicted by several artists, including John Everett Millais, Jan Luyken, Domenico Fetti, and James Tissot.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]