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INTRODUCTION. The parable of the lost coin forms a pair with the parable of the lost
sheep, and they both have the same general meaning. A woman who had ten silver coins lost one of the coins in her house. She lit a lamp and swept until she found it, then she called her neighbors to rejoice with her. The lost coin like the lost sheep represents the lost sinner. However, unlike the lost sheep that wanders and strays by itself, the coin was lost because someone lost it. It is tragic when one sins, but it is even worse when one causes another to sin. In addition, the sheep knows when it is lost, but the coin did not know it was lost just as some people are unaware of their lost condition. In both parables there is great joy and rejoicing in heaven over the repentance of one lost sinner. Houses of the poor class in Palestine generally had just one or two rooms and the space was shared with the animals. Some houses were constructed without windows, but others had a small opening near the ceiling for ventilation. Consequently, the houses were dark. The floors might be packed dirt covered with reeds and rushes. Others were made of large stones with sizable cracks between them.
The coin in the parable was the Greek drachma which was nearly equal to the Roman
denarius, worth about seventeen cents and equal to one day's wage. If the coin was part of the household treasury, its loss would be a large financial hardship. More likely, the coin was part of a necklace or headdress worn by a Jewish woman and part of her dowry. The item was the sign of a married woman and equivalent to our modern wedding ring. Losing one of the pieces of this ornament would, therefore, cause dismay and worry because the sentimental value would be as great as the monetary value.