Thursday, February 17, 2011

What is your worth?

Answer: 29 silver or less.

45A.23 ‘First,’ quoth the king, ’Tell mee in this stead,
With the crowne of gold vpon my head,
Amongst my nobilitye, with ioy and much mirth,
Within one pennye what I am worth.’
45A.24 Quoth the shepard, To make your grace noe offence,
I thinke you are worth nine and twenty pence;
For our Lord Iesus, that bought vs all,
For thirty pence was sold into thrall
Amongst the cursed Iewes, as I to you doe showe;
But I know Christ was one penye better then you.
45A.25 Then the king laught, and swore by St Andrew
He was not thought to bee of such a small value.

This excerpt comes from the ballad King John and the Bishop.
From Wikipedia:

King John is firstly described as a man who does great harm and little good. He has heard that the bishop (or abbot) of Canterbury is running a very efficient household. On visiting Canterbury, he demands an answer to three questions: -
a. How long do I travel in a day?
b. How much money am I worth?
c. what am I thinking?
The bishop of Canterbury replies that these are hard questions. It will take him three days to find some replies. If he fails to arrive at the rights answers, King John will then execute the bishop. On his travels, the bishop meets a shepherd (or his own brother), and explains his dilemma. The shepherd says, "Lend me your clothes, I will deliver the correct answers for you". The disguised shepherd then meets King John. His answers are:
a. You rise in the morning with the sun. It travels all round in the sky till the following morning, when it is back where it started. That's how far you travel.
b. Judas sold Christ for thirty pieces of silver. You are worth almost as much as Christ. You are worth 29 pieces of silver.
c. You are thinking I am the bishop of Canterbury. In fact I am a shepherd in disguise.

FFoB 21: 30 pieces of silver coins for Jesus is only mentioned in Matthew. It is likely a reference to Zechariah 11:12 or Exodus 21:32. In Exodus, it is the price of a slave. In Zechariah, it is a sarcastic dismissal of a "considerable amount of money".

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