John 12:7
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial.

King James Bible
Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.

American Standard Version
Jesus therefore said, Suffer her to keep it against the day of my burying.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Jesus therefore said: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of my burial.

English Revised Version
Jesus therefore said, Suffer her to keep it against the day of my burying.

Webster's Bible Translation
Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burial hath she kept this.

Weymouth New Testament
But Jesus interposed. "Do not blame her," He said, "allow her to have kept it for the time of my preparation for burial.

John 12:7 Parallel
Vincent's Word Studies

Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this (ἄφες αὐτήν εἰς τὴν ἡμέραν τοῦ ἐνταφιασμοῦ)

This passage presents great difficulty. According to the reading just given, the meaning is that Mary had kept the ointment, perhaps out of the store provided for Lazarus' burial, against the day of Christ's preparation for the tomb. The word ἐνταφιασμοῦ is wrongly rendered burial. It means the preparation for burial, the laying out, or embalmment. It is explained by John 19:40, as the binding in linen cloths with spices, "as the manner of the Jews is ἐνταφιάζειν to prepare for burial," not to bury. It is the Latin pollingere, to wash and prepare a corpse for the funeral pile. Hence the name of the servant to whom this duty was committed was pollinctor. He was a slave of the libitinarius, or furnishing undertaker. Mary, then, has kept the ointment in order to embalm Jesus with it on this day, as though He were already dead. This is the sense of the Synoptists. Matthew (Matthew 26:12) says, she did it with reference to my preparation for burial. Mark, she anticipated to anoint.

The reading of the Received Text is, however, disputed. The best textual critics agree that the perfect, τετήρηκεν, she hath kept, was substituted for the original reading τηρήσῃ, the aorist, she may keep, or may have kept, by some one who was trying to bring the text into harmony with Mark 14:8; not understanding how she could keep for His burial that which she poured out now. Some, however, urge the exact contrary, namely, that the perfect is the original reading, and that the aorist is a correction by critics who were occupied with the notion that no man is embalmed before his death, or who failed to see how the ointment could have been kept already, as it might naturally be supposed to have been just purchased. (So Godet and Field.)

According to the corrected reading, ἵνα, in order that, is inserted after ἄφες αὐτὴν, let her alone, or suffer her; τετήρηκεν, hath kept, is changed to τηρήσῃ, may keep, and the whole is rendered, suffer her to keep it against the day of my burying. So Rev.

But it is difficult to see why Christ should desire to have kept for His embalmment what had already been poured out upon Him. Some, as Meyer, assume that only a part of the ointment was poured out, and refer αὐτό, it, to the part remaining. "Let her alone, that she may not give away to the poor this ointment, of which she has just used a portion for the anointing of my feet, but preserve it for the day of my embalmming." Canon Westcott inclines to this view of the use of only a part. But the inference from the synoptic narratives can be only that the whole contents of the flask were used, and the mention of the pound by John, and the charge of waste are to the same effect. There is nothing whatever to warrant a contrary supposition.

Others explain, suffer her to have kept it, or suffer that she may have kept it. So Westcott, who says: "The idiom by which a speaker throws himself into the past, and regards what is done as still a purpose, is common to all languages."

Others, again, retain the meaning let her alone, and render ἵνα, in order that, with an ellipsis, thus: "Let her alone: (she hath not sold her treasure) in order that she might keep it," etc.

The old rendering, as A.V., is the simplest, and gives a perfectly intelligible and consistent sense. If, however, this must be rejected, it seems, on the whole, best to adopt the marginal reading of the Rev., with the elliptical ἵνα: let her alone: it was that she might keep it. This preserves the prohibitory force of ἄφες αὐτήν, which is implied in Matthew 26:10, and is unquestionable in Mark 14:6. Compare Matthew 15:14; Matthew 19:14; Matthew 27:49.

Note that the promise of the future repute of this act (Matthew 26:13; Mark 14:9) is omitted by the only Evangelist who records Mary's name in connection with it.

John 12:7 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Psalm 109:31 For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul.

Zechariah 3:2 And the LORD said to Satan, The LORD rebuke you, O Satan; even the LORD that has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you...

Matthew 26:10 When Jesus understood it, he said to them, Why trouble you the woman? for she has worked a good work on me.

Mark 14:6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble you her? she has worked a good work on me.


John 19:38-42 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews...

Matthew 26:12 For in that she has poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.

Matthew 27:57-60 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple...

Mark 15:42-47 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath...

Luke 23:50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counselor; and he was a good man, and a just:

Cross References
Matthew 26:12
In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial.

John 19:40
So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.

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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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