New International Version
While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
King James Bible
And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.
Darby Bible Translation
And when he was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, as he lay at table, there came a woman having an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly; and having broken the alabaster flask, she poured it out upon his head.
World English Bible
While he was at Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster jar of ointment of pure nard--very costly. She broke the jar, and poured it over his head.
Young's Literal Translation
And he, being in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, at his reclining (at meat), there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment, of spikenard, very precious, and having broken the alabaster box, did pour on his head;
Mark 14:3 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
Alabaster box - Among critics and learned men there are various conjectures concerning the alabaster mentioned by the evangelists: some think it means a glass phial; others, that it signifies a small vessel without a handle, from α negative and λαβη, a handle; and others imagine that it merely signifies a perfume or essence bottle. There are several species of the soft calcareous stone called alabaster, which are enumerated and described in different chemical works.
Spikenard - Or nard. An Indian plant, whose root is very small and slender. It puts forth a long and small stalk, and has several ears or spikes even with the ground, which has given it the name of spikenard: the taste is bitter, acrid, and aromatic, and the smell agreeable. Calmet.
Very precious - Or rather, unadulterated: this I think is the proper meaning of πιστικης. Theophylact gives this interpretation of the passage: "Unadulterated hard, and prepared with fidelity." Some think that πιστικη is a contraction of the Latin spicatae, and that it signifies the spicated nard, or what we commonly call the spikenard. But Dr. Lightfoot gives a different interpretation. Πιστικη he supposes to come from the Syriac פיסתקא pistike, which signifies the acorn: he would therefore have it to signify an aromatic confection of nard, maste, or myrobalane. See his Hebrew and Talmudical Exercitations; and see Scheuchzer's Physica Sacra.
She brake the box - Rather, she broke the seal. This is the best translation I can give of the place; and I give it for these reasons:
1. That it is not likely that a box exceedingly precious in itself should be broken to get out its contents.
2. That the broken pieces would be very inconvenient if not injurious to the head of our Lord, and to the hands of the woman.
3. That it would not be easy effectually to separate the oil from the broken pieces. And,
4. That it was a custom in the eastern countries to seal the bottles with wax that held the perfumes; so that to come at their contents no more was necessary than to break the seal, which this woman appears to have done; and when the seal was thus broken, she had no more to do than to pour out the liquid ointment, which she could not have done had she broken the bottle.
The bottles which contain the gul i attyr, or attyr of roses, which come from the east, are sealed in this manner. See a number of proofs relative to this point in Harmer's Observations, vol. iv. 469. Pouring sweet-scented oil on the head is common in Bengal. At the close of the festival of the goddess Doorga, the Hindoos worship the unmarried daughters of Brahmins: and, among other ceremonies, pour sweet-scented oil on their heads. Ward's Customs.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
spikenard. or, pure nard, or liquid nard.
LibraryJuly 28 Evening
Let your requests be made known unto God.--PHIL. 4:6. Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.--There was given to me a thorn in the flesh. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities. I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed …
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Song of Solomon 1:12
While the king was at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance.
And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper,
a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
"But not during the festival," they said, "or the people may riot."
Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume?
A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.
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