|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:1-6 It is no new thing for those whom Christ loves, to be sick; bodily distempers correct the corruption, and try the graces of God's people. He came not to preserve his people from these afflictions, but to save them from their sins, and from the wrath to come; however, it behoves us to apply to Him in behalf of our friends and relatives when sick and afflicted. Let this reconcile us to the darkest dealings of Providence, that they are all for the glory of God: sickness, loss, disappointment, are so; and if God be glorified, we ought to be satisfied. Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. The families are greatly favoured in which love and peace abound; but those are most happy whom Jesus loves, and by whom he is beloved. Alas, that this should seldom be the case with every person, even in small families. God has gracious intentions, even when he seems to delay. When the work of deliverance, temporal or spiritual, public or personal, is delayed, it does but stay for the right time.
Verse 2. - Now it was that Mary who anointed the Lord with perfume, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. The word μύρον is used of any aromatic balsam which is distilled from trees and herbs by itself. In classical Greek μύρον was used of costly ointments used by women. Ἐλαίον was the common oil used by men for purposes of health, which might be perfumed. Our Lord clearly draws a distinction between the ἐλαίον and μύρον in Luke 7:46. Ἀλείφω has been said to be used for the more superfluous anointings and χρίω for the sanitary anointing with oil. No trace of such distinction is found in the New Testament (cf. Mark 6:13 with James 5:14). One great distinction in biblical Greek is that χρίειν is used of religious anointings, from its association with Ξριστός, but ἀλείφειν in the LXX. is only twice used in this sense, while χρίειν is used times without number (Archbishop Trench, 'New Test. Syn.,' § 38.). The use of the term Κύριον, "Lord," shows that the story was widely known, and that when the Gospel was written it had passed into a commonplace of Christian experience and illustration. The anointing has not yet been referred to by John, but he is looking back upon the events and anticipates his own subsequent record.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment,.... Not the woman in Luke 7:37, as some have thought, whose name is not mentioned, and which history is not related by John at all: but Mary in John 12:3, who is both mentioned by name, and along with Lazarus her brother, and with whom all the circumstances of the affair suit; and though the fact was not yet done, yet John writing many years after it was done, and when it was well known, proleptically, and in a parenthesis, takes notice of it here:
and wiped his feet with her hair; instead of a napkin, after she had anointed them with oil; See Gill on Luke 7:37, See Gill on John 12:3.
Whose brother Lazarus was sick; this is observed, to show how well they were all acquainted with Christ, and affected to him.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, &c.—This, though not recorded by our Evangelist till Joh 12:3, was so well known in the teaching of all the churches, according to our Lord's prediction (Mt 26:13), that it is here alluded to by anticipation, as the most natural way of identifying her; and she is first named, though the younger, as the more distinguished of the two. She "anointed THE Lord," says the Evangelist—led doubtless to the use of this term here, as he was about to exhibit Him illustriously as the Lord of Life.
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