John 12:3
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

New Living Translation
Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus' feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.

English Standard Version
Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

New American Standard Bible
Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

King James Bible
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then Mary took a pound of fragrant oil--pure and expensive nard--anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped His feet with her hair. So the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

International Standard Version
Mary took a litron of very expensive perfume made of pure nard and anointed Jesus' feet. She wiped his feet with her hair, and the house became filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

NET Bible
Then Mary took three quarters of a pound of expensive aromatic oil from pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus. She then wiped his feet dry with her hair. (Now the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfumed oil.)

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But Maryam took an alabaster vase of ointment of the best Indian spikenard, very expensive, and she anointed the feet of Yeshua and wiped his feet with her hair and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Mary took a bottle of very expensive perfume made from pure nard and poured it on Jesus' feet. Then she dried his feet with her hair. The fragrance of the perfume filled the house.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Then Mary took a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

King James 2000 Bible
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.

American King James Version
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.

American Standard Version
Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of pure nard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

Darby Bible Translation
Mary therefore, having taken a pound of ointment of pure nard of great price, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair, and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

English Revised Version
Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of spikenard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

Webster's Bible Translation
Then Mary took a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.

Weymouth New Testament
Availing herself of the opportunity, Mary took a pound weight of pure spikenard, very costly, and poured it over His feet, and wiped His feet with her hair, so that the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

World English Bible
Mary, therefore, took a pound of ointment of pure nard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.

Young's Literal Translation
Mary, therefore, having taken a pound of ointment of spikenard, of great price, anointed the feet of Jesus and did wipe with her hair his feet, and the house was filled from the fragrance of the ointment.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

12:1-11 Christ had formerly blamed Martha for being troubled with much serving. But she did not leave off serving, as some, who when found fault with for going too far in one way, peevishly run too far another way; she still served, but within hearing of Christ's gracious words. Mary gave a token of love to Christ, who had given real tokens of his love to her and her family. God's Anointed should be our Anointed. Has God poured on him the oil of gladness above his fellows, let us pour on him the ointment of our best affections. In Judas a foul sin is gilded over with a plausible pretence. We must not think that those do no acceptable service, who do it not in our way. The reigning love of money is heart-theft. The grace of Christ puts kind comments on pious words and actions, makes the best of what is amiss, and the most of what is good. Opportunities are to be improved; and those first and most vigorously, which are likely to be the shortest. To consult to hinder the further effect of the miracle, by putting Lazarus to death, is such wickedness, malice, and folly, as cannot be explained, except by the desperate enmity of the human heart against God. They resolved that the man should die whom the Lord had raised to life. The success of the gospel often makes wicked men so angry, that they speak and act as if they hoped to obtain a victory over the Almighty himself.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 3. - Mary therefore took a pound (the synoptists Matthew and Mark say "an alabaster," i.e. a flask made of the costly spar, which was peculiarly adapted to the preservation of liquid perfume, hermetically sealed before it was broken for immediate use. The fact, as stated by Matthew and Mark, is inconsistent with her reserving any of the precious fluid for another occasion) of ointment ("liquid perfume," sometimes added to the more ordinary oil), of pure (or possibly; pistie) nard. Mark uses this unusual word πιστικός, which belongs to later Greek. The derivation of πιστκτικός from πίνω, equivalent to "potable," is not appropriate in meaning, though this "nard" was used for perfuming wine. In Mark 14:3 also the Authorized Version translates it "spikenard," as it does here (cf. also Song of Solomon 1:12 and Song 4:13, 14, where Hebrew נֵרְדְּ corresponds with νάρδος). But the one place where the word was supposed to be found in Aristotle is now seen not to be πισττικός, but πειστικός, trustworthy, or unadulterated. It is possible that the word may have had a local geographical value, belonging to some proper name, and is untranslatable. Very precious. Mark (Mark 14:3) uses the word πολυτελοῦς, and Matthew (Matthew 26:7) βαρυτίμου. John appears to combine the idea of both words in his πολυτίμον. Each of the synoptists severally mentions a fact which John omits - that Mary broke the alabaster box, and poured the costly unguent on his head in rich abundance, as though hers had been the royal or high-priestly anointing (cf. Psalm 133.); but John shows that this at least was not all she did. She anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. Thoma thinks that, conformably with John's idea, the anointing of the head of the true High Priest was the work of God alone, quoting Philo's comment on Leviticus 21:10, etc., "The head of the Logos, as High Priest, is anointed with oil, i.e. his innermost essence gleams with dazzling light;" and adds, that as the feet of the high priest were washed with water from recent defilement of the world's dust, so God's anointed Lamb and Priest was anointed on his feet with the spikenard of faith, the best and costliest thing that man could offer. So profound an analogy seems to us contrary to the simplicity of the narrative, which is perfectly natural in its form. The perfumed nard ran down to the Savior's feet and the skirts of his garments, and there accumulating, the significant act is further recounted how Mary wiped off the superfluous perfume from his feet with the tresses of her loosened hair. This simple act proclaimed the self-humiliation and adoration of her unbounded love, seeing that the loosening of a woman's hair was a mark of unusual self-abandonment, Many most unnecessary inferences have been drawn from this. John adds an interesting feature, revealing the sensitive eye-witness of the scene, "and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment;" and the whole house of God ever since has been fragrant with her immortal and prophetic act.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard very costly,.... Worth three hundred pence, according to Judas's estimation of it. This Mary was the other sister of Lazarus; See Gill on Matthew 26:7, See Gill on Mark 14:3, concerning the nature and value of this ointment:

and anointed the feet of Jesus; as he lay upon the bed or couch, at supper:

and wiped his feet with her hair; See Gill on Luke 7:38.

And the house was filled with the odour of the ointment; see Sol 1:3; ointment of spikenard was very odoriferous: this may be an emblem of the sweet savour of Christ, in the ministration of the Gospel, throughout the whole world.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

3. spikenard—or pure nard, a celebrated aromatic (So 1:12).

anointed the feet of Jesus—and "poured it on His head" (Mt 26:7; Mr 14:3). The only use of this was to refresh and exhilarate—a grateful compliment in the East, amidst the closeness of a heated atmosphere, with many guests at a feast. Such was the form in which Mary's love to Christ, at so much cost to herself, poured itself out.

John 12:3 Additional Commentaries
Context
Jesus Anointed by Mary
2So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. 3Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said,…
Cross References
Song of Solomon 1:3
Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the young women love you!

Song of Solomon 1:12
While the king was at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance.

Mark 14:3
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.

Luke 7:37
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.

Luke 10:39
She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.

Luke 10:42
but few things are needed--or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

John 11:2
(This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.)

John 19:39
He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.
Treasury of Scripture

Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.

took.

John 11:2,28,32 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped …

Matthew 26:6,7 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper…

Mark 14:3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat…

Luke 10:38,39 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village…

ointment.

Psalm 132:2 How he swore to the LORD, and vowed to the mighty God of Jacob;

Songs 1:12 While the king sits at his table, my spikenard sends forth the smell thereof.

Songs 4:10,13,14 How fair is your love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is your …

spikenard. Spikenard is a highly aromatic plant growing in India, whence was made a very valuable unguent or perfume, used at the ancient baths and feasts. It is identified by Sir W. Jones with the sumbul of the Persians and Arabs, and jatamansi of the Hindoos; and he considers it a species of the valerian, of the triandria monogynia class of plants. The root is from three to twelve inches long, fibrous, sending up above the earth between thirty and forty ears or spikes, from which it has its name; stem, lower part perennial, upper part herbaceous, sub-erect, simple, from six to twelve inches long; leaves entire, smooth, fourfold, the inner radical pair petioled and cordate, the rest sessile and lanceolate; pericarp, a single seed crowned with a pappus.

anointed.

Mark 14:3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat…

Luke 7:37,38,46 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew …

filled.

Songs 1:3 Because of the smell of your good ointments your name is as ointment …

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