|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:36-50 None can truly perceive how precious Christ is, and the glory of the gospel, except the broken-hearted. But while they feel they cannot enough express self-abhorrence on account of sin, and admiration of his mercy, the self-sufficient will be disgusted, because the gospel encourages such repenting sinners. The Pharisee, instead of rejoicing in the tokens of the woman's repentance, confined his thoughts to her former bad character. But without free forgiveness none of us can escape the wrath to come; this our gracious Saviour has purchased with his blood, that he may freely bestow it on every one that believes in him. Christ, by a parable, forced Simon to acknowledge that the greater sinner this woman had been, the greater love she ought to show to Him when her sins were pardoned. Learn here, that sin is a debt; and all are sinners, are debtors to Almighty God. Some sinners are greater debtors; but whether our debt be more or less, it is more than we are able to pay. God is ready to forgive; and his Son having purchased pardon for those who believe in him, his gospel promises it to them, and his Spirit seals it to repenting sinners, and gives them the comfort. Let us keep far from the proud spirit of the Pharisee, simply depending upon and rejoicing in Christ alone, and so be prepared to obey him more zealously, and more strongly to recommend him unto all around us. The more we express our sorrow for sin, and our love to Christ, the clearer evidence we have of the forgiveness of our sins. What a wonderful change does grace make upon a sinner's heart and life, as well as upon his state before God, by the full remission of all his sins through faith in the Lord Jesus!
Verse 46. - My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. "It never entered thy thoughts to pay me the homage - and yet I had helped thee, too, a little - of pouring oil on my head" (this was by no means an unusual mark of respect in the case of an honoured guest; to one who, under the burning sun of Palestine, had walked, perhaps, some distance, this pouring oil over the head was a great comfort and refreshment); "but she hath anointed, not my head, she shrank, poor soul! from doing this; but my feet. And, too, it was no common oil which she used, but precious, fragrant ointment. A cold, loveless welcome, indeed, my Pharisee friend, was thine! Thou thinkest it honour enough the mere admitting the carpenter's Son to thy table; no need of these special tokens of friendship for thy Guest - the water for the feet, the kiss for the face, the oil for the head. It were a pity, surely, for the great world at Jerusalem to look on thee as the friend of the Nazareth Teacher, as on the one Pharisee who loved to honour the Galilaean Reformer."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Mine head with oil thou didst not anoint,.... No not with common oil, so usually done at feasts, see Psalm 23:5
but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment; even "with ointment" "of spices", as the Syriac version renders it. There is, throughout the whole account, an opposition between the conduct of Simon, and this woman: he gave him no common water to wash his feet with, she shed floods of tears, and with them bathed his feet, and then wiped them clean with the hairs of her head; he gave him not the usual salutation by kissing his head or lips, but she kissed his feet, and that over and over again; he did not so much as anoint his head with common oil, when she anointed his feet with costly ointment brought in an alabaster box. These several ceremonies to guests were used by their hosts, in other nations, such as washing, anointing, and kissing (c).
(c) Vid. Apuleii Metamorph. i. 1. prope finem.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
46. with oil … not anoint—even common olive oil in contrast with the woman's "ointment" or aromatic balsam. What evidence was thus afforded of any feeling which forgiveness prompts? Our Lord speaks this with delicate politeness, as if hurt at these inattentions of His host, which though not invariably shown to guests, were the customary marks of studied respect and regard. The inference is plain—only one of the debtors was really forgiven, though in the first instance, to give room for the play of withheld feelings, the forgiveness of both is supposed in the parable.
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