Mark 14:3
Parallel Verses
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.

New Living Translation
Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.

English Standard Version
And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.

New American Standard Bible
While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over 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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
While He was in Bethany at the house of Simon who had a serious skin disease, as He was reclining at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of pure and expensive fragrant oil of nard. She broke the jar and poured it on His head.

International Standard Version
While Jesus was in Bethany sitting at the table in the home of Simon the leper, a woman arrived with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume made from pure nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

NET Bible
Now while Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, reclining at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of costly aromatic oil from pure nard. After breaking open the jar, she poured it on his head.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And while he was in Bethany in the House of Shimeon the Potter, as he was reclining, a woman came who had with her an alabaster vase of ointment of the best spikenard, very expensive, and she opened it and poured it on Yeshua's head.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had suffered from a skin disease. While Jesus was sitting there, a woman went to him. She had a bottle of very expensive perfume made from pure nard. She opened the bottle and poured the perfume on his head.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And he being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, sitting at the table, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and breaking the alabaster, she poured it over his head.

King James 2000 Bible
And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at table, there came a woman having an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard very precious; and she broke the flask, and poured it on his head.

American King James Version
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 broke the box, and poured it on his head.

American Standard Version
And while he was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster cruse of ointment of pure nard very costly; and'she brake the cruse, and poured it over his head.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And when he was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper, and was at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of precious spikenard: and breaking the alabaster box, she poured it out upon 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.

English Revised Version
And while he was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster cruse of ointment of spikenard very costly; and she brake the cruse, and poured it over his head.

Webster's Bible Translation
And being in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at table, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard, very precious; and she broke the box, and poured it on his head.

Weymouth New Testament
Now when He was at Bethany, in the house of Simon the Leper, while He was at table, there came a woman with a jar of pure, sweet-scented ointment very costly: she broke the jar and poured the ointment over 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;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

14:1-11 Did Christ pour out his soul unto death for us, and shall we think any thing too precious for him? Do we give him the precious ointment of our best affections? Let us love him with all the heart, though it is common for zeal and affection to be misunderstood and blamed; and remember that charity to the poor will not excuse any from particular acts of piety to the Lord Jesus. Christ commended this woman's pious attention to the notice of believers in all ages. Those who honour Christ he will honour. Covetousness was Judas' master lust, and that betrayed him to the sin of betraying his Master; the devil suited his temptation to that, and so conquered him. And see what wicked contrivances many have in their sinful pursuits; but what appears to forward their plans, will prove curses in the end.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 3. - And while he was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster cruse (ἀλάβαστρον) - literally, an alabaster; as we say, "a glass," of a vessel made of glass - of ointment of spikenard very costly (μύρου νάρδου πιστικῆς πολυτελοῦς); and she brake the cruse, and poured it over his head. This anointing of our Lord appears to have taken place on the Saturday before Palm Sunday (see John 12:1). The anointing mentioned by St. Luke (Luke 7:36) evidently has reference to some previous occasion. The narrative here and in St. Matthew and St. John would lead us to the conclusion that this was a feast given by Simon - perhaps in grateful acknowledgment of the miracle which had been wrought upon Lazarus. He is called "Simon the leper," probably because he had been a leper, and had been healed by Christ, although he still retained the name of "leper," to distinguish him from others named Simon, or Simeon, a common name amongst the Jews. There came a woman. This woman, we learn from St. John (John 12:2, 3), was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. The vessel, or cruse, which she had with her was made of alabaster, a kind of soft, smooth marble, which could easily be scooped out so as to form a receptacle for ointment, which, according to Pliny ('Nat. Hist.,' 13:3), was best preserved in vessels made of alabaster. The vessel would probably be formed with a long narrow neck, which could easily be broken, or crushed (the word in the original is συντρίψασα so as to allow of a free escape for the unguent. The ointment was made of spikenard νάρδου πιστικῆς). The Vulgate has nardi spicati. If this is the true interpretation of the word πιστικῆς, it would mean that this ointment was made from a bearded plant mentioned by Pliny ('Nat. Hist.,' 12:12), who says that the ointment made from this plant was most precious. The plant was called by Galen "nardi spica." Hence πιστικῆν it would mean "genuine" ointment - ointment made from the flowers of the choicest kind of plant, pliny ('Nat. Hist.,' 12:26) says that there was an inferior article in circulation, which he calls "pseudo-nard." The Syriac Peshito Version uses an expression which means the principal, or best kind of ointment. The anointing of the head would be the more usual mark of honor. It would seem most probable that Mary first wiped the feet of Jesus, wetting them with her tears, and then wiping off the dust, and then anointing them; and that she then proceeded to break the neck of the cruse, and to pour its whole contents on his head.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And being in Bethany,.... A place about two miles from Jerusalem, whither he retired after he had took his leave of the temple, and had predicted its destruction; a place he often went to, and from, the last week of his life; having some dear friends, and familiar acquaintance there, as Lazarus, and his two sisters, Martha and Mary, and the person next mentioned:

in the house of Simon the leper; so called because he had been one, and to distinguish him from Simon the Pharisee, and Simon Peter the apostle, and others; See Gill on Matthew 26:6;

as he sat at meat there came a woman; generally thought to be Mary Magdalene, or Mary the sister of Lazarus:

having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard; or "pure nard", unmixed and genuine; or liquid nard, which was drinkable, and so easy to be poured out; or Pistic nard, called so, either from "Pista", the name of a place from whence it was brought, or from "Pistaca", which, with the Rabbins, signifies "maste"; of which, among other things, this ointment was made. Moreover, ointment of nard was made both of the leaves of nard, and called foliate nard, and of the spikes of it, and called, as here, spikenard. Now ointment made of nard was, as Pliny says (w), the principal among ointments. The Syriac is, by him, said to be the best; this here is said to be

very precious, costly, and valuable:

and she brake the box. The Syriac and Ethiopic versions render it, "she opened it"; and the Persic version, "she opened the head", or "top of the bottle", or "vial":

and poured it on his head; on the head of Christ, as the same version presses it; See Gill on Matthew 26:7.

(w) Nat. Hist. l. 12. c. 12.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

3. And being in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman—It was "Mary," as we learn from Joh 12:3.

having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard—pure nard, a celebrated aromatic—(See So 1:12).

very precious—"very costly" (Joh 12:3).

and she brake the box, and poured it on his head—"and anointed," adds John (Joh 12:3), "the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment." The only use of this was to refresh and exhilarate—a grateful compliment in the East, amid 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.

Mark 14:3 Additional Commentaries
Context
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
3While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. 4But some were indignantly remarking to one another, "Why has this perfume been wasted?…
Cross References
Song of Solomon 1:12
While the king was at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance.

Matthew 21:17
And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

Matthew 26:6
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper,

Matthew 26:7
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.

Mark 14:2
"But not during the festival," they said, "or the people may riot."

Mark 14:4
Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume?

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.

John 12:1
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.

John 12:3
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.
Treasury of Scripture

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 broke the box, and poured it on his head.

being.

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

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

John 12:1-3 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus …

of ointment.

Songs 4:13,14 Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; …

Songs 5:5 I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, …

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

spikenard. or, pure nard, or liquid nard.

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