|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
26:6-13 The pouring ointment upon the head of Christ was a token of the highest respect. Where there is true love in the heart to Jesus Christ, nothing will be thought too good to bestow upon him. The more Christ's servants and their services are cavilled at, the more he manifests his acceptance. This act of faith and love was so remarkable, that it would be reported, as a memorial of Mary's faith and love, to all future ages, and in all places where the gospel should be preached. This prophecy is fulfilled.
Verses 6-13. - The anointing at Bethany. (Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8.) This parenthetical episode is introduced by the two synoptists out of its chronological order, with the view of indicating the immediate cause of Judas's resolution to betray his Master, the issue of which they proceed to narrate (see on ver. 14). This anointing must not be confounded with that related by St. Luke (Luke 7:37, etc.), where the scene, the time, and the actor were different, and the significance was of a very inferior nature. Verse 6. - When Jesus was in Bethany. St. John tells us that the incident took place six days before the Passover, i.e. on the Saturday preceding Palm Sunday. It is St. Matthew's custom to describe events not always in their historical sequence, but according to some logical or spiritual connection which in his mind overrides considerations of time or place. (For Bethany, see on Matthew 21:1.) Simon the leper. Not that he was a leper now, but either the appellation was hereditary, in reference to some such malady inflicted on his family, or he himself, having been cured by Christ, retained the name in memory of his cleansing. So St. Matthew is called "the publican" after he had relinquished his obnoxious business (Matthew 10:3), and the revived man is termed "the dead" (Luke 7:15). The frequency of the name Simon among the Jews rendered the addition of a surname expedient; thus we have Simon the Cananite, Simon the tanner, Simon Bar-john, etc. Nothing certain is known about this person. Tradition makes him father of Lazarus or husband of Martha. That he was connected with the holy family of Bethany, either by relationship or close friendship, seems to be well established.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now when Jesus was in Bethany,.... Which was about fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem, John 11:18, or about two miles from it. The time of Christ's death being at hand, he keeps nigh to Jerusalem, where he was to suffer and die, in the room and stead of sinners:
in the house of Simon the leper; so called, to distinguish him from others of the name. This epithet was either a family one, some person of note in it having been a leper; or else he is so named, because he himself had been one, but was now cured; though the reason interpreters give for this, that otherwise he would not have been suffered to live in a town, is not a good one; for lepers, according to the Jewish (b) canons, were only forbid Jerusalem, and towns and cities that were walled round, and not others, such as the village of Bethany. There were many lepers healed by Christ, which, among other things, was an evidence of his being the Messiah, and a proof of his deity, and this Simon was one of them; whether the same mention is made of in Matthew 8:1, is not certain, nor very probable; since that man lived in Galilee, at, or near Capernaum; this at Bethany, near Jerusalem: however, he was one of those lepers that had a sense of his mercy, and was grateful for it, as appears by his entertaining Christ at his house; and may teach us thankfulness to Christ, who has healed all our diseases; and particularly, the spreading leprosy of sin, with which all the powers and faculties of our souls were infected; and which was not in our own power, or any creature's, to cure, but his blood cleanses from it: and it may be observed, that Christ goes in and dwells with such whom he heals, and with such he is always welcome.
(b) Misn. Celim, c. 1. sect. 7. Maimon. Beth Hamikdash, c. 3. sect. 8.
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