|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.
Verse 9. - Might have been sold for much. According to St. John, Judas had accurately estimated the value of the ointment at 300 denarii, equal to about £9 of our money. When we remember that one denarius represented the daily wages of a labouring man (Matthew 20:2), we see that the cost was very large. Given to the poor. And this "much" given to the poor. But piety is not shown only in giving alms; the honour of God has a superior claim. And Mary was rich, and quite able to afford this offering without neglecting her almsgiving. "How often does charity serve as a cloak for covetousness! We must not neglect what we owe to Jesus Christ under pretence of what we owe his members. Men count as wasted what is expended in the outer worship of God, when they love neither God nor his worship. Jesus Christ authorizes it by accepting it at the very instant in which he was establishing religion by a worship the most spiritual and inward" (Quesnel).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For this ointment might have been sold for much,.... Mark says, "for more than three hundred pence", Mark 14:5, now if this is to be understood of Roman pence, each penny being seven pence half penny of our money, three hundred pence come to nine pounds, seven shillings, and six pence; but if it is to be understood of the penny of the sanctuary, which was one shilling and three pence, they come to just as much more: it might well be called very precious and costly ointment; and this was the reason of the disciples indignation, that so much cost and expense should be thrown away, as they thought, in such a manner, which might have been applied, in their opinion, to a better purpose. For had it been sold for its worth, so much might have been had for it,
and given to the poor; which was a very plausible objection to the action; and which they seem to have taken from Judas, who had made the same, on a like occasion, about four days before this, and he might instigate the disciples now: which shows what mischief an hypocrite may do in a church, and what influence he may have over good men to draw them into his measures, under the specious pretences of carefulness, frugality, and doing good to the poor. It seems our Lord inured his disciples to this good work of relieving the poor: they kept one common purse, and one of them, who was Judas, was appointed the bearer of it; whatever they collected, or was made a present to them, they put into this purse; out of which they were provided with the necessaries of life; and the rest expended on the poor.
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