Matthew 26:10
When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
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(10) Why trouble ye the woman?—The Greek is more emphatic, “Why are ye giving trouble?” St. Mark uses a word to describe their conduct which explains the verse. “They murmured against her,” or better, They were bitterly reproaching her. One after another of the murmurers uttered his bitter remonstrances.

She hath wrought a good work upon me.—The Greek adjective implies something more than “good”—a noble, an honourable work. The Lord Jesus, in His sympathy with all human affections, recognises the love that is lavish in its personal devotion as noble and excellent in itself. After His departure, as the teaching of Matthew 25:40 reminds us, the poor are His chosen representatives, and our offerings to Him are best made through them. How far the words sanction, as they are often urged as sanctioning, a lavish expenditure on the æsthetic element of worship, church architecture, ornamentation, and the like, is a question to which it may be well to find an answer. And the leading lines of thought are, (1) that if the motive be love, and not ostentation, He will recognise it, even if it is misdirected; (2) that so far as ostentation, or the wish to gratify our own taste and sense of beauty, enters into it, it is vitiated from the beginning; (3) that the wants of the poor have a prior claim before that gratification. On the other hand, we must remember (1) that the poor have spiritual wants as well as physical; (2) that all well-directed church-building and decoration minister to those wants, and, even in its accessories of form and colour, give to the poor a joy which is in itself an element of culture, and may minister to their religious life by making worship a delight. It is a work of charity thus to lighten up lives that are otherwise dull and dreary, and the true law to guide our conscience in such matters is to place our noblest churches in the districts where the people are the poorest.

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.Trouble ye the woman - That is, disturb her mind by insinuations, as if she had done wrong.

A good work on me - She has done it with a mind grateful, and full of love to me.

The work was good, also, as it was preparative for his death, Matthew 26:12.


Mt 26:1-16. Christ's Final Announcement of his Death, as Now within Two Days, and the Simultaneous Conspiracy of the Jewish Authorities to Compass It—The Anointing at Bethany—Judas Agrees with the Chief Priests to Betray His Lord. ( = Mr 14:1-11; Lu 22:1-6; Joh 12:1-11).

For the exposition, see on [1361]Mr 14:1-11.

See Poole on "Matthew 26:13".

When Jesus understood it,.... The indignation of his disciples at this action of the woman's; which he might know, as man, partly by their looks, and partly by their words; though without these, as God, he knew the secret indignation, and private resentment of their minds:

he said unto them, why trouble ye the woman? by blaming her, and censuring the action she had done; as it must, no doubt, greatly trouble her to meet with such treatment from the disciples of Christ: had any of the Pharisees blamed her conduct, it would have given her no pain or uneasiness; but that Christ's own disciples should show indignation at an action done by her from a sincere love to Christ, and to do honour to him, must cut her to the heart: and so it is when either ministers of the Gospel, or private believers, are blamed for their honest zeal in the cause of Christ, by any that profess to love him; this grieves them more than all the enemies of religion say or do unto them:

for she hath wrought a good work upon me; upon his body, by pouring the ointment on it: the Persic version reads it, "according to my mind": it was done, in the faith of him, as the Messiah; it sprung from real and sincere love to him, and was designed for his honour and glory; and so had the essentials of a good work in it. This is the first part of our Lord's defence of the woman: he goes on in the next verse.

{4} When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.

(4) We ought not to rashly condemn that which is not orderly done.

Matthew 26:10. Γνούς] Comp. Matthew 16:8. We may imagine what precedes to have been spoken among the disciples in a low murmuring tone.

κόπους παρέχειν, to give trouble, to cause annoyance. See Kypke, Obss. I. p. 130. Comp. πόνον παρέχειν (Herod, i. 177), and such like.

ἔργον γάρ, κ.τ.λ.] Justification of the disapproval implied in the foregoing question. καλόν, when used with ἔργον, is, according to ordinary usage, to be taken in an ethical sense; thus (comp. Matthew 5:16): an excellent deed, one that is morally beautiful, and not a piece of waste, as ye are stubborn enough to suppose. The disciples had allowed their estimate of the action to be determined by the principle of mere utility, and not by that of moral propriety, especially of love to Christ.

Matthew 26:10. γνοὺς, perceiving though not hearing. We have many mean thoughts we would be ashamed to speak plainly out.—τί κόπους παρέχετε, etc., why trouble ye the woman? a phrase not frequent in classic authors, though similar ones occur, and even this occasionally (vide Kypke); found not only here but in Luke 11:7; Luke 18:5, Galatians 6:17, the last place worthy to be associated with this; St. Paul and the heroine of Bethany kindred spirits, liable to “troubles” from the same sort of people and for similar reasons.—καλὸν, noble, heroic: a deed done under inspiration of uncalculating love.

10. When Jesus understood it] The murmurings had been whispered at first. St Mark says, “had indignation within themselves, and said, &c.”

a good work] Rather, a noble and beautiful work, denoting a delicate and refined, almost artistic, sense of the fitness of things, which was lacking to the blunter perception of the rest.

The Lord passes a higher commendation on this than on any other act recorded in the N.T.; it implied a faith that enabled Mary to see, as no else then did, the truth of the Kingdom. She saw that Jesus was still a King, though destined to die. The same thought—the certainty of the death of Jesus—that estranged Judas made her devotion more intense.

Matthew 26:10. Τί κόπους παρέχετε τῇ γυναικί, Why trouble ye the woman?) For it is a trouble to be doubtful in one’s conscience, not only concerning a thing to be done hereafter (see Romans 14:15), but also concerning a thing already done.—τῇ γυναικὶ, the woman) The disciples acted with incivility towards the Lord Himself; but this He finds less fault with than the annoyance given to the woman.—καλὸν, good) Although she was not herself aware that she had done so well. The simplicity of an action does not detract from its goodness.[1115] It was not waste with regard to the poor (Matthew 26:11) nor the disciples (Mark 14:7. middle of the verse), nor the woman (Matthew 26:13), nor the Lord Himself (Matthew 26:12).

[1115] For often an action is either worse or better than the agent himself had supposed; ch. Matthew 25:38; Matthew 25:44; Hebrews 13:2.—V. g.

Verse 10. - Understood it. Either their murmurs reached Christ's ears, or he divined their thoughts, and proceeded to defend Mary's action and to give a new lesson. Why trouble ye the woman? The disciples, observed Bengel, were really acting offensively to Jesus in thus censuring Mary; but he passes over this, and blames them only in respect of their conduct towards her. Doubtless, their remarks had reached Mary's ears, and annoyed and embarrassed her. For she hath wrought a good work upon (εἰς) me. A work that proved her zeal, reverence, and faith. Mary had always been devout, contemplative, loving. She had learned much at the grave of Lazarus; she was full of gratitude at the wonderful restoration of her brother's life; she had often heard Christ speak of his decease, and knew that it was close at ham], realizing that which the chosen apostles were still slow to believe; so she was minded to make this costly offering. And Christ saw her motive, and graciously accepted it. Matthew 26:10When Jesus understood it (γνοὺς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς)

The A. V. implies that some time elapsed before Jesus was aware of the disciples' complaint. But the statement is that Jesus perceived it at once. Rev., rightly, Jesus perceiving it.

Good work (καλὸν)

Lit., beautiful, but in a moral sense: an excellent, morally beautiful deed.

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