Matthew 26:8
But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?
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(8) When his disciples saw it.—There is a singular narrowing of the limits in the three narratives. St. Mark reports that “some had indignation;” St. John (John 12:4), as knowing who had whispered the first word of blame, fixes the uncharitable judgment on “Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son.” The narrow, covetous soul of the Traitor could see nothing in the lavish gift but a “waste” (literally, perdition) that was matter for reproach. There is something almost terribly suggestive in the fact that our Lord repeats the self-same word when He describes Judas as a “son of perdition” (John 17:12). He had wasted that which was more precious than the ointment of spikenard. He wondered that his Master should accept such an offering. His indignation, partly real, partly affected, was perhaps honestly shared by some of his fellow-disciples, probably by those of the third group, with whom he came most into contact, and of whom we may well think as having a less glowing love, and narrower sympathies than the others.

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.They had indignation - John says that "Judas expressed" indignation.

Probably some of the others felt indignation, but Judas only gave vent to his feelings. The reason why Judas was indignant was, that he had the "bag" John 12:6 - that is, the "purse," or repository of articles "given" to the disciples and to the Saviour. He was a thief, and was in the habit, it seems, of taking out and appropriating to his own use what was put in for them in common The leading trait of Judas's character was avarice, and no opportunity was suffered to pass without attempting by base and wicked means to make money. In his example an avaricious man may learn the true nature and the effect of that groveling and wicked passion. It led him to commit the enormous crime of betraying his Lord to death, and it will always lead its possessor to guilt. No small part of the sins of the world can be traced to avarice, and many, and many a time since the days of Judas has the Lord Jesus been betrayed among his professed friends by the same base propensity.

Is this waste - This "loss" or "destruction" of property. They could see no use in it, and they therefore supposed it was lost.


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". But when his disciples saw it,.... What the woman did, what a costly box of ointment it was, and with what profusion she used it,

they had indignation: Mark says, "within themselves", Mark 14:4; either among themselves, or their indignation was secret in their breasts; their resentment was private, though it might be betrayed by their looks, and afterwards showed itself in words. This indignation was either at the woman, for the Evangelist Mark observes, that "they murmured against her", Mark 14:5, that she should act such an imprudent part, and be guilty of such extravagance; or at Christ himself, for suffering such an action to be done unto him; for so the Syriac version reads the above clause in Mark, and "they murmured against him"; so De Dieu observes it should be rendered; though Tremellius, Boderianus, and others, translate it, "against her": or else their indignation was neither at Christ, whom they dearly loved; nor at the woman, they being taught to love their enemies, and much more the friends of Christ; but at the action, which they looked upon as an ill judged thing, that sprung from misguided zeal, and which they thought could never be acceptable to their master, who was not used to encourage such profuseness and extravagance.

Saying, to what purpose is this waste, or "loss?" They call that waste, or loss, which was spent on Christ himself; whereas, whatever is laid out for the honour of Christ, or the good of his interest, ought not to be reckoned loss, for it will be returned with great increase and advantage; but they could not see what end was to be answered by this expense. It is easy to observe the variableness and inconstancy of the disciples: one time, because the inhabitants of a certain village did not receive Christ, they were for calling for fire from heaven to destroy them; and here is a poor woman that exceeds, as they thought, in her respects to him, and they are filled with indignation.

But when his {d} disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this {e} waste?

(d) This is a figure of speech called synecdoche: for it is said that only Judas was moved at this; Joh 12:4.

(e) Unprofitable spending.

Matthew 26:8. The feature peculiar to John, and having an essential bearing upon the character of his narrative, to the effect that it was Judas who censured the proceeding, had come to be obliterated in the tradition represented by our present passage. Our narrative, then, is certainly not contradictory of that of John, but only less precise. Arbitrary attempts have been made to explain our passage by saying either that, in Matthew, the narrative is to be regarded as sylleptical (Jerome, Beza, Maldonatus), or that Judas simply gave utterance to an observation in which the others have innocently concurred (Augustine, Calvin, Grotius, Kuinoel, Paulus, Wichelhaus), or that several of them betrayed symptoms of murmuring (Lange).

ἡ ἀπώλεια αὕτη] this loss, in making such a use of an expensive oil. This word never occurs in the New Testament in a transitive sense (as in Polyb. vi. 59. 5).Matthew 26:8. ἠγανάκτησαν, as in Matthew 20:24. The disciple-circle experienced various annoyances from first to last: Syrophenician woman, mothers and children, ambition of James and John, Mary of Bethany. The last the most singular of all. Probably all the disciples disapproved more or less. It was a woman’s act, and they were men. She was a poet and they were somewhat prosaic.—ἀπώλεια, waste, a precious thing thrown away. To how many things the term might be applied on similar grounds! The lives of the martyrs, e.g., cui bono? That is the question; not so easily answered as vulgar utilitarians think. Beside this criticism of Mary place Peter’s revolt against the death of Jesus (Matthew 16:22).8. when his disciples saw it, they had indignation] “There were some that had indignation” (Mark); “Then said one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot” (John).Matthew 26:8. Ἀπώλεια, waste) or perdition.—Nay, thou, Judas, art [the son] of Perdition;[1113] see John 17:12.

[1113] In the original, both Greek and Latin, the same word is used to express Waste and Perdition.—(I. B.)Verse 8. - When his disciples saw it. St. John states that the objection came originally from Judas. Doubtless, when it was once made, many concurred in it, not, indeed, from Judas's selfish motive (John 12:6), but because they did not clearly apprehend the Divinity of Christ, nor the unspeakable sacredness of that body which was about to be the instrument of man's redemption. To what purpose is this waste (a)pw/leia)? Wordsworth notes that Judas is called υἱὸς ἀπωλείας (John 17:12). A fitting question truly for him to ask! The objectors saw no practical usefulness in the expenditure of this costly substance. If it was thought proper to show respect to their Master, a much inferior oil would have equally effected this purpose, or a few drops of the more precious unguent would have sufficed. So nowadays one hears complaints of money being expended in the rich decoration of churches, etc., when there are starving multitudes whom it would have relieved. But God himself has sanctioned the use of precious materials and of exquisite workmanship in temples built in his honour, and in the accessories of his public worship; the interests of the poor are not overlooked in such expenditure; they who give of their substance for such purposes are just those who feel all their responsibilities, and know that they serve Christ in ministering to his needy members. To what purpose is this waste?

Wyc., Whereto this loss? Tynd., What needed this waste? See on John 12:3.

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