The oil should have been given to the poor (Mk 14:5-14:5)

“‘This ointment

Could have been sold

For more

Than three hundred denarii.

The money

Could have been

Given to the poor.’

They scolded her.”

 

ἠδύνατο γὰρ τοῦτο τὸ μύρον πραθῆναι ἐπάνω δηναρίων τριακοσίων καὶ δοθῆναι τοῖς πτωχοῖς· καὶ ἐνεβριμῶντο αὐτῇ.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:9, and somewhat similar to John, chapter 12:4-6, where Judas Iscariot complained about wasting money, but John then made other derogatory remarks about Judas.  Mark said here that these unnamed disciples said that this was a waste of this precious “oil (μύρον)” that could have been sold for a large sum (ἠδύνατο γὰρ τοῦτο τὸ μύρον πραθῆναι), more than 300 denarii (ἐπάνω δηναρίων τριακοσίων), worth about $450.00 US.  This must have been a very expensive small jar of nard oil imported from the Indian Himalayan mountains.  They complained that this large sum of money could have been given to the poor (καὶ δοθῆναι τοῖς πτωχοῖς).  Giving to the poor at the time of Passover was a common custom.  Thus, these disciples angrily scolded her (καὶ ἐνεβριμῶντο αὐτῇ).

The test (Wis 11:9-11:14)

“When they were tried,

Even though they were being disciplined in mercy,

They learned how the ungodly were tormented

When judged in wrath.

You tested them

As a parent does

In warning.

But you examined the ungodly

As a stern king does

In condemnation.

Whether absent or present,

They were equally distressed.

A twofold grief possessed them.

There was a groaning

At the memory of what had occurred.

They heard

That through their own punishments,

The righteous had received benefit.

They perceived

It was the Lord’s doing.

Even though they had mockingly rejected him,

Who long before had been cast out and exposed,

At the end of the events

They marveled at him.

They felt thirst in a different way

From the righteous.”

The righteous began to understand that their trials and thirst for water in Deuteronomy, chapter 8, were nothing in comparison to the punishment that the ungodly (ἀσεβεῖς) had received. They were disciplined in mercy, while the ungodly were angrily tormented and judged. They were treated like children getting a paternal (ὡς πατὴρ) warning, while the ungodly were given a royal (βασιλεὺς) condemnation. The Lord (τοῦ Κυρίου) gave benefits to the Israelites because the Egyptians had mocked and rejected him. The thirst that the two of them had was completely different between the righteous (δικαίοις) and the ungodly. Finally, the ungodly marveled at the Lord.

Menace against the Temple (1 Macc 7:33-7:38)

“After these events, Nicanor went up to Mount Zion. Some of the priests from the sanctuary and some of the elders of the people came out to greet him peaceably. They wanted to show him the burnt offering that was being offered for the king. But he mocked them. He derided them. He defiled them. He spoke arrogantly. In anger he swore this oath.

‘Unless Judas and his army are delivered

Into my hands this time,

Then if I return safely

I will burn up this house.’

He went out in great anger. At this, the priests went in and stood before the altar and the temple. They wept and said.

‘You choose this house to be called by your name.

This house is to be for your people.

This house is a house of prayer and supplication.

Take vengeance on this man and on his army!

Let them fall by the sword!

Remember their blasphemies!

Let them live no longer!’”

Nicanor went to Jerusalem. Actually some of the priests and elders greeted him peacefully. Remember that Alcimus was the high priest and friend of King Demetrius I. They wanted to show him that they had made burnt offerings in his honor. However, Nicanor turned on them as he mocked them, derided them, and defiled them. Arrogantly and angrily, he said that unless they delivered Judas to him, he was going to burn down the Temple. Then he left in anger. The priests then wept praying that this was the house of God for his people. God should take vengeance on this man and his army since he had blasphemed this Temple. He should not let him live.