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).

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The woman poured oil on Jesus (Mt 26:7-26:7)

“A woman

Came to Jesus

With an alabaster jar

Of very expensive ointment.

She poured it

On his head,

As he was reclining

At the table.”

 

προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ γυνὴ ἔχουσα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου βαρυτίμου καὶ κατέχεεν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ ἀνακειμένου.

 

This is very similar to Mark, chapter 14:3, and somewhat similar to John, chapter 12:3, where the woman was identified as Mary, the sister of Lazarus.  She poured the nard oil on his feet and wiped it with her hair, not on his head as here and in Mark.  In Luke, chapter 7:38, while Jesus was at the house of a Pharisee, this woman also brought an alabaster jar to anoint the feet of Jesus.  Matthew said that an unnamed woman came or approached Jesus (προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ γυνὴ) with an alabaster jar full of very expensive ointment (ἔχουσα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου βαρυτίμου).  This was anointing oil or as later Christians would call it holy oil, “Myron (μύρου).”  She then poured it on his head (καὶ κατέχεεν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς), as he was reclining at the table (αὐτοῦ ἀνακειμένου).  This may appear a little unusual, but this oil might be a foretaste of the prophetic, royal, or priestly anointing of Jesus as prophet, king, and priest.  In the Old Testament stories, kings were anointed on the head.