“You did not anoint
But she has anointed
ἐλαίῳ τὴν κεφαλήν μου οὐκ ἤλειψας· αὕτη δὲ μύρῳ ἤλειψεν τοὺς πόδας μου.
Luke continued with his unique narrative. Jesus said to Simon the Pharisee that he had not anointed his head with oil (ἐλαίῳ τὴν κεφαλήν μου οὐκ ἤλειψας), but this woman had anointed his feet with oil or Myron (αὕτη δὲ μύρῳ ἤλειψεν τοὺς πόδας μου). In both Mark, chapter 14:8, and Matthew, chapter 26:12, Jesus said that the anointing of his head had prepared him for his burial, but there is nothing like that here. Have you ever anointed anyone’s head or feet?
Stood behind him
At his feet,
With her tears.
Then she wiped them dry
With her hair.
Kissing his feet.
She anointed them
With the ointment.”
καὶ στᾶσα ὀπίσω παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ κλαίουσα, τοῖς δάκρυσιν ἤρξατο βρέχειν τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ, καὶ ταῖς θριξὶν τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτῆς ἐξέμασσεν, καὶ κατεφίλει τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ καὶ ἤλειφεν τῷ μύρῳ.
Luke said that this sinful woman stood behind Jesus (καὶ στᾶσα ὀπίσω), at his feet (παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ), weeping (κλαίουσα). She began to bathe or wash his feet with her tears (τοῖς δάκρυσιν ἤρξατο βρέχειν τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ). Then she wiped his feet dry with the hair from her head (καὶ ταῖς θριξὶν τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτῆς ἐξέμασσεν). She continued kissing his feet (αὶ κατεφίλει τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ). Then she anointed them with the Myron ointment (καὶ ἤλειφεν τῷ μύρῳ). Mark, chapter 14:3, and Matthew, chapter 26:6-7, said that this unnamed sinning woman approached Jesus with an alabaster jar full of very expensive imported Indian nard ointment. This was an anointing oil or as later Christians would call it holy oil, “Myron (μύρου).” She broke the alabaster jar of ointment. Then she then poured it on his head. However, here the emphasis was on the feet of Jesus. This woman washed his feet with her tears, dried them with her loosened hair, and then anointed his feet with the oil or Myron. This was a highly unusual gesture. Have you ever had your feet anointed with oil?
Who was a sinner
In that town,
In the Pharisee’s house.
An alabaster bottle
Of Myron ointment.”
καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ ἥτις ἦν ἐν τῇ πόλει ἁμαρτωλός, καὶ ἐπιγνοῦσα ὅτι κατάκειται ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ τοῦ Φαρισαίου, κομίσασα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου
Luke said that a woman who was a sinner (καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ…ἁμαρτωλός) in that town (ἦν ἐν τῇ πόλει) learned or knew (καὶ ἐπιγνοῦσα) that Jesus was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house (ὅτι κατάκειται ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ τοῦ Φαρισαίου). She brought an alabaster bottle of oil, ointment, or Myron (κομίσασα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου). Her specific sin was not mentioned here, but she might have been a prostitute, since she was publically known in the town as a sinner by many of those there at this dinner party. However, she brought an elegant alabaster bottle of oil or Myron. There was a similar story with a sinning woman coming with a jar of oil in Matthew, chapter 26:6, Mark, chapter 14:3, and John, chapter 12:1, but within a different context, at Bethany and nearly right before the crucifixion of Jesus. John identified this woman as Mary, the sister of Lazarus. Some have identified this sinning woman as Mary Magdalene. Here Jesus was at the house of a Pharisee, when this woman also brought an alabaster oil bottle. Do you know any sinning women?
Could have been sold
Than three hundred denarii.
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).
“But when the disciples
They were angry.
‘Why this waste?
Could have been sold
For a large sum.
The money could have been
Given to the poor.’”
ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ μαθηταὶ ἠγανάκτησαν λέγοντες Εἰς τί ἡ ἀπώλεια αὕτη;
ἐδύνατο γὰρ τοῦτο πραθῆναι πολλοῦ καὶ δοθῆναι πτωχοῖς.
This is similar to Mark, chapter 14:4-5, and somewhat similar to John, chapter 12:4-6, where Judas Iscariot complained about wasting money and John made derogatory remarks about Judas. Matthew said that these unnamed disciples saw what had happened (ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ μαθηταὶ), so that they were angry, incensed, or indignant (ἠγανάκτησαν). They complained that this was a waste of this precious oil (λέγοντες Εἰς τί ἡ ἀπώλεια αὕτη). It could have been sold for a large sum (ἐδύνατο γὰρ τοῦτο πραθῆναι πολλοῦ), without mentioning the amount of 300 denarii (about $450.00 US), as did Mark and John, for this was very expensive oil. Then that large sum of money obtained from the sale of this ointment could have been given to the poor (καὶ δοθῆναι πτωχοῖς). Giving to the poor at the time of Passover was a common custom.
“Dead flies make
The perfumer’s ointment
Give off a foul odor.
So a little folly outweighs
Wisdom and honor.
The heart of the wise
Inclines to the right.
But the heart of a fool
Inclines to the left.
Even when the fools
Walk on the road,
They lack sense.
They show to everyone
That they are fools.”
Here are some more words of wisdom from Qoheleth. Dead flies can ruin an ointment by giving off a smelly odor. A little folly can outweigh wisdom and honor. The heart of the wise leans to the right, but the heart of a fool leans to the left. This illustrates the traditional view that left leaning people are foolish. Even when a fool is out walking, he still lacks good sense. Fools show to everyone that they really are fools.
“It’s under parts are like sharp potsherds.
It spreads itself like a threshing sledge on the mire.
It makes the deep boil like a pot.
It makes the sea like a pot of ointment.
It leaves a shining wake behind it.
One would think that the deep to be white-haired.
On earth it has no equal.
It is a creature without fear.
It surveys everything that is lofty.
It is king over all that are proud.”
The Leviathan is powerful. Yahweh reminded Job that the Leviathan was the king of the proud. Its underbelly had sharp ceramic pieces that come from the breaking of pots. It is like sledge as it is so big it makes the sea seem like a bottle of ointment. Somehow it has control of the waters since there is nothing equal to it on earth. It has no fear since it is in charge of all the proud folks as it leader king. So ends this long description of the Leviathan, as Yahweh explained it to Job.
“When Judith had stopped crying out to the God of Israel, as she had ended all these words, she rose from where she lay prostrate. She called her maid. She went down into the house where she lived on the Sabbath and on her festal days. She removed the sackcloth that she had been wearing. She took off her widow’s garments. She bathed her body with water. She anointed herself with precious ointment. She combed her hair and put on a tiara. She dressed herself in the festive attire that she used to wear while her husband Manasseh was living. She put sandals on her feet. She put on her anklets, bracelets, rings, earrings and all her other jewelry. Thus she made herself very beautiful, to entice the eyes of all the men who might see her. She gave her maid a skin of wine and a flask of oil. She filled a bag with roasted grain, dried fruit cakes, and fine bread. Then she wrapped up all her dishes. She then gave them to her maid to carry.”
This is a glimpse into what a beautiful woman of the 3rd to 1st century BCE did to look beautiful as the details are very specific. Judith got up from her prayer tent and went into her house. She took off her sackcloth and widow garments. It is interesting to note that there was special clothing just for widows, thus the custom of women in mourning wearing black. In Genesis, chapter 38, there is the story of Judah’s daughter-in-law Tamar who took off her widow garments and enticed her father-in-law as a prostitute to have sex with her that produced the lineage for Judah through the twin boys of Perez and Zerah. Judith bathed and anointed her body. It is interesting to note that despite the shortage of water, she was able to take a water bath. She combed her hair and put on a tiara, as if a princess or queen. She put on festive attire, with anklets, bracelets, rings, earrings, and other fine jewelry. She wanted to look enticing. Then she had her maid servant carry her food and dishes.