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 stranger (Sir 29:25-29:28)

“You will play the host.

You will provide drink

Without being thanked. Besides this

You will hear rude words. ‘Come here!

Stranger!

Prepare the table! Let me eat

What you have there!

Be off!

Stranger!

An honored guest is here!

My brother has come

For a visit!

I need the guest–room!’ It is hard

For a sensible person

To bear.

There is the scolding

About lodging.

There is the reproach

Of the moneylender.”

If you are a stranger in someone else’s house, you will have to play the part of a host and bartender without being thanked. People will speak rude words about you, since you are the stranger. This is somewhat reminiscent of Albert Camus and his 1942 work about the “Stranger.” You will be accepted for what you do, but at the same time you will not be really truly accepted for who you are.  You will not fully fit in.  You, the stranger, will be asked to be a waiter, almost like a servant. You will be moved around, depending on who is coming to the house. You many actually lose your room because a relative might come for a visit. These are some of the difficulties for the lodger staying in a strange house. You will be scolded about your renting as well as receive the criticism of the moneylenders.