on Luke 7 :37
A woman - which was a sinner - Many suppose that this woman had been a notorious public prostitute; but this is taking the subject by the very worst handle. My own opinion is, that she had been a mere heathen who dwelt in this city, (probably Capernaum), who, through the ministry of Christ, had been before this converted to God, and came now to give this public testimony of her gratitude to her gracious deliverer from the darkness and guilt of sin. I am inclined to think that the original word, ἁμαρτωλος, is used for heathen or Gentile in several places of the sacred writings. I am fully persuaded that this is its meaning in Matthew 9:10, Matthew 9:11, Matthew 9:13; Matthew 11:19; and Matthew 26:45. The Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners, i.e. is delivered into the hands of the heathens, viz. the Romans, who alone could put him to death. See Mark 2:15-17; Mark 14:41. I think also it has this meaning in Luke 6:32-34; Luke 15:1, Luke 15:2, Luke 15:7, Luke 15:10; Luke 19:7; John 9:31. I think no other sense can be justly assigned to it in Galatians 2:15 : We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles. We Jews, who have had the benefit of a Divine revelation, know that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Christ, (Galatians 2:16), which other nations, who were heathens, not having a Divine revelation, could not know. It is, I think, likely that the grand subject of the self-righteous Pharisee's complaint was her being a heathen. As those who were touched by such contracted a legal defilement, he could not believe that Christ was a conscientious observer of the law, seeing he permitted her to touch him, knowing who she was; or, if he did not know that she was a heathen, it was a proof that he was no prophet, Luke 7:39, and consequently had not the discernment of spirits which prophets were supposed to possess. As the Jews had a law which forbade all iniquity, and they who embraced it being according to its requisitions and their profession saints; and as the Gentiles had no law to restrain evil, nor made any profession of holiness, the term ἁμαρτωλοι, or sinners, was first with peculiar propriety applied to them, and afterwards to all others, who, though they professed to be under the law, yet lived as Gentiles without the law. Many suppose this person to be the same as Mary Magdalene, but of this there is no solid proof.
Brought an alabaster box - See on Mark 14:3 (note).
on Luke 7 :37
In the city - What city is meant is unknown. Some have supposed it was Nain; some Capernaum; some Magdala; and some Jerusalem.
Which was a sinner - Who was depraved or wicked. This woman, it seems, was known to be a sinner - perhaps an abandoned woman or a prostitute. It is certain that she had much to be forgiven, and she had probably passed her life in crime. There is no evidence that this was the woman commonly called Mary Magdalene.
An alabaster-box ... - See the notes at Mark 14:3.
on Luke 7 :37
7:37 A woman - Not the same with Mary of Bethany, who anointed him six days before his last passover.