on Matthew 26 :7
There came unto him a woman - There is much contention among commentators about the transaction mentioned here, and in John 12:3; some supposing them to be different, others to be the same. Bishop Newcome's view of the subject I have placed at the end of the chapter.
Some think that the woman mentioned here was Mary, the sister of Lazarus; others Mary Magdalene; but against the former opinion it is argued that it is not likely, had this been Mary the sister of Lazarus, that Matthew and Mark would have suppressed her name. Besides, say they, we should not confound the repast which is mentioned here, with that mentioned by John, John 12:3. This one was made only two days before the passover, and that one six days before: the one was made at the house of Simon the leper, the other at the house of Lazarus, John 12:1, John 12:2. At this, the woman poured the oil on the head of Christ; at the other, Mary anointed Christ's feet with it. See on Mark 14:3 (note), and see the notes at the end of this chapter, (Bishop Newcome's Account of the Anointing).
on Matthew 26 :7
There came to him a woman - This woman was Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, John 12:3.
Having an alabaster box - The "alabaster" is a species of marble, distinguished for being light, and of a beautiful white color, almost transparent.
It was much used by the ancients for the purpose of preserving various kinds of ointment in.
Of very precious ointment - That is, of ointment of "great value;" that was rare and difficult to be obtained. Mark Mar 14:3 and John Joh 12:3 say that it was ointment of spikenard. In the original it is "nard." It was procured from an herb growing in the Indies, chiefly obtained from the root, though sometimes also from the bark. It was liquid, so as easily to flow when the box or vial was open, and was distinguished particularly for an agreeable smell. See Sol 1:12. The ancients were much in the habit of "anointing or perfuming" their bodies, and the nard was esteemed one of the most precious perfumes. John says there was a "pound" of this, John 12:3. The "pound" in use among the Jews was the Roman, of twelve ounces, answering to our troy weight. That there was a large quantity is further evident from the fact that Judas says it might have been sold for 300 pence (about 9 British pounds), and that the "house" was filled with the odor of the ointment (John).
And poured it on his head - They were accustomed chiefly to anoint the head or hair. John says John 12:3 that she poured it on the "feet" of Jesus, and wiped them with her hair. There is, however, no contradiction. She probably poured it "both" on his head and his feet. Matthew and Mark having recorded the former, John, who wrote his gospel in part to record events omitted by them, completes the account by saying that the ointment was also poured on the feet of the Saviour. To pour ointment on the "head" was common. To pour it on the "feet" was an act of distinguished "humility" and of attachment to the Saviour, and therefore deserved to be particularly recorded.
As he sat at meat - That is, at supper. In the original, as he "reclined" at supper. The ancients did not sit at their meals, but "reclined" at length on couches. See the notes at Matthew 23:6. She came up, therefore, "behind him" as he lay reclined at the table, and, bending down over the couch, poured the ointment on his head and his feet, and, probably kneeling at his feet, wiped them with her hair.
on Matthew 26 :7