Matthew 26:7

ESV a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table.
NIV a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
NASB a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very expensive perfume, and she poured it on His head as He was reclining at the table.
CSB a woman approached him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume. She poured it on his head as he was reclining at the table.
NLT While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head.
KJV There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.

What does Matthew 26:7 mean?

It's not explicitly stated if this instance of Jesus being anointed with oil while in Bethany is the same event recorded in John 12:1–11. It could be a different event that happened around the same time. However, most Bible scholars believe Matthew's details are part of the same event. This would mean the woman who anoints Jesus' head here is Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus (John 11:1).

In both descriptions, the act is extravagant. It would not have been uncommon to anoint the head of an honored guest with simple household oil. This woman, though, uses an extremely expensive perfumed ointment to anoint Jesus. Matthew describes an alabaster flask, one which would have likely required the neck of the bottle to be broken so that the oil could be poured out. The woman pours the thick, aromatic oil over Jesus' head as He reclines at the table with the other dinner guests. She does so in full view of all those gathered at Simon's home.

If the events are the same, John describes the oil as a pound of ointment made from pure nard. He shows Mary pouring the oil on Jesus' feet and wiping His feet with her long hair. A pound is a lot of oil. It's not surprising that John says the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume (John 12:3). Everyone would quickly have become aware of Mary's intimate act of anointing Jesus, the one who had raised her dead brother back to life.
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