It seems as if the woman knew Jesus would soon die, but the disciples were caught completely off guard. If even the disciples were caught off-guard, how did she know what was going to happen?
Matthew 26:6 - 13
NLT - 6 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. 7 While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head.
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In my opinion, the woman in the passage cited in the question would not necessarily have to have been aware of Jesus' forthcoming death. She could have been performing her action for a number of other, unrelated reasons (as also occurred at other times in the gospels), such as a sign of worship and love of Jesus as the Son of God, or of repentance for sin (although there is no indication of such sin on the woman's part in this particular passage). It was Jesus Himself (since He obviously WOULD have been aware of His impending death) who (again, in my opinion) extended and amplified the significance of the woman's action by putting it in the context of the anointing of His body prior to burial. An alternative interpretation (based on the similarity of the accounts in Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, and John 12:1-8) might be that the woman who anointed Jesus (who was not named in Matthew or Mark) could have been Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. If that was the case, she may (based on her close association with Jesus, as shown also in Luke 10:39) have previously heard Him speaking of His death, and thus intended her anointing of Him to be in anticipation of it.
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