Where in the Bible is the story about Mary and her alabaster box?


Clarify Share Report Asked February 22 2014 1539110557 Beverly Annie Washington

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Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious
Matt 26:6-13

"...a woman came to him with a box of alabaster (alabastron) of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table".

Luke 7:36-50

"A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume".

Mark 14:1-11

"While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head".

John 12:1-8.

"Then Mary took about a pinta of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume."

These four accounts may represent one or more women (there are many theories) [I see three - notes on that below]. The woman/women with the alabastrons are not named as Mary is. 

In three of the accounts, there is an alabastron - a vial or box of perfume (the name coming from Alabastron, Egypt). This was not standard perfume for general purpose: Alabastrons were designed to preserve the odor of the fragrance for a long time (centuries, that is). The fragrance itself was costly, also the jar; the material alabaster, gold, ivory, etc. Some were functional with a stopper for daily use, but some alabastrons were sealed. For these, one had to break the seal and use it all at once. They were often kept for part of a wedding dowry, or used at burial, etc.

Notes on the different women:

Mary annointed Jesus' feet in Bethany with a pint of nard 6 days before Passover (John 12:1) - nothing is said about whether this perfume was stored in an alabastron or not. Regardless, it would have been expensive. When Passover was only two days away, Jesus was in Bethany again, in the home of Simon the Leper. Here, a woman broke an alabastron (or it's seal) and poured the entire contents on his head. (Mark 14:1-11, Matt 26:1-13).

Earlier in his ministry and long before his last Passover, Jesus had been anointed by another woman with an alabastron. (Luke 7:36-Luke 8:3) This was in the home of a pharisee, and this woman 'had lived a sinful life'. She wet His feet with her tears and poured perfume on his feet (we don't know how much). Unlike later when he compares the women's actions to preparation for burial, here he speaks of the woman's great love. Her actions were of deepest repentance and adoration, wheras even Jesus' host had failed to give even surface hospitality.

July 24 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Sung Park Father to 4 Boys & "Assiduous Contemplater" of the Word
It is found in John 12:1-8. You probably searched with alabaster and Mary but that passage does not say "alabaster" but rather "an expensive ointment made from pure nard."

February 23 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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