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John xij. S.
Then took Mary
delivered his discourse to the Apostles, than that it happened
But even if we admit that both of them happened on the
Still, however, it might be objeeted, that though St. Matthew and St. Mark have not expressly mentioned the day on which the unction took place at Bethany, they have at least assigned to it, a place, in that part of their
narrative where they were advanced, to within two days of the passover. Now this objection presupposes that the Evangelists always wrote according to the order of time, which they certainly did not: and if we only make a different division of the chapters, and reckon to the twenty-fifth chapter the two first verses of the twentysixth, the unction at Bethany, which is related in the following verses, will have less reference to the time specified in those two verses.
The Jewish Sanhedrim had formed the resolution to put Jesus to death, but not on the feast day: and it was the unction at Bethany which afforded them the means of getting him into their power, though on the day which they had endeavoured to avoid. This may be gathered from St. Matthew's own relation, who, after having described the consultation of the Sanhedrim, immediately relates the unction at Bethany, and then adds, “ That one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, what will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?” (Matt. xxvi. 14, 15.) The account given by St. Matthew is in some measure obscure, because we do not perceive in what manner the circumstance of the unction, excited in Judas the resolution to betray his master. But this, we clearly learn, from the relation of St. Jobn; from which it appears that Judas was properly the person who censured the unction, under the pretence that the ointment ought to have been sold for the benefit of the poor; and that this specious pretext likewise met with the approbation of other Apostles. The true reason, as St. Jobn expressly declares, was the hope of having a further opportunity of defrauding the money-bag, which was entrusted to his care. The answer therefore of Jesus affected Judas in particular, whose guilty conscience augmented the severity of the rebuke. Under these circumstances, it is by no means extraordinary that Judas resolved to take revenge, especially when we consider that he was already an apostate, (John vi. 67. 71.) and thought perhaps that, if contrary to his belief, Jesus was really the Messiah, the measures concerted against him would be of no avail; but that, on the other hand, if Jesus was an impostor, he would meet with the fate he deserved. It appears, then, that the unction at Bethany, which gave rise to the offer of Judas to the Sanhedrim, to betray Christ, is more properly arranged immediately before the relation of the effect which it produced, than it would have been, if placed at the beginning of the twentyfirst chapter, to which it properly belongs, according to the merits of time.
It will be observed, that Michaelis in these observations bas
Mark xiv. 3. having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard, very Bethany.
replied to the principal objections which have been proposed
Bishop Marsh is not satisfied with these arguments of Mi-
The first day of unleavened bread is mentioned in its order, after the parenthetical narration of the causes of the betraying, and has no reference to the Unction. Bishop Marsh justly objects to Archbishop Newcome's order, but proposes the opinion, that the Unction took place on the Wednesday before the Passover. This learned theologian, however, does not rest this opinion upon the arguments generally made use of, but upon a supposed corruption of the original text of St. John. As the testimony, however, of all existing MSS. is against this opinion, Bishop Marsh conjectures that the corruption in question was made at so very early a period, that no manuscript extant has the original reading. It is at all times painful to be compelled to differ from an authority so eminent as Bishop Marsh; but it is impossible to approve of any emendation of the text of the New Testament, wbich increases instead of lessening difficulties; and is unsupported by the authority of one quotation, version, or MS. extant. The Scriptures must be treated with greater veneration.
Bishop Marsh, in bis note (No. 9.) to this section of Michaelis, also endeavours to prove that the day on which Christ was betrayed was the day of the Unction. His arguments do not appear satisfactory. The question principally rests upon the precise meaning of the word TÓTe, which Michaelis would render
very soon after," and his annotator“ immediately after."
The authority of Mr. Dick, in his Essay on the Inspiration of the Scriptures, confirms me yet further in the conviction that the Unction at Bethany took place six days before the Passover.-See Dick's Essay, p. 300, 301.
(a) Marsh's Michaelis, voi. iii. part i. p. 23. (6) Lightfoot has endeavoured to prove the same thing.
37 It is not exactly known of what this (vápdog risuń) consisted which was poured upon the head of our Lord. The words occur but twice, Mark xiv. 3. There came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard, very precious, abe yuvn έχουσα αλάβαστρον μύρα, νάρδο πισικής πολυτελούς· andJohn xii. 3. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, &c. ή εν Μαρία, λαβούσα λίτραν μύρου νάρδε πισικής πολυτίμα. Schleusner derives the word πισική from πίνω bibo; and supposes that the ointment could be poured out as a liquid. He quotes, among other authorities, the same passage from Æschylus (a) as Heinsius does, to confirm his opinion. Others derive the word from hisıs, and suppose that it merely significs
Mat. xxvi.7. of very precious ointment,
Bethany. John xii. 3. a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, Mark xiv.3. and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. Mat.xxvi.7. as he sate at meat. John xii. 3. and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with
her hair : and the house was filled with the odour of the
and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made ?
dred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they
murmured against her. Mat. xxvi.8. To what purpose is this waste ? John xii. 4.
Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him,
that the ointment was pure and unadulterated. With this opi-
Pfeiffer, after reviewing these various opinions, comes to the
(a) Heinsii exercitationes Sacræ, p 218. (6) Prom. vinct. Glasgow edit.'imputed to Porson, line 478. (6) Apud Pfeiffer exoticorum N. T. locus xxii. at the end of the dubia vexata, p. 916. (d) Vide Lampe on, John xii. 3, vol. ii. p. 825, note.
John xii. 5. Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, Bethany.
and given to the poor?
cause he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was
put therein. Mark xiv.6. And Jesus said, Let her alone ; why trouble ye her?
hath wrought a good work on me.
will ye may do them good : but me ye have not always.
8. She hath done what she could John xii. 7. Let her alone : against the day of my burying hath she
kept this. Mt. xxvi.12. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body,
she did it for my burial. Mark xiv.8. she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.
9. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall
be preached throughout the whole world, this also that
she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. John xii. 9. Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was
there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that
But the chief priests consulted that they might put La-
Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went
MATT. xxvi. ver. 6. part of ver. 7, 8. and ver. 9, 10, 11. 13.
7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box-
8 —they had indignation, saying, -
10 Wben Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trou-
Il For ye have the poor always with you ; but me ye have not always.
13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel sball be preached in the wbole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
JOHN xii. part of ver. 7. and ver. 8. 7 Then said Jesus
8 For the poor always ye bave with you; but me ye have not always.
prepares to enter Jerusalem.
part. JOHN xii. 12-18.
Lu. xix, 29.
Mat. xxi. 1. when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come Near Jeru. La. xix. 29. when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the salem.
mount called the Mount of Olives,
that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
him, and cried, Hosannah, blessed is the King of Israel,
that cometh in the name of the Lord. Mat, xxi. 1. then sent Jesus Mark xi, 1. forth two of his disciples,
2. And saith unto them, Go your way into the village
over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it,
hither. Mat. xxi. 2. unto me.
3. And if any man say ought unto you, La. xix. 31. Why do ye loose him ? thus shall ye say unto him, Be
cause the Lord hath need of him. Mark xi. 3. and straightway he will send him hither. Mat. xxi. 4.
All this was done, that it might be fulfilled, which was
spoken by the prophet, saying, John xii. 14. as it is written,
15. Fear not, daughter of Sion 3 :
38 This prediction of Zechariah, four hundred years before the event, announced to the people of Israel, that the king of Jerusalem, contrary to the universal custom of his own, and of every other nation, should enter into his royal city, without any outward pomp and splendour-that he should ride upon the humblest of animals-Himself the meekest and lowliest of men, yet the Saviour of his people, and, as such, be received by them with the loudest rejoicings and acclamations. We are assured, by the Prophet Malachi also, that the Messiah should certainly visit the second temple at Jerusalem. Let me now, then, appeal to the Jew who receives tho Old Testament, and entreat him to search the records of the history of his fathers, and there find if any Prophet, Priest, or King, or Ruler of Israel, before the destruction of the second temple, ever entered into Jerusalem, as Jesus of Nazareth is here represented to have done; and which of all these rulers of Israel united so many of their ancient prophecies in his own person. Of all the long train of Persian, Grecian, Roman, or Jewish rulers, to whom can we apply the prophecy of Zechariah, and assert that he rode into Jerusalem humble, royal, and a Saviour, visiting and appearing in their temple. Ezra was in their city when the prophecy was delivered (a). The successor of the Persian conqueror was reposing in his palace. Nehemiah went up to Jerusalem, attended by the captains and cavalry of the king of Persia, (Nehem. ii. 9.) When he arose privately in the night, he was accompanied by few only of his train, and though he rode, it was not in the manner described by the prophet (b); and of this his second entrance nothing is recorded (c).
Did the governors of Syria, under the Persian sovereigns of