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The Plot Against Jesus

14 Two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the chief priests and the experts in the law[a] were trying to find a way[b] to arrest Jesus[c] by stealth and kill him. For they said, “Not during the feast, so there won’t be a riot among the people.”[d]

Jesus’ Anointing

Now[e] while Jesus[f] was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper,[g] reclining at the table,[h] a woman came with an alabaster jar[i] of costly aromatic oil[j] from pure nard. After breaking open the jar, she poured it on his head. But some who were present indignantly said to one another, “Why this waste of expensive[k] ointment? It[l] could have been sold for more than 300 silver coins[m] and the money[n] given to the poor!” So[o] they spoke angrily to her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a good service for me. For you will always have the poor with you, and you can do good for them whenever you want. But you will not always have me![p] She did what she could. She anointed my body beforehand for burial. I tell you the truth,[q] wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

The Plan to Betray Jesus

10 Then[r] Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus into their hands.[s]

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  1. Mark 14:1 tn Or “the chief priests and the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 1:22.
  2. Mark 14:1 tn Grk “were seeking how.”
  3. Mark 14:1 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  4. Mark 14:2 sn The suggestion here is that Jesus was too popular to openly arrest him. The verb were trying is imperfect. It suggests, in this context, that they were always considering the opportunities.
  5. Mark 14:3 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
  6. Mark 14:3 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  7. Mark 14:3 sn See the note on leper in Mark 1:40.
  8. Mark 14:3 sn 1st century middle eastern meals were not eaten while sitting at a table, but while reclining on one’s side on the floor with the head closest to the low table and the feet farthest away.
  9. Mark 14:3 sn A jar made of alabaster stone was normally used for very precious substances like perfumes. It normally had a long neck which was sealed and had to be broken off so the contents could be used.
  10. Mark 14:3 tn Μύρον (muron) was usually made of myrrh (from which the English word is derived) but here it is used in the sense of ointment or perfumed oil (L&N 6.205). The adjective πιστικῆς (pistikēs) is difficult with regard to its exact meaning; some have taken it to derive from πίστις (pistis) and relate to the purity of the oil of nard. More probably it is something like a brand name, “pistic nard,” the exact significance of which has not been Nard or spikenard is a fragrant oil from the root and spike of the nard plant of northern India. This aromatic oil, if made of something like nard, would have been extremely expensive, costing up to a year’s pay for an average laborer.
  11. Mark 14:4 tn The word “expensive” is not in the Greek text but has been included to suggest a connection to the lengthy phrase “costly aromatic oil from pure nard” occurring earlier in v. 3. The author of Mark shortened this long phrase to just one word in Greek when repeated here, and the phrase “expensive ointment” used in the translation is intended as an abbreviated paraphrase.
  12. Mark 14:5 tn Here γάρ (gar) has not been translated.
  13. Mark 14:5 tn Grk “three hundred denarii.” One denarius was the standard day’s wage, so the value exceeded what a laborer could earn in a year (taking in to account Sabbaths and feast days when no work was done).
  14. Mark 14:5 tn The words “the money” are not in the Greek text, but are implied (as the proceeds from the sale of the perfumed oil).
  15. Mark 14:5 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of previous action(s) in the narrative.
  16. Mark 14:7 tn In the Greek text of this clause, “me” is in emphatic position (the first word in the clause). To convey some impression of the emphasis, an exclamation point is used in the translation.
  17. Mark 14:9 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
  18. Mark 14:10 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  19. Mark 14:10 tn Grk “betray him to them”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.