Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nard Perfume

I grow a Lavender tree, a kind of bush in my backyard.  My wife likes it so very much and she even uses soaps made with its scent. I did not know until today it was a kind of perfume which was mentioned in John 12:1-12 below.

Jesus Anointed at Bethany

John 12:1-11 NIV

1Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with Him.
3 Then Mary took about a pint 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.
4But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray Him, objected, 5“Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “[It was intended] that she should save this perfume for the day of My burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have Me.”
9Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of Him but also to see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. 10So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in Him.

Verse 7: “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “[It was intended] that she should save this perfume for the day of My burial.”

Greek Text
επεν ον ησος· φες ατν, να ες τν μέραν το νταφιασμο μου τηρήσ ατό·

Literal Translation
“Let her alone: against (or for) the day of my burying has she kept this.”

Do not disturb her in what she does, or hinder her, or blame her for it. For (or against) the day of my burial has she kept this.  This ointment - pure nard, which she now poured on Christ, was usual to embalm the dead with ointments and spices. Christ suggests that the time of His death and burial were nearer, and that this woman had kept this ointment till now for such a purpose and she had embalmed His body with it now beforehand though without having any knowledge of His death, but the Holy Spirit so directing her.

Six days before the Passover Jesus arrives in Bethany. In Bethany, Mary, sister of Lazarus uses a pint of pure nard to anoint Jesus’ feet. Judas Iscariot, the keeper of the money bag, asked why the ointment was not sold for three hundred denarii instead (about a year's wages, as the average agricultural worker received one denarius for 12 hours work. See Matthew 20:2) and the money given to the poor.

Two passages in parallel (Matthew 26:6–13, and Mark 14:3–9) speak of an occasion two days before the Passover, in which an unnamed woman anoints Jesus’ head. The costly perfume she used came from an alabaster jar, and contained nard according to the passage in Mark.

In Song of Solomon 4:14, the female lover uses spikenard.

“Nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes,
and all the finest spices.

Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi): also called nard, nardin, and muskroot is a flowering plant of the Valerian family that grows in the Himalayas of Nepal, China, and India. The plant grows to about 1 m in height and has pink, bell-shaped flowers. It is found in the altitude of about 3000–5000 meters. Spikenard rhizomes (underground stems) can be crushed and distilled into an intensely aromatic amber-colored essential oil, which is very thick in consistency. Nard oil is used as a perfume, an incense, a sedative, and an herbal medicine said to fight insomnia, birth difficulties, and other minor ailments.

Lavender (genus Lavandula) was also known by the ancient Greeks as naardus, nard, after the Sanskrit ‘narada’, or ‘nalada’. The scent of spikenard attracts cats, a strange phenomenon in itself.

Source : Wikipedia

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