World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
1. Jesus came to Bethany. We see that they judged too rashly who thought that Christ would not come to the feast, 22 “Ne viendroit point a la feste.” (John 11:56;) and this, reminds us that we ought not to be so hasty as not to wait patiently and quietly, till the season arrive, which is unknown to us. Now Jesus came first to Bethany, that thence he might go three days afterwards to Jerusalem. Meanwhile, he intended to give Judas a fit time and place for betraying him, that he might present himself, ready to be sacrificed, at the appointed time; for he is not ignorant of what is to take place, but willingly comes forward to be sacrificed.
Having come to Bethany six days before the passover, he remained there four days; which may easily be inferred from Matthew and Mark. On what day the banquet was made for him, at which he was anointed by Mary, John does not state; but it seems probable that it took place not long after he had arrived. There are some who think that, the anointing mentioned by Matthew (Matthew 26:7) and Mark (Mark 14:3) is different from what is mentioned here; but they are mistaken. They have been led to adopt this view by a calculation of time, because the two Evangelists, (Matthew 26:2; Mark 14:1,) before relating that Christ was anointed, speak of two days as having elapsed. But the solution is easy, and may be given in two ways. For John does not say that Christ was anointed on the first day after his arrival; so that this might happen even when he was preparing to depart. Yet, as I have already said, there is another conjecture which is more probable, that he was anointed one day, at least, or two days, before his departure; for it is certain that Judas had made a bargain with the priests, before Christ sent two of his disciples to make ready the passover. 33 “Pour faire apprester la Pasque.” Now, at the very least, one day must have intervened. The Evangelists add, that he
sought a convenient opportunity for betraying Christ,
after having received the bribe. When, therefore, after mentioning two days, they add the history of the anointing, they place last in the narrative what happened first. And the reason is, that after having related the words of Christ,
You know that after two days the Son of man shall be betrayed,
they now add — what had been formerly omitted — in what manner and on what occasion he was betrayed by his disciple. There is thus a perfect agreement in the account of his having been anointed at Bethany.
2. There therefore they made him a banquet. Matthew (Matthew 26:7) and Mark, (Mark 14:3) say that he then supped at the house of Simon the leper. John does not mention the house, but shows plainly enough, that it was in some other place than the house of Lazarus and Martha that he supped; for he says that Lazarus was one of those who sat at table with him, that is, one who had been invited along with Christ. Nor does it involve any contradiction, that Matthew and Mark relate that the head of Christ was anointed, while John relates that his feet were anointed. The usual practice was the anointing of the head, and on this account Pliny reckons it an instance of excessive luxury, that some anointed the ankles. The three Evangelists agree in this; that Mary did not anoint Christ sparingly, but poured on him a large quantity of ointment. What John speaks, about the feet, amounts to this, that the whole body of Christ, down to the feet, was anointed. There is an amplification in the word feet, which appears more fully from what follows, when he adds, that Mary wiped his feet with her hair