Jesus Is Anointed (Mark 14:1–11)

This section is excerpted from The Gospel according to Mark, by Julie M. Smith, p. 703-726. It contains the New Rendition, notes on each verse, and analysis. 

New Rendition

1 It would be the Passover, and the feast of unleavened  bread,  after  two  days. And  the  chief  priests  and  the  scriptorians  were  looking  for  a  way  that  they  might kill him [after] having taken him by stealth. 2 For they were saying, “Not during  the  feast,  or  there  will  be  a  riot  by the people.” 3 And being in Bethany, in the house of  Simon  the  leper,  being  reclined  [at  the  table],  there  came  a  woman  having  an  alabaster  flask  of  expensive  ointment  of  pure  nard;  having  broken  the  alabaster  flask,  she  poured  it  on  his  head.  4  But  some  were  angry  among  themselves:  “Why  was  this  ointment  wasted?  5  For  this  ointment  could  have  been  sold  for  more  than  a  year’s  wages and [the money] have been given to the poor.” And they were scolding her. 6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone.  Why  do  you bother her? She did a good work in me. 7 For ‘you always have the poor with you,’ and whenever you want to, you are able to do them good. But me you do not always  have.  8  She  did  what  she  could:  she  came  before  the  fact  to  anoint  my  body  for  burial.  9  Amen,  I  say  to  you:  wherever  the  good  news  is  proclaimed  in  the  whole  world,  what  she  has  done  will also be told in memory of her.” 10 And Judas Iscariot, the one of the Twelve,  went  away  to  the  chief  priests  that  he  might  betray  Jesus  to  them.  11  And  having  heard,  they  rejoiced  and  promised  to  give  him  money.  And  he  was  looking  for  a  good  opportunity  to  betray him.


14:1 After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: In first-century Jewish time keeping, “after two days” meant what modern readers would consider to be the next day, so Mark is describing the day before Passover (Ex. 12), or the Wednesday of the final week of Jesus’ life.

The word “Passover” in Mark is the transliteration of the Aramaic term for Passover. The Passover lamb was ritually sacrificed in the afternoon of the 14th day of the month of Nisan (which corresponds to March or April) and then eaten after sunset, which was the 15th of Nisan (since the new day began at sunset). The dates for the feast of unleavened bread were the 15th to the 21st of Nisan (Ex. 12:15–20). Originally, the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread were two separate celebrations, but they had merged into one before Jesus’ time as a result of the proximity of their dates.

This verse is the first instance in Mark when a time reference can be linked to a specific date on the calendar; it contrasts with Mark’s frequent use of the term “immediately.” The specificity of this date would have signaled to the audience that something different—something extremely important—was about to happen. It is thus an ideal introduction to the Passion narrative in general and the anointing of Jesus in particular.

There is great irony in the celebration of Passover in Roman-occupied Jerusalem. The volatility of celebrating the liberation from a foreign power in a city controlled by a foreign power was not lost on the Romans, who recognized that rebellion was more likely during Passover.[1]

and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death: The audience has already learned of the plot to arrest Jesus (11:18; 12:12), so this is not new information. The only novel element is the idea of taking Jesus by stealth. It underlines Jesus’ innocence.[2]

Because Jesus’ prophecies of his death mentioned the role of these religious leaders (8:31; 10:33), the audience understands that Jesus is not losing control of events; rather, this is an illustration of his prophetic ability.

14:2 But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people: The concern is that the people assembled for Passover would riot (KJV: “uproar”) if they knew that Jesus was arrested. This fear was not unreasonable: the Passover celebration swelled the population of Jerusalem to perhaps half a million people, and they were primed by the celebration itself to react to the oppressive behavior of a foreign power.

The concern with rioting implies that Jesus was popular with the crowd. There is a substantial difference between the leadership (who want Jesus arrested) and the people (who would riot if that happened). This distinction is important: it is not the case that “the Jews” were hostile to Jesus in Mark’s Gospel; the opposition is limited to (some of) the Jewish leadership. The Jewish people supported Jesus to the point of making his arrest difficult.

Jesus will eventually be arrested during the Passover (14:43–53) but only because of Judas’ betrayal.

14:3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat: During Jesus’ time in Jerusalem, he retires to Bethany overnight and then returns to the city each day.

The reference to Simon “the leper” is surprising. Lepers were considered ritually unclean (Lev. 13), and as a result they were not permitted to mingle freely with others and certainly not to host meals in their homes. There are several possible explanations for why the meal is set in a leper’s home:

  1. Most interpreters assume that Simon had previously been healed, perhaps even by Jesus. Jesus has previously healed a leper (1:40–45), but since that leper was not named it is rather unlikely that Mark’s audience would have associated Simon the leper with that story.
  1. Jesus has in the past eaten with people who were ritually unclean (2:16), so perhaps he was willing to eat in the home of a If so, Jesus’ willingness to take on uncleanness on the eve of Passover is a significant departure from Mosaic law (Num. 9:6–12).
  2. Mark states that the meal was in Simon’s home, which does not necessarily mean that Simon was present: he may have been away or even
  3. Simon was a fairly common name, so Mark may not have intended to call attention to his leprosy but rather to distinguish him from Simon Peter. There may even be a contrast to Simon Peter, who might have been expected to arrange hospitality for
  4. Perhaps Simon the leper was known to Mark’s early audiences and this is why Mark mentions his name (see the Notes on 15:21).
  5. In 14:9, Jesus says that the anointing woman’s story will be told worldwide, but her name is not included in the This is a classic example of Markan irony, heightened by way of contrast with the host of the meal, who plays no real role in the story but is nonetheless named.

Deciding between these options is difficult. Regardless, the reference to leprosy would have surprised—if not shocked—the audience with its implication of uncleanness. Further, lepers were regarded as the equivalent of the dead,[3] and so the reference primes the audience for the themes explored in this story: Jesus’ later statement about his burial (14:8) garners new meaning if understood to have figuratively taken place in the realm of the dead. And if the leper had been healed, it is as if he had returned from the dead. Mark might be intentionally playing on the audience’s inability to determine whether Simon is recovered in order to emphasize how life and death intertwine: the infected leper casts the pall of death while the audience’s likely conclusion that the leper is healed suggests a return from the dead.

The word translated as “sat” implies that they were reclining on their sides. By Jesus’ time, Greek custom had prevailed among Jews—at least among those who could afford reclining couches—so that festive meals (and perhaps other meals as well) were usually eaten while reclining.

there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious: The word “came” implies that this woman is not a guest at the dinner; rather, she enters the home during the meal—which is unusual behavior.

The woman is not identified, which is ironic given that Jesus will later say that her story should be told wherever the gospel is preached. Her namelessness makes her paradigmatic of a woman completely devoted to Jesus. She will receive more praise from Jesus than anyone else in this Gospel; her anonymity may be a necessary counterpart to this high praise.

The phrase “alabaster box” translates a Greek word that refers to a vial made of alabaster. It would have had a long, narrow neck. “Ointment” refers to a liquid oil while “spikenard” is the oil from the root of nard, a plant from India. Left untranslated in the KJV is the Greek word pistikos, whose meaning is uncertain (this is its only use in Mark), but possibilities include:

  1. The oil is pure or unadulterated, which would suggest its
  2. The word pistikos sounds similar to the word “pistachio” in Aramaic, so it is possible that it is describing the kind of oil used, although this seems to conflict with the idea that it is
  3. Perhaps Mark has transliterated the name of the plant into Greek, but this suffers from the same problem as option two

While certainty is not possible, it is clear that Mark’s ample description of the ointment indicates its significance.

and she brake the box, and poured it on his head: Contra the KJV, this is not a box but a vial. She has snapped (KJV: “brake”) the neck of the vial. Breaking the vial was not necessary. After all, there must have been an opening to put the oil into the vial in the first place; it would have had a stopper of some sort, perhaps wax or cloth. The breaking of the vial indicates that the woman is not preserving either the container or any oil for future use. And because broken vials were sometimes left in the tombs after corpses were anointed, the broken vial itself became a symbol for death (Eccl. 12:6; Jer. 13:12–14) and thus might have suggested that association for Mark’s audience.

Four different verbs describe the woman’s actions (“came,” “having,” “brake,” and “poured”) in this verse, while Jesus is passive.

There are many reasons for anointing in the biblical world: it could be a simple act of hospitality, the coronation of a king, the ordination of a priest, or the preparation of a body for burial (see the Analysis of 14:1–11).

14:4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said: The “some” are not identified; they are presumably other diners at the meal and may or may not be disciples.

Why was this waste of the ointment made: The word “waste” (Greek: apōleia) could be translated as “destruction”; it is a cognate of the word for “destroy” (Greek: apollumi) used in the plot against Jesus’ life (3:6; 11:18). The objectors believe the ointment to have been wasted, but Jesus’ response will show that they are sorely mistaken: they only recognize the financial value of the ointment and not the symbolic value of the anointing. Their objection and Jesus’ response to it point to a crucial symbolic meaning for the anointing; otherwise, its use would indeed have been a waste.

And yet, in an ironic sense, the woman has “destroyed” the oil—through an enacted parable of the destruction of Jesus’ body, which she prophetically anticipates.

14:5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor: “Pence” translates the Greek word dēnarion, which was roughly one day’s wage for a common worker,[4] so the ointment cost more than a year’s wages. This is an incredibly large sum of money to spend on anointing oil. Further, the word translated as “more than” makes the oil of limitless value.

And they murmured against her: It is unclear whether this murmuring is internal to the group of objectors or whether they are speaking directly to the woman, but Jesus’ command to leave her alone (see the next verse) probably implies the latter. In either case, this line emphasizes their com- plaint against her.

14:6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me: Jesus does not permit their criticism of the anointing to stand unchallenged. The word “good” intimates moral goodness and is an important element in the story: a surprisingly large number of interpreters assume that the woman’s anointing had no particular purpose to her, but Jesus would not have labeled her action as good if it had no motive or intent.

It is probably preferable to translate “in me” instead of “on me” since the Greek preposition en is used here. “In me” connotes the anointing affects Jesus in a profound and deeper sense than “on me” might suggest and is therefore more appropriate given the significant symbolism of the anointing (see the Notes on 14:8 on the symbolism of the anointing).

The story of Jesus’ anointing shares vocabulary with the story of the Creation. The word “work” (Greek: ergon) is closely associated with God’s  work[5] in creation, suggesting that the anointing woman was doing the work of God. God’s work in the Creation is repeatedly described as “good” (Greek: kalos) (LXX Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31), using the same Greek word that Jesus uses to describe the anointing woman’s action and thus further suggesting a link between God and the anointing woman.

14:7 For ye have the poor with you always: Jesus’ words allude to Deuteronomy 15:11, where the statement that the poor would always be with them is immediately followed by a command to help them. That text describes the practice of releasing debts every seventh year, which was designed to minimize economic inequality (Deut. 15:4). Deuteronomy focuses on the motivation for lending money—which should not be to gain wealth by accumulating interest but rather to assist someone in need— in light of the knowledge that the year of debt release is approaching; it asserts that one who refuses to lend money under these circumstances is sinful (Deut. 15:9–10). By referencing this text, Jesus intimates that the woman, although aware that his death is near and that she will not have her generosity repaid, still chose to give to him freely and thus honored the law. By contrast, those who object to the anointing are like those who do not lend money for fear of the impending debt release. The allusion to the Deuteronomy text might also contain an implicit criticism of the objectors’ plan: selling the oil and giving the proceeds to the poor is not enough; what is required is a regular release of debts and a willingness to loan money even when the year of release is approaching.

and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always: The word “me” is emphasized in this line.

The contrast is not between Jesus and the poor but rather between “whensoever” and “not always.” In other words, the obligation to care for the poor is ongoing; one can always help the poor. But the opportunity   to do a good work for Jesus in his mortal life is almost over. The objectors do not realize that this is a special time—the last few days of Jesus’ mortal life—but the woman does recognize this, and she acts according to her prophetic foreknowledge. This line constitutes another prediction of Jesus’ death.

14:8 She hath done what she could: This line is a classic example of Markan irony: it suggests that she did (only) what she was capable of doing. And yet, as the story suggests, what she was capable of doing was performing an anointing that explained Jesus’ identity—not a minor feat by any measure. Note: See also the discussion of the JST for 14:8 in appendix I: “The Joseph Smith Translation.”

she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying: The use of “aforehand” affirms that the woman understood that Jesus was going to die soon. This is especially significant given the reaction to Jesus’ prophecies of his coming death: the disciples have been told three times that Jesus will suffer and die, but they still struggle to understand what this means and sometimes actively reject his teachings. By contrast, the anointing woman understands that his death is near, and she responds appropriately. The fact that this oil was extremely costly—which is emphasized in this story—suggests that something in addition to a standard burial anointing was intended.

14:9 Verily I say unto you: This phrase is used by Jesus to emphasize the truthfulness and importance of whatever follows it; see also the Notes on 3:28. It is significant that “Jesus’ comment on the woman’s prophetic anointing is his lengthiest and most positive pronouncement on the words or deeds of any person preserved by the evangelist Mark.”[6]

Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world: This verse points to the Resurrection: Jesus just mentioned his own death, and the preaching of the gospel presumes that his death is not the end of his relevance. It also prophesies the spread of the gospel to the entire world. One can only imagine how Mark’s audience would have reacted to hearing this line since they were, in the moment of hearing it, witnessing that this statement had come true: the gospel was being preached and the story of the anointing was being told to them.[7]

this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her: Both “preached” (in the previous line) and “spoken of ” envision the oral presentation of the gospel (not the spread of a written text). The word translated as “shall be spoken of” is in the future tense, so Jesus is indicating—either prophetically or as a commandment—that the anointing story will be told. The term “memorial” is used in LXX Exodus for the way in which God remembers the people of Israel and the way in which the people are to remember God (Ex. 3:15; 12:14; 13:9; 28:12). If Mark’s audience caught this allusion, it would have strongly emphasized the importance of the anointing by associating it with the biblical rituals of remembrance. It would have suggested a dimension of covenant enactment or renewal to the woman’s actions. The anointing would be taken as evidence of God’s involvement with the people; the woman’s act manifests this involvement by demonstrating the accessibility of God’s power to all people who would use it to honor Jesus.

The phrase “for a memorial” is often found in funerary inscriptions. Its use here would then be ironic since the death in view is Jesus’—not the woman’s. There might be a bit of Atonement theology at play, since she is the one garnering a memorial for an action related to his death. And to the extent that “for a memorial” evokes the thought of the woman’s death in the minds of Mark’s audience, Jesus is suggesting that his death is profoundly related to her death, an idea that also points to the Atonement.

Relationship to HB Texts. The story of Jesus’ anointing in Mark gains nuance from its relationship to several different HB texts:

  1. Hannah (1 Sam. 2). Hannah shares an important trait with the anointing woman. In Hannah’s song of praise, she is the first regular Israelite to refer to the coming anointed one (1 2:10).[8] It is significant that the first person in the HB to recognize the coming Messiah, as well as the first person in Mark’s story of Jesus to recognize him, are both female.
  2. Samuel (1 10). The story of the anointing of Saul as king by the prophet Samuel forms a significant backdrop to Jesus’ anointing in Mark. An allusion to Samuel’s act of pouring oil on Saul’s head would have signified to Mark’s audience that Jesus was being anointed as a king. And given that 1 Samuel 9:15–16 shows the Lord telling Samuel whom to anoint (see also 1 Sam. 16:12), a comparison of these texts suggests that the anointing woman had a similar revelation regarding whom she should anoint. Although not in the KJV, the LXX (and most modern English translations) includes the following text at the end of 1 Samuel 10:1: “And you shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their enemies round about. And this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you to be prince over his heritage.” Next, a very specific prophecy of instruction is given and immediately fulfilled (1 Sam. 10:2–9). A similar story follows Jesus’ anointing: Jesus tells some of his disciples about arrangements for the Last Supper, and they find everything to be as he predicted (14:13–16). In both cases, the quickly filled prophecy verifies the authenticity of the anointing.
  1. Psalm 23. Psalm 23 has several interesting resonances with the anointing story, particularly in its LXX iteration (LXX Ps. 22). Both texts involve the anoint- ing of the head at a meal in the presence of enemies. Psalm 23:5 mentions preparing a table for a meal, which resonates with the next story in Mark, where two disciples prepare the Passover meal for Jesus. In the context of the entire psalm, Psalm 23:5 implies that the anointing is a comfort to the speaker and may therefore suggest that the anointing would be a comfort to Jesus as he faces his suffering and death.
  2. Song of Solomon. A passage from the Song of Solomon—a book that was read as part of the Passover observance—reads: “your anointing oils are fragrant; your name is oil poured out” (ESV Song 1:3). The references in Song 1:12 to a king and to nard are also echoed in the anointing story. Note that “the word shem, which means name or reputation, resembled the word shemen, which means oil or ointment, and the two words are associated with Ecclesiastes vii. 1: ‘A good name is better than precious oil.’”[9] These echoes would have primed Mark’s audience to link Jesus’ anointing with naming (see the Analysis of 14:1–11 on the symbolism of the anointing).
  3. The Messianic Feast. The messianic feast is the idea that the coming of the Messiah can be symbolized by a lavish banquet. Isaiah 25 develops this imagery. LXX Isaiah 25:6 departs from the Hebrew text in a significant way: it describes the messianic banquet as including anointing with ointment. The significance of this allusion is that it implies that the woman turned an otherwise-ordinary meal into a messianic feast, reflecting her knowledge that the Messiah was indeed present.

Relationship to Other Stories in Mark. The anointing takes pride of place in Mark’s Gospel and it has significant resonances with many other stories in Mark:

  1. John the Baptist. John the Baptist and the anointing woman effectively book- end Jesus’ public ministry. In both cases, a ritual action (baptism and anointing) is performed by a faithful disciple. Both John and the anointer prepare the way of the Lord (1:3). Substantial parallels link Jesus’ baptism and his anointing.[10] At the baptism, the Spirit descends on (or “into”; see the Notes on 1:10) him. Because Isaiah 61:1 links having the Spirit with being anointed,[11] a close auditor of Mark’s text might have found a link between Jesus’ baptism (which inaugurates his public ministry) and his anointing (which concludes it). Much as the Spirit equipped Jesus for his life’s work, the anointing prepares Jesus for his suffering and death. Both stories include the idea of descent, with the Spirit descending at baptism and the oil descending at the anointing. Both stories teach Mark’s audience about Jesus’ identity: much as the voice from heaven proclaims that Jesus is the beloved Son, the anointing enacts Jesus’ identity as a royal but suffering Messiah. Each of these events is followed by temptations: the baptism by the temptations in the wilderness and the anointing by the temptation to avoid suffering (14:36), and both events would have prepared Jesus to be successful in the face of these temptations. Part of this preparation stemmed from the fact that both actions reinforced his identity.
  1. The Healings of Simon’s Mother-in-Law and the Leper (1:29–31, 40–45). In Mark, Jesus’ ministry was inaugurated with the healing of a woman and of a leper, so it is appropriate that a woman and a leper have key roles in the final story of that His ministry began and ended in the house of a Simon (1:29; 14:3). But now, the woman and the leper are serving Jesus instead of being served by him; this inversion suggests that one result of Jesus’ life is that those who once needed his care will now be able to serve others.[12] While extremely speculative, it is worth considering whether the woman and leper of chapter 1 could be the same people as in 14:3–9. There are some significant resonances between the stories: Simon’s mother-in-law ministers (Greek: diakoneō) to Jesus and his disciples (1:31), and the anointing woman’s act could be described as ministering. In chapter 1, the woman is named and the leper is not, while the reverse is the case in chapter 14. Jesus commanded the leper to “say nothing to any [one]” (1:44), but in chapter 14, Jesus states that the story of the anointing will be told wherever the gospel is preached. This inversion suggests that the anointing is crucial to understanding Jesus’ identity, but the healing of the leper might, on the other hand, sow confusion. The leper violates Jesus’ command by proclaiming (KJV: “publishing”; Greek: kēryssō); the same verb is used when Jesus refers to the proclamation of the woman’s deed (KJV: “preached”). Similarly, the same Greek verb (embrimaomai) is used to describe Jesus’ “straitly charg[ing]” (1:43) the leper and for the objectors’ “murmur[ing]” (14:5) against the woman. The purpose of this echo might be to emphasize the emotional content of each incident. And much as the proclamation of the leper’s healing made it difficult for Jesus to freely enter a town (1:45), the anointing apparently made it impossible for Jesus to openly enter Jerusalem (the preparations for the Last Supper suggest this) and led to Judas’ betrayal.

    Jesus raises the daughter of Jairus. Courtesy

  2. The Bleeding Woman (5:25–34). The story of the bleeding woman shares many similarities with the story of the anointing woman. First, both are structured to emphasize the theme of death: the bleeding woman’s story is surrounded by the story of the death of Jairus’s daughter, and the anointing is surrounded by the story of the plot to kill Jesus. Since Jairus’s daughter’s death foreshadows Jesus’ death (see the section “Relationship to the Resurrection” after the Notes on 5:42), the link between the two texts is strengthened. Both the bleeding woman and the anointing woman approach Jesus in socially unacceptable ways, but this does not concern Jesus in either story. In both cases an objection (the disciples wonder how Jesus can isolate one touch from the crowd; some complain about the waste of ointment) comes from those who do not understand what is happening. While the anointing woman prepares Jesus for his suffering and burial, the bleeding woman suffered many things—a word (Greek: penthō) used only for her and for Jesus in this Gospel (5:26; 8:31; 9:12). Additionally, the bleeding woman’s story indicates that she had spent all of her money (5:26); like the anointer, she is willing to give everything. The sandwiching of the bleeding woman’s story with that of Jairus’s daughter emphasizes each woman’s link to the tribes of Israel since the number twelve is associated with both (5:25, 42), while the anointing woman fills the role of Israel’s prophet by anointing Israel’s new king. Most importantly, like the other pivotal, truthful occurrences in Mark, these events are tactile instead of being primarily verbal. A chain of touching and reaction stretches through Mark, always involving women and Jesus: “The touch of the woman with the flow of blood preceded the raising of Jairus’s daughter. The touch of this [anointing] woman precedes the flow of Jesus’ own blood which in turn will precede his resurrection. She is in touch with him, present to him in a way that no one else is, in one act both preparing his body for death and acknowledging him as the anointed one, the Messiah.”[13]
  1. Peter’s Confession (8:27–30). While both stories are concerned with Jesus’ identity, there are profound differences between Peter’s announcement that Jesus is the Christ and the woman’s anointing The fact that Peter rebukes Jesus for teaching about his coming suffering suggests that Peter does not under- stand what it means to say that Jesus is the Christ (8:31–33). But the woman’s anointing act—which is both a royal and a burial anointing—shows that she does indeed understand that suffering is an integral part of Jesus’ messiahship. More significantly, Peter, upon learning that Jesus will suffer and die, attempts to change Jesus’ mind about his fate (8:32). But the woman, who has knowledge of Jesus’ coming suffering and death, does not try to dissuade him from his mission but rather honors that death through the act of anointing. Further, the woman uses actions (but no words) to convey this knowledge—a stark contrast to Peter, who struggles with the correct actions to correlate with his often-impetuous words. This explains why the anointing woman’s act pro- claiming that Jesus is the Anointed One is a story that must be told, while Peter was cautioned not to tell anyone that Jesus was the Anointed One.
  1. Jesus’ Temple Action (11:15–19). Mark has patterned Jesus’ relationship to the temple after the procedure outlined in Leviticus for dealing with a leprous house.[14]15 Leviticus prescribes, first, an examination of a leprous home where the priest empties it for inspection (Lev. 14:36–37), which is mirrored in Jesus’ examination of the temple (11:15–19). Later, the priest will return to inspect the house, and if it is still corrupt, “he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the mortar of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place” (Lev. 14:45). This line is echoed in Jesus’ prophecy that “there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (13:2). Given that it was not literally true that one stone was not left upon another, an allusion to Leviticus is all the more likely The leper’s possessions would be scattered since it was probably the leper’s greed (that is, the leper’s own unwillingness to charitably “scatter” his/her possessions) that was believed to have caused the disease in the first place. Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple shortly after noting the corruption and greed of the Jerusalem religious establishment. It is significant that most of the material between Jesus’ action in the temple and the prediction of its demise concerns Jesus’ encounters with the religious authorities; Jesus is, through these encounters, gathering evidence that the temple, as paradigmatic of the religious establishment, is as unclean as a leper’s house. Mark has condemned the temple as hopelessly leprous and incapable of fulfilling its functions. At the same time, it is in the actual house of a real leper that the anointing of the king occurs. Mark has made the leper’s house into a temple and the temple into a leper’s house. This is a classic example of Markan irony. Further, since burial anointings would normally take place in a tomb and lepers were often associated with the dead, the leper’s home is an entirely (ironically) appropriate place for a burial anointing.
  2. The Widow’s Offering (12:41–44). While the anointing story is linked to many other episodes in Mark’s Gospel, some of its closest ties are to the story of the widow in chapter 12:
    1. Both stories involve unnamed women.
    2. Both have a double mention of the poor, and both contrast the offerings of the rich and the offerings of the rich and poor.
    3. Jesus proclaims that each woman has given all that she has in a statement that defends the activities of each woman from a presumed or actual objection.
    4. A solemn saying (KJV: “verily”) concludes each story.
    5. Each of the widow’s coins total 1/128 of a denarius; thus the value of the widow’s gift contrasts sharply with the anointer’s gift, which was almost twenty thousand times more valuable. Mark suggests that the actual value of the gift is irrelevant; what really matters is giving all that one has. The widow’s gift of her whole life parallels Jesus’ gift, and the anointing woman’s gift defines what it means for Jesus to give his life, as well as predicting that event. Since both the temple and Jesus’ body are, in Mark’s Gospel, expected to be destroyed, in both cases the woman is making a gift to something doomed.
    6. Both the anointer and the widow are silent, yet both teach important truths through their actions.
    7. The gift, in a way, causes the destruction: the widow’s gift to the temple seems to be the catalyst for Jesus leaving the temple and prophesying its destruction, while the anointing motivates Judas to betray Jesus.
    8. Much as the idea of the blooming fig tree in chapter 13 points to the eventual return of the temple, a royal anointing of Jesus implies that his death is not permanent.

These numerous parallels suggest that the two stories are intended to frame the teachings of chapter 13:

evil scribes denounced (12:38–40)

 the widow’s offering (12:41–44)

teachings about discipleship (13:1–37)

the anointing (14:1–9)

plot to kill Jesus (14:10–11)

Jesus’ teachings in chapter 13 are framed and illustrated first by righteous women and then by evil men.[15] The evilness and the righteousness of each deed is emphasized via stark contrast. And much as the particular crime of “devour[ing] widows’ houses” (12:40) is contrasted with the widow’s offering, the plot to kill Jesus emphasizes the death motifs of the anointing. Note: See also the discussions of the anointing story after 14:11, 16, 21; and 16:8.

14:10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve: The odd triple naming here (Judas, Iscariot, one of the Twelve) is especially unusual since Judas has already been introduced (3:19). The point is to emphasize his nefariousness: it is one of Jesus’ closest disciples who betrays him. The article before the word “one” (“the one of the Twelve”) is as awkward in Greek as it is in English; this further emphasizes Judas’ position in the Twelve.

went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them: The New Rendi- tion changes “him” to “Jesus” (despite the fact that the Greek text has the pronoun) for clarity.

The most likely scenario is that the act of betrayal was for Judas to tell the authorities when Jesus is in Gethsemane; by providing them with information about a time and a place to arrest Jesus away from the crowd, Judas makes it possible for them to capture Jesus without causing a riot (compare 14:1–2).

In Mark’s Gospel, the immediate cause of Judas’ desire to betray Jesus is the anointing, perhaps due to its symbolic connotations. But it is also possible that there is an undercurrent of sexism, since “Men can get very angry when other men elevate women over them.”[16]

Relationship to the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53). Several HB texts refer to the “suffering servant,” who was interpreted by early Christians to be Jesus. In LXX Isaiah 53:6 and 12, language very similar to what is here translated as “betray him unto them” is used. Mark’s audience might have caught the allusion and understood Jesus to be the suffering servant who was handed over.

14:11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money: Mark’s Gospel never suggests that Judas’ motive is money; his motive is not stated in the text, although the anointing seems to be the precipitating event. Rather, money is only mentioned after Judas approaches the authorities.

The chief priests are glad because their problem (a desire to arrest Jesus without causing a riot) has been solved via Judas’ willingness to betray Jesus. They do not give Judas money here; presumably, that would only happen after Jesus was arrested.

And he sought how he might conveniently betray him: The words translated as “sought” and “how” are the same two words used in 14:1; this verbal similarity emphasizes Judas’ affinity with the chief priests and suggests that these verses bracket the anointing.


As Jesus’ statement that the anointing story should be told wherever the gospel is preached should suggest, the anointing is an extremely important story. “Christ” is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew “Messiah,” which means “the Anointed One,” and this is the story of his anointing—of what it means to say that Jesus is the Messiah or the Christ. It is likely that Jesus’ different reactions to being called “Christ” in 8:30–33 (where he limits the title) and 14:61–62 (where he accepts it) are attributable to the fact that one takes place before the anointing and the other after.

Anointing was a common practice in antiquity and was done for many different reasons: to begin a feast (Amos 6:6), to hallow objects (Gen. 31:13; Lev. 8:10), to adorn the body (Ruth 3:3), or to consecrate priests (Ex. 28:41) and kings (1 Sam. 15:1). Several themes developed around the concept of anointing, but particularly it served as an acknowledgment of divine election, implied an endowment of power from God, and conferred a spirit of wisdom. In general, anointing suggests “status transformation” that leads to a “new social role.”[17] And while anointing was a common practice in the ancient world, Mark’s story—particularly Jesus’ statement that it should be told whenever the gospel is preached—suggests that this is not an ordinary anointing. It has several symbolic meanings in Mark:

  1. A Burial Anointing. Jesus states that the woman has anointed his body for burying. Some interpreters think that the only reason the anointing is in the text is because Mark’s audience would have been distressed that Jesus’ corpse was not properly anointed after burial (16:1–8). However, it is more likely that early Christians would have denied the need for a proper burial since Jesus was resurrected, especially since the anointing story raises the question of whether this anointing would even constitute a proper burial anointing since it was performed before death. Nonetheless, this is a burial anointing and abounds in death symbolism. The same item of furniture (Greek: kline) is used to recline at a dinner and to lay out a corpse. The broken vial of oil, which was often left in the tomb with the dead, is itself a symbol of death and destruction (Eccl. 12:6; Jer. 13:12–14). And there is the suggestion that the house is a tomb since it is the home of a leper.
  2. A Royal Anointing. The anointing is in a context of profuse royal imagery, which began with Jesus’ entry into The anointing continues the messianic imagery that reaches its ironic climax in the mockery of the crucifixion (see the Analysis of 15:16–32). The fact that Jesus’ head is anointed supports the idea of it being a royal anointing; there is ample HB precedent for the anointing of the king’s head as part of the coronation ritual (1 Sam. 10:1; 1 Kgs. 1:39; 2 Kgs. 9:1–6; 2 Kgs. 11:12). Particularly relevant is Samuel’s anointing of Saul as king since both are followed by a quickly filled prophecy as a sign of authenticity. Although not every king in Israel was anointed, a king whose right to reign was disputed would have been anointed, and the kingship of Jesus is certainly disputed. Of course, the woman’s anointing inverts expectations at least as much as it fulfills them since she is not a prophet in Israel. But when Jesus says that she has anointed his body ahead of time for burial, he suggests that the woman has in fact acted prophetically. The royal anointing would normally take place in the most sacred of locations (a temple), but Jesus’ occurs in one of its most polluted (a leper’s home). While the audience would have understood that this was a royal anointing, they also would have seen it as reimagined in significant ways.

It is not the case that one or the other meaning for the anointing must be chosen. Rather, the symbolism of the anointing is multifaceted: Mark intends for the audience to view this as both a burial anointing and a royal anointing. The combination of meanings is essential to understanding the nature of Jesus’ mission: he is the Messiah, but he suffers and dies. An anointing that is at once a royal anointing and a burial anointing is the ideal vehicle by which to teach this truth: “It is no diminution of its royal significance when Jesus declares the anointing to be for his burial, for it is precisely the paradox of Christ’s royalty that he is enthroned through being entombed.”[18]

Taking both meanings simultaneously allows the interpreter to view the anointing as consistent with Mark’s major theological focus: the paradox of the victorious death. To see the royal, glorious Jesus without under- standing the reality of his suffering and death is to make Peter’s mistake (8:31–33); to see Jesus as one who suffers without any royal underpinning is to make the mistake of those who mock him in chapter 15.

The objection regarding the use of money in this story fits the pattern established in Mark: concern with money in Mark’s Gospel is always presented as negative. Two other references in Mark mention a denarius: the feeding miracle (6:37) and the controversy over paying taxes to Caesar (12:13–17). In these stories, money is the concern of those who do not understand Jesus. And yet the objection to the anointing is by far the most understandable of all of the criticisms lobbed at Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. Jesus had, after all, told the rich man to sell what he had and give to the poor (10:21), and the objectors are merely echoing that counsel here. And because the poor were given special gifts at Passover, their needs would have specifically been on the minds of those present. Jesus’ response will show that this objection is nonetheless mistaken and that a wooden, literalist approach to Jesus’ teachings is not appropriate: what he counseled in one setting is not necessarily appropriate in a different context. The fact that Jesus has taught that helping the poor is important implies that this act of anointing is even more important than aiding the poor; this is another factor pointing to the extreme significance of this anointing.

What the objectors had interpreted to be a waste, Jesus interprets as a good work. He is not focused on the monetary cost of the anointing (which, out of context, makes the act seem wasteful) but rather on its symbolic meaning, which renders it a good work. Obviously, caring for the poor is a good thing; Jesus’ words in 14:6 affirm as much. The point of Jesus’ response is not to downplay the need to care for the poor but rather to build on it: one of the clues for the audience to the importance of the anointing is precisely that it is even more important than care for the poor. Jesus has already taught this principle in the controversy concerning fasting (2:19), where he explained that his presence alleviated the obligation to fast. The anointing is another case where the presence of Jesus triggers unusual circumstances and requires a disciple to act in ways in which she or he might not otherwise act.

In Jewish tradition, there was a hierarchy where an unclean male was less unclean than an unclean woman, who was less unclean than a leper, who was less unclean than a corpse.[19] The anointing story involves a man, a woman, a leper, and a (future) corpse, and thus it makes Jesus’ verdict that her deed is “good” all the more significant: it is a strong commentary on Jesus’ relationship to the law of Moses.

The only other use of the word “work” (Greek: ergon) in Mark is to describe the assignments given to the servants in the parable at the end of the previous chapter (13:34). The proximity of that parable to the anointing makes it very likely that Mark’s early audiences would have interpreted the anointing woman’s work in its light. They would likely have concluded that she had been given her task by her master, that she had not undertaken it by her own initiative, and that she was faithfully completing her assigned task and thus observing the commandment to “watch.” This relationship is especially significant in light of the scene in Gethsemane, where Jesus’ inner circle of disciples will fail to watch despite repeated reminders from Jesus to do so.

Jesus’ quotation of Deuteronomy 15:11 evoked a text that criticized those who gave to the poor anticipating recompense. His praise of the woman implied that she, on the contrary, had acted without expectation of reward. And yet, in a classic instance of Markan irony, the woman is recompensed— richly—not only by Jesus’ praise but by his statement that turns her deed into a memorial to her wherever the gospel is preached. His words invite the audience to participate in the woman’s memorial by retelling her story. Jesus’ statement is unique in Mark: the woman’s action is permanently connected to Jesus’ story, a privilege given to no one else. Some interpreters suggest that the memorial is of Jesus, not of the woman, or that her memorial will be that her good deed is remembered by God on the day of judgment, but neither of these readings seem likely given the actual wording of Jesus’ statement.

Significantly, Mark’s Gospel contains no command to memorialize the Last Supper. The only event in Mark that Jesus asks to be remembered is his anointing. Mark’s Gospel envisions a continued role in the life of the early church, not for the ritual reenactment of the Last Supper but rather for storytelling and, particularly, telling the story of the anointing. This story can be read as the centerpiece of Mark’s Gospel. It is thus ironic that the woman’s name is not included in the account by which she will be memorialized. And yet the lack of a name is, in a sense, appropriate: “throughout the Gospel, naming has often been associated with the human desire for fame, glory, status, and authority, all longings that harden the heart and encourage fear rather than faith.”[20] And there might be yet another layer of irony in that the unnamed woman “names” Jesus through an act that explains what it means to say that Jesus is the Christ.

Latter-day Saint readers will find a parallel between Jesus’ command that the woman’s deed be memorialized and the scene in the Book of Mormon where Jesus reviews the Nephite record and requests that the prophecies of Samuel the Lamanite be included (3 Ne. 23:7–13). In both cases, Jesus commands that certain material be included in the record; it is likely that, given cultural biases (against Lamanites and women) these particular stories might have otherwise been lost to history without Jesus’ intervention. Most significantly, both Samuel and the anointing woman testify of Jesus in profound ways.

It is likely that one reason why the anointing story has received less attention than it should is that the woman does not say anything. But Mark’s Gospel prefers deeds to words: Jesus does not speak nearly as often in Mark as in the other Gospels; he is more active and less verbal. The preference for action is particularly notable in the women in the text: although often silent, they are generally the true followers.

As discussed above, the allusion to the Song of Solomon primed the audience to think of the anointing as bestowing a name despite the silence of the woman. This type of naming is most appropriate to the Gospel of Mark where more traditional methods of naming often fail. It is particularly in the outbursts from the demons that the audience realizes that merely confessing the identity of Jesus verbally is not sufficient by Mark’s standards, especially in light of the ancient belief that to name someone is to gain power over him or her. The perverse proliferation of abused and abusive titles in the next chapter further shows their unreliability for Mark.

The only fact known about the anointer is that she is female—not that she is a Gentile, not that she is from Galilee, not that she is someone’s wife. (One can assume that she was a woman of means because she had expensive ointment at her disposal, but her only positive identifying marker is her gen- der.) The lack of other identifiers forces the audience to focus on her gender while making her femaleness the most relevant requirement for her task. It is possible that Mark leaves out her name in order to spare her dishonor. But other stories in Mark show a disregard for this type of social norm, so it is perhaps ironic that he leaves out her name (which is usually done to protect a woman’s modesty) in a situation where she is acting boldly and where Jesus proclaims that the entire world will know of her act. Names are suspect in Mark: Judas, with his triple naming (14:10), stands in sharp relief to the anonymous woman. Unnamed, the woman is more of a type (of the ideal disciple) than she is a distinct character, which is significant since she is taking on the role usually restricted to the one identified as a prophet in Israel.

The anointing story has much to contribute to the idea of discipleship in Mark’s Gospel. First, within the story itself, participants are given the opportunity to act as disciples—or not. “The anointing of Jesus by the woman may be interpreted as a prophetic sign which has the effect of a parable, dividing those present into two groups.”[21] Much as the parables in chapter 4, the anointing can be considered an enacted parable, revealing something about those who observe it. Describing the objectors as “some” implies the presence of others who do not disapprove of the anointing, and thus the woman’s action would have served the purpose of creating two groups: those who did and those who did not understand. This division exemplifies a pat- tern found throughout the Passion narrative: Jesus’ attackers speak out, but his defenders are silent.

But the key way in which discipleship operates in this story is to show the anointing woman as a model disciple. In Mark’s Gospel, it is not the Twelve but the anointing woman (among others) who is presented as an ideal. The disciples deny and avoid Jesus’ death, but the woman acknowledges it, honors it, and responds appropriately to it. Mark’s Gospel is focused on the theme of discipleship, and the anointing woman is presented as a model disciple.[22]

She also fits the pattern of other female characters who are exemplary minor characters, but the command to commemorate her act means that her link to Jesus is not as short-lived as most of the other stories in Mark. The anointer is the only person in Mark’s Gospel who understands Jesus’ identity during his mortal life. It is precisely because she presents a model for discipleship that makes it necessary for the story to be remembered. The broken vial and the complete use of the ointment serve as symbols of the completeness of her sacrifice and thus suggest that she foreshadows Jesus and his own sacrifice.

The anointing is the chief Christological material in the Gospel; this would explain why Jesus states that the story will be told wherever the gospel is preached. Because the anointing is a ritual action and not a simple spoken title (such as “Christ” or “Son of Man”), it is best able to reflect Mark’s Christological vision: “it is only in the relationship of the two facts— his identity as Messiah and his appearance as the crucified King of the Jews—that the truth of the story can be expressed.”[23] Jesus is named, not with a title, but through the silent action of a faithful follower. This type of naming is most appropriate to the Gospel of Mark where more traditional methods of naming fail. And the layered truth that Jesus must be simultaneously understood as a dying and a royal Messiah simply cannot be expressed in one small word. Mark’s Christology encapsulates a nuanced understanding, so one title cannot capture the full meaning. Even the title “Christ” is insufficient since, through the anointing, Mark redefines its meaning. The very fact that Mark is a narrative should suggest that Mark believes that truth is best conveyed by telling a story—not by one title or phrase.

Jesus links the woman’s deed to the proclamation of the gospel—the good news—of Jesus Christ. What is that good news and what are the implications of this Christological vision? The good news is that traditional expectations are inverted in the face of the inbreaking kingdom of God. Life and death are mysteriously intertwined, purity and impurity play, outsiders become insiders and insiders become outsiders, power comes from silence, words speak only betrayal, and gender barriers are shattered. But the most important and most curious paradox in Mark is the concept of the victorious death and the suffering Messiah.

Far removed from Jesus’ commands to silence (1:44; 5:43) is his statement that the anointing will be told wherever the gospel is preached. What accounts for the difference? The anointing story holds the key to the messianic secret in Mark: because the anointing encapsulates all of the significant dimensions of Jesus’ identity, it can be—it must be—told. By contrast, the healing of a leper or the exorcism of a demon or the Transfiguration would only reveal one aspect of Jesus’ identity and therefore lead to more confusion than clarity.

Oddly, many interpreters downplay the significance of the anointing. One suspects an androcentric perspective is the problem; this suspicion is sometimes confirmed outright, as when one interpreter writes that “in 14.8–9, Jesus speaks of his death and of the future of the gospel. The aura of this event is reduced, however, when the woman implicitly shares this knowledge.”[24]  Equally  disappointing  is  the  way  that  the  anointing  story has been (mis)treated by feminist interpreters. Perhaps they, too, have been hemmed in by their own preconceptions, particularly the idea that an anonymous, silent woman cannot be a key character. But in Mark’s presentation, this woman foreshadows Jesus: he “cast[s] the anonymous woman as a Christ-figure. Her extravagant love, expressed in an act of self-giving which provokes conflict, is an anticipation in the narrative of what will happen to Jesus himself.”[25] Much as Jesus will be vindicated by the empty tomb, the woman is vindicated by his words.

Many interpreters argue that the woman anointed him for no particular reason or simply as a kind gesture. But it is highly implausible that the woman had no symbolic intention. The fact that she is not given a motivation in the text is not a sufficient reason to assume that she has none: “for each person who acts with purpose a commission or task can be assumed.”[26]27 In cases where a person commits a deed with a duplicitous motive, Mark makes that motive clear so that the audience will not perceive the act as virtuous (9:5–6; 10:2; 11:28–32; 12:13). Since the woman’s act is specifically praised and no nefarious motivation is given, it is logical to assume that she intended the full symbolic meaning of the anointing. It is difficult to explain the lavish praise that Jesus gives to her act if she had no particular reason for anointing him.

With the key teaching that disciples are supposed to watch (13:33–37) fresh in their ears, Mark’s audience would have “watched” the anointing and realized its importance. Further, the only two concrete time references in the Gospel (14:1, 12) bracket the story of the anointing, which means that it is the only precisely timed act in the text and therefore forms a break in the narrative, reminiscent of a slow-motion scene in an action movie. So the narrative structure itself emphasizes the importance of the anointing.

Mark 14:1–11 is one of the clearest examples of Mark’s sandwiching technique:

A plot to kill Jesus (14:1–2)

B the anointing (14:3–9)

A plot to kill Jesus (14:10–11)

The shared language in 14:1 and 14:11 emphasizes that both passages concern the plot to kill. The framing of the anointing by the treacherous murder plans emphasizes the goodness of the woman’s deed. The terseness of 14:1–2 and 10–11 contrasts sharply with the details of the anointing, and, while the anointing is primarily concerned with actions instead of words, the murder plot is merely talk at this point. The furtiveness of the plotters is contrasted with the openness of the woman’s actions. Jesus’ prophecy that the woman’s act will be remembered throughout the whole world sharply contrasts with the desire that Jesus’ death plot be kept from the people. Finding out about the anointing is a part of the “good news”; finding out about the death plot would cause a riot. Further, there are strong contrasts between Judas and the anointing woman; Judas functions as a foil for the nameless, laudable woman. In the only two instances in the Gospel where money is spent on Jesus, the woman sacrifices her own great sum in order to show her love for Jesus while Judas receives compensation for betraying him. And while Judas is triply, redundantly named, the anointing woman is unnamed. Judas, the insider, betrays Jesus while the anointing woman, a literal outsider, enters the house to honor him. Additionally, the religious leaders (who should be insiders) show themselves to be outsiders— by plotting against Jesus and by their narrative position outside the meal scene—while a leper, the consummate outsider, becomes an insider since the anointing happens in his home.

The sandwiching structure also implies that it is the anointing that causes Judas to desire to betray Jesus. Similar to how the healing of the bleeding woman changes the trajectory of the story of Jairus’s daughter (in that case, from a healing to a raising), the anointing changes the frustration of the plotters, who cannot figure out how to arrest Jesus without causing a riot, to gladness because Judas has stepped forward to betray Jesus. It was probably the very act of the anointing—with its messianic connotations, flouting of social norms, and intimation of Jesus’ coming death—that pushed Judas to betray Jesus. One function of the sandwiching structure is to emphasize the relationship between the anointing and the plot to kill Jesus.

The anointing story is also the narrative bridge between Jesus’ life and death; it is both the last story relating events from his daily life and the first part of the story of his death. It is the hinge between the accounts of his life and his death; its location in the text mirrors its theological function since the anointing story explores the link between Jesus’ life and death.

[1] Josephus, Antiquities 14.2.1; 17.9.3; 20.5.3.

[2] Heil, Gospel of Mark as a Model for Action, 274.

[3] Josephus, Antiquities 3.11.3.

[4] Compare Matt. 20:2. Two hundred denarii would have been enough to feed five thousand people (see 6:37).

[5] Sabin, Reopening the Word, 194.

[6] Mary Ann Beavis, “Women as Models of Faith in Mark,” Biblical Theology Bulletin

18, no. 1 (1988): 7.

[7] John R. Donahue, Are You the Christ? The Trial Narrative in the Gospel of Mark (Mis- soula, Mont.: Society of Biblical Literature, 1973), 231.

[8] In Hannah’s case, the coming anointed one was the Israelite king. See also Julie M. Smith, “‘I Will Sing to the Lord’: Women’s Songs in the Scriptures,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 45 (Fall 2012): 56–69.

[9] Philip Carrington, According to Mark: A Running Commentary on the Oldest Gospel

(Cambridge Eng.: University Press, 1960), 306; italics in original.

[10] Miller, Women in Mark’s Gospel, 142–43.

[11] This link is also found in other texts where the Spirit is “poured out” like oil, including Isa. 44:3 and Joel 2:28–29.

[12] Sabin, Reopening the Word, 192.

[13] Susan Lochrie Graham, “Silent Voices: Women in the Gospel of Mark,” Semeia 54 (1991): 153.

[14] J. Duncan M. Derrett, “No Stone upon Another: Leprosy and the Temple,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 30 (1987): 3–20.

[15] Joanna Dewey, The Oral Ethos of the Early Church: Speaking, Writing, and the Gospel of Mark (Eugene, Ore.: Cascade Books, 2013), 75.

[16] Thomas E. Boomershine, The Messiah of Peace: A Performance-Criticism Commentary on Mark’s Passion-Resurrection Narrative (Eugene, Ore.: Cascade Books, 2015), 66.

[17] Santiago Guijarro and Ana Rodríguez, “The ‘Messianic’ Anointing of Jesus,” Biblical Theology Bulletin 41, no. 3 (2011): 137.

[18] Austin Marsden Farrer, A Study in St. Mark (London: Dacre Press, 1951), 129–30.

[19] Mishah Kelim 1:4.

[20] Tolbert, Sowing the Gospel, 293.

[21] Miller, Women in Mark’s Gospel, 134.

[22] Julie M. Smith, “‘She Hath Wrought a Good Work’: The Anointing of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel,” Studies in the Bible and Antiquity 5 (2013): 31–46.

[23] Donald Juel, A Master of Surprise: Mark Interpreted (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994), 41.

[24] Edwin K. Broadhead, Teaching with Authority: Miracles and Christology in the Gospel of Mark, vol. 74 of Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series (Sheffield, Eng.: JSOT Press, 1992): 180.

[25] Stephen C. Barton, “Mark As Narrative: The Story of the Anointing Woman (Mk 14:3–9),” Expository Times 102, no. 8 (1990–91), 232.

[26] Robert C. Tannehill, The Shape of the Gospels: New Testament Essays (Eugene, Ore.: Cascade Books, 2007), 165.