Previous Next

Table of Contents


Spikenard (Heb. ne╠érd) is mentioned twice in the Old Testament, viz., in Song 1:12; 4:13–14. The ointment with which our Lord was anointed as he sat at meat in Simon’s house at Bethany consisted of this precious substance, the costliness of which may be inferred from the indignant surprise manifested by some of the witnesses of the transaction. See Mark 14:3–5; John 12:3, 5. (Spikenard, from which the ointment was made, was an aromatic herb of the valerian family (Nardostachys jatamansi). It was imported from an early age from Arabia, India, and the Far East. The costliness of Mary’s offering (300 pence = $45) may best be seen from the fact that a penny (denarius, 15 to 17 cents) was in those days the day-wages of a laborer. Matt. 20:2. In our day this would equal at least $300 or $400.—Ed.)