The Life of Jesus in Harmony
Nard (nard; Heb. nerd; Gk. nardos). An aromatic oil extracted from an East
Indian plant, Nardostachys jatamansi,. (Song 4:13; Mk 14:3; Jn 12:3).
It was a costly oil derived from the dried roots and stems of the nard, an
herb of Asia. This oil was used as a liquid or made into an ointment. Solomon
praised the fragrance of spikenard. Spikenard was imported from India in
alabaster boxes. These were stored and used only for special occasions. When
household guests arrived, they were usually anointed with this oil. Jesus
was anointed on two occasions as an honored guest (Mk 14:3; Jn 12:3).
Many spikes grew from a single nard root which produced clusters of pink
flowers. The stems were covered with hair, giving them a woolly appearance. Some
translations of the Bible refer to spikenard as nard.
Such passages as the following: "Oil and perfume make the heart glad" (Prov.
Perfumes were generally in the form of ointments, incense, or extracted by
some process of boiling and then mixed with oil. Perfumes entered largely into the Temple
service, in the two forms of incense and ointment (30:22-38). Nor were they
less used in private life; not only were they applied to the person but to
garments (Ps. 45:8; Song 4:11) and to articles of furniture, such as beds (Prov.
7:17). The use of perfumes was omitted in times of mourning (Is 3:24).
OILS AND OINTMENTS
Funereal. Perfumes as well as oil were used to anoint dead bodies and the
clothes in which they were wrapped (Mt 26:12; Mk 14:3,8; Lk 23:56; Jn 12:3-7;