For this ointment might have been sold for much
Mark says, "for more than three hundred pence", ( Mark 14:5 ) : now if this is to be understood of Roman pence, each penny being seven pence half penny of our money, three hundred pence come to nine pounds, seven shillings, and six pence; but if it is to be understood of the penny of the sanctuary, which was one shilling and three pence, they come to just as much more: it might well be called very precious and costly ointment; and this was the reason of the disciples indignation, that so much cost and expense should be thrown away, as they thought, in such a manner, which might have been applied, in their opinion, to a better purpose. For had it been sold for its worth, so much might have been had for it,
and given to the poor;
which was a very plausible objection to the action; and which they seem to have taken from Judas, who had made the same, on a like occasion, about four days before this, and he might instigate the disciples now: which shows what mischief an hypocrite may do in a church, and what influence he may have over good men to draw them into his measures, under the specious pretences of carefulness, frugality, and doing good to the poor. It seems our Lord inured his disciples to this good work of relieving the poor: they kept one common purse, and one of them, who was Judas, was appointed the bearer of it; whatever they collected, or was made a present to them, they put into this purse; out of which they were provided with the necessaries of life; and the rest expended on the poor.