In the New Testament John 12:1–10, six days before the passover Jesus arrives in Bethany. In Bethany, Mary, sister of Lazarus uses a pint of pure nard to anoint Jesus's feet. Judas Iscariot, the keeper of the money-bag, asked why the ointment was not sold for three hundred denarii instead (about a year's wages, as the average agricultural worker received one denarius for 12 hours work: Matthew 20:2) and the money given to the poor. Two passages in parallel (Matthew 26:6–13, and Mark 14:3–9) speak of an occasion two days before the passover, in which an unnamed woman anoints Jesus's head. The costly perfume she used came from an alabaster jar, and contained nard according to the passage in Mark.
In Song of Songs, the female lover uses spikenard, and it is mentioned in the Song of Solomon (4,14):
nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes,
and all the finest spices.
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