Subject: Re: The Alabaster - Jar
I recently read your Email concerning the alabaster "box" referred to in
Matthew and I would like to offer some commentary.
We are abba anointing oil co. We have offices and production facilities both
in Jerusalem as well as Houston, Tx. (our main office). We produce a variety
of biblical oils such as Frankincense & Myrrh, Rose of Sharon, Lily of the
Valley and most recently Spikenard. Spikenard is sometimes referred to as
"Nard" in the botanical reference books. We have conducted extensive studies
on Spikenard for the last three years and in-depth studies of the types of
containers with which oil was carried during ancient times. Fragrant oil in
ancient times was carried in what was called an "alabastron" a conical shaped
container. In the case of Matthew's account this "alabastron" or alabaster
container had a seal at the top as would any other expensive material of the
day. The "jar" or container had a lid which was closed by a seal. Sometimes
the seal had a small piece of cloth (such as linen or cotton) over the
opening of the jar, then the lid was placed on and next came the seal.
Sometimes the seal was covered with wax and twine so that the lid would stay
on firm, thus allowing the integrity of its contents to remain in tact. We
believe it was the seal which was broken so that the precious perfume could
be poured out. The breaking of the seal was a traditional method of opening
a vessel during ancient times in the perfume industry. This type oil was
processed from a root plant Nard. The Nard was found in the country which is
now called India. Alabaster then, as well as now only is produced in a few
countries in the world, Italy, Greece, India and China. Since the Spikenard
perfumed oil was produced in ancient India it is reasonable to assume that
the alabaster container possibly came from the same country. There is no
historical data relating to oils ever being contained in a "box". All of the
scholars that we have consulted agree that the term "box" should have been
"jar" or something similar. Think about this, if you broke a box and
attempted to anoint someone, it stands to reason that you would have
fragments of the broken box in the oil and would most likely cut the person
with the sharp edges of the broken pieces. Again, there is no historical
evidence of any "box breaking". However, we have scriptural references of
pouring out of oil such as on Aaron's' beard. Another tradition in ancient
times was to anoint the forehead of a guest that has come to a persons home.
This was done as a general custom of welcome as well as to give the person
who might have traveled some distance a nice smell. The fragrant smell would
cover the not so fragrant smell of the person from the journey. It was also
the custom to wash the feet a a guest, remember that back then most of the
roads and paths were dirt and would have been very dusty. The symbol of
washing feet or in the case of Matthew's account, anointing the feet was a
very humbling experience. It was an extremely costly gesture to anoint with
the Spikenard someone's feet as opposed to use this as a perfume.
We hope we have been able to shed some light on this matter which we think
has been misunderstood.
We are just a short time away from offering our Spikenard and alabaster jars
(container, flask) to individuals and ministries. Our beautiful alabaster
jars are fashioned as in ancient times and our Spikenard compounded as it was
Blessings to you in the name of Yeshua Messiah.
Rodger & Greer Kenworthy
abba anointing oil co.
To educate, train and equip for study both the Jew and
Non-Jew in the Rich Hebraic Heritage of our Faith.
Please visit the Hebraic Roots Global Network
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1999 Feast of Tabernacles Celebration
Hebraic Roots of Christianity Conference
September 24 - October 3, 1999
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"... the fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be
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in the year. It shall be a statute FOREVER in your
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Randy Felton .... Potter's Clay Ministries
Dr John D. Garr .. Restoration Foundation
Ken & Lenore Mullican ... HaKesher Ministries
Doug & George Dolly ..... Messianic Congregation Leaders
Dean Wheelock .......... Hebrew Roots Ministries
Eddie Chumney .......... Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int'l
Robert Somerville ....... Awareness Ministries
Steven Berkowitz ....... Hineni Ministries Int'l
Dr. Danny Ben-Gigi ...... Hebrew Language Instructor
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