[Jhn 12:1-8 KJV] 1 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. 3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. 4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's [son], which should betray him, 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. 7 Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. 8 For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.


KJV Song 1:12 While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.

1 Answer 1


According to UBS5, there are no allusions to the Song of Solomon in the NT. However, I do not believe their list is exhaustive.

The answer to this question hinges on the similarities and differences between John 12:3 and SS 1:12. Here I will examine the text of the LXX primarily because most of the NT references are to the LXX (rather than the Hebrew directly).


  • Both verses have just two words in common, "nardos" (= nard or spikenard) and "osme" (= aroma, fragrance or smell)
  • A man and woman are interacting in both
  • The man is at a table in both (probably reclining)


  • SS 1:12 has obvious sexual overtones (SS 1:13) of "awakening" and "arousal" (SS 2:7) and so joy and excitement; while John 12:3 has a rather demure or melancholy mood of gratitude as Jesus is being anointed for burial (John 12:7)
  • According to SS 1:3 the oil belongs to the king (man); while in John 12:3 the oil belongs to the woman
  • In SS 1:12 the oil of nard is probably mixed with other spices (see SS 4:13, 14); while in John 12:3 the oil is specifically described as "genuine/pure and expensive"
  • In SS 1:12 the aroma is described as "going out"; while in John 1:12 the house is filled with the aroma
  • SS 1:12 describes activities of a happy married couple; while John 12:3 describes a Passover of the disciples which the woman may have gatecrashed(?) or at least performed a very unexpected act
  • In SS 1:12 the oil is on the woman; while in John 12:3 the oil is (at least initially)on the man

Lastly, the only two common words between the two verses, "nard" and "aroma" are not placed adjacent in either passage and so do not form a phrase. In John 12:3 they are in separate sentences making an allusion to SS 1:12 a "stretch".

  • Excellent analysis. Thanks, +1 and marked as the answer.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 22:32

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