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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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‘Αλαβαστρον , the name of a genus of fossils nearly allied to marble. It is a bright elegant stone, sometimes of a snowy whiteness. It may be cut freely, and is capable of a fine polish; and, being of a soft nature, it is wrought into any form or figure with ease. Vases or cruises were anciently made of it, wherein to preserve odoriferous liquors and ointments. Pliny and others represent it as peculiarly proper for this purpose; and the druggists in Egypt have, at this day, vessels made of it, in which they keep their medicines and perfumes.

In Matthew 26:6-7 , we read that Jesus being at table in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came thither and poured an alabaster box of ointment on his head. St. Mark adds, "She brake the box," which merely refers to the seal upon the vase which closed it, and kept the perfume from evaporating. This had never been removed, but was on this occasion broken, that is, first opened.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Alabaster'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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