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Mary, sister of Lazarus

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In the Bible, Mary the sister of Lazarus appears in connection with the visits of Jesus to Bethany[?]. She is contrasted with her sister Martha, who was "cumbered about many things" while Jesus was their guest, while Mary had chosen "the good part." Her character also appears in connection with the death of her brother (John 11:20,31,33). On the occasion of Jesus's last visit to Bethany, Mary brought "a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus" as he reclined at table in the house of one Simon[?], who had been a leper (Matt. 26:6; Mark 14:3; John 12:2,3). This was an evidence of her overflowing love to the Lord.

It would appear from this act of Mary's, and from the circumstances that they possessed a family vault (11:38) and that a large number of Jews from Jerusalem came to condole with them on the death of Lazarus (11:19), that this family at Bethany belonged to the wealthier class of the people.

To Protestants, nothing is known of her apart from that. To Catholics, this Mary is also St. Mary Magdalene of whom both the Bible and legends apart from it tell more.


Initial text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897 -- Please update as needed



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