Mark 14:1-5

Mark 14:1 (KJB)
After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death.

The leaders knew that Jesus was coming to the Passover and now was their chance to arrest Him and accuse Him of crimes which could be used to sway Pilate to crucify Him. Now the Sanhedrin were together in their fullness in the palace of Caiaphas and this would have been considered an official meeting. It contained both the religious leaders and also the legal arm which was the civil magistrates. The enemies of Jesus were not taking any chances as they wanted this to look like an official gathering of the leadership and not some type of secret meeting of just a few. They were not going to take Jesus by legitimate means, instead they had to entrap Him or create some type of heinous accusations against Him, so bad that even the Romans would not hesitate in crucifying Him as a malefactor. They needed to come up with some type of strategy and that is why both the ecclesiastical arm and the legal arm of the Sanhedrin was present.

Mark 14:2 (KJB)
But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.

Since the Passover feast was approaching, they decided not to take Jesus on that day. It was not because they feared taking Him on the Passover, but they had fear from the immense amount of pilgrims which would be in Jerusalem at that time. Josephus estimates that there were above 250,000 in Jerusalem for this Passover. They had feared that the crowd would defend Jesus and their plans would have to be put on hold again. Not only was this the Passover but it was also the Sabbath where they could do no work. If they took Jesus, it would have to be before the Sabbath begins at evening on Friday. Keep in mind that there were many pilgrims who came from the Galilee area who knew Jesus and His ministry and possibly would have fought the Jerusalem crowd thus making it a riot which would bring the Romans down on them.

Mark 14:3 (KJB)
And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.

Jesus was staying in Bethany at the house of Simon the Leper. There is not much known about this Simon. Some scholars feel that he may have been the father of Martha or her husband but that is only speculation. Bethany was only about two miles from Jerusalem and Jesus knowing that He must suffer stayed close to Jerusalem. Even though this man was called Simon the Leper, he was no doubt healed by Jesus but had retained the name by which he was known to others. Some say that this woman was Mary, the sister of Lazarus but that cannot be because Mary anointed the feet of Jesus at their house six days before the Passover. This happened two days before the Passover. (Luke 7:37 KJV) And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, A woman anointed the feet of Jesus in Luke 7:37 but that was in the house of Simon the Pharisee. This woman in this verse had poured the precious ointment on the head of Jesus and not his feet. This woman was probably one whom the Lord saved and she was showing her care for Him at this time. Her name is unknown as it has been lost to antiquity. The Lord was anointed three times. Once at the beginning of His ministry in Capernaum, then six days before the Passover by Mary of Bethany and then two days before the Passover by this woman.

Mark 14:4 (KJB)
And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?

The disciples had witnessed this and they had become very angry concerning the pouring out of very expensive ointment. Instead of them asking the Lord why she did it, they instead looked at the fact that the ointment had cost a lot of money. They had considered it a waste of money. Then they ask the Lord, not for what purpose did she do it but rather to want purpose was this waste? After being with Jesus for three and a half years, you would think they would already be used to unusual events surrounding Jesus.

Mark 14:5 (KJB)
For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.

They had attempted to make a defense of their anger by stating that instead of wasting it as she did, it could have been sold and the money distributed to the poor. They were speaking according to the accepted standard of good works. The value of it was approximately 300 silver denarii which would be about ten months wages. Judas especially would have been angry since he was the group treasurer and he would have been able to steal a good chunk of that silver for himself.