Spikenard - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
Spikenard[ 1,,G3487, nardos ]
is derived, through the Semitic languages (Heb. nerd, Syriac nardin), from the Sanskrit nalada, a fragrant oil," procured from the stem of an Indian plant. The Arabs call it the "Indian spike." The adjective pistikos is attached to it in the NT, Mark 14:3; John 12:3; pistikos, if taken as an ordinary Greek word, would signify "genuine." There is evidence, however, that it was regarded as a technical term. It has been suggested that the original reading was pistakes, i.e., the Pistacia Terebinthus, which grows in Cyprus, Syria, Palestine, etc., and yields a resin of very fragrant odor, and in such inconsiderable quantities as to be very costly. "Nard was frequently mixed with aromatic ingredients ... so when scented with the fragrant resin of the pistake it would quite well be called nardos pistakes" (E. N. Bennett, in the Classical Review for 1890, Vol. iv, p. 319). The oil used for the anointing of the Lord's head was worth about f12, and must have been of the most valuable kind. In the Sept., Song of Songs 1:12; Song of Songs 4:13-Song of Songs 4:14.