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Mark in Slow Motion 17

One sabbath he was going through the cornfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, ‘Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?’ And he said to them, ‘Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.’ Then he said to them, ‘The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.’

 Καὶ ἐγένετο παραπορεύεσθαι αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς σάββασιν διὰ τῶνσπορίμων καὶ ἤρξαντο οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ὁδὸν ποιεῖν τίλλοντες τοὺςστάχυας. καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι ἔλεγον αὐτῷ Ἴδε τί ποιοῦσιν ἐν τοῖς σάββασιν ὃ οὐκἔξεστιν. καὶ αὐτὸς ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε τί ἐποίησεν Δαβίδ, ὅτεχρείαν ἔσχεν καὶ ἐπείνασεν αὐτός καὶ οἱ μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ. πῶς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπὶ Ἀβιαθὰρ τοῦ ἀρχιερέως καὶτοὺς ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως ἔφαγεν οὓς οὐκ ἔξεστιν φαγεῖν εἰ μὴ τοῖςἱερεῦσιν καὶ ἔδωκεν καὶ τοῖς σὺν αὐτῷ οὖσιν. καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Τὸ σάββατον διὰ τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἐγένετο οὐχ ὁἄνθρωπος διὰ τὸ σάββατον·. ὥστε κύριός ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ τοῦ σαββάτου.

Mark 2.23-28

Sabbath observance is central to identity here. As is shame significant to that culture. Jesus is understood to carry responsibility for this group.

pluck heads of grain – cf Deut 23:25

“Have you never read 1 Samuel 21?”[also supports the position of a high level of literacy]

Well… umm…

“when [David] and his companions were hungry and in need of food?” – 1 Sam 21 makes no mention of them being hungry.

“[David] entered the house of God” – in 1 Sam 21 David does not enter the house of God.

“when Abiathar was high priest” – Ahimelech was high priest, not Abiathar (1 Sam 21:1)

“and ate the bread of the Presence” – there is no mention of eating if “you have ever read” this story.

The Pharisees observing this in the cornfields adds to the oddity – what are they doing there on the sabbath?! There are limitations on how far one might walk on the sabbath; and for what purpose.

Markan primacy is reinforced: Matthew 12:1-8 and Luke 6:1-5 improve Mark’s story by leaving out the name of the priest.

“The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath” – in the Babylonian Talmud Yoma 85b, we have: ‘Rabbi Yonatan ben Yosef says that it is stated: “For it is sacred to you” (Exodus 31:14). This implies that Shabbat is given into your hands, and you are not given to it to die on account of Shabbat.’ [see also here]

This is the seventeenth post in a series – you can begin here:
Mark in Slow Motion 1
Mark in Slow Motion 2
Mark in Slow Motion 3
Mark in Slow Motion 4
Mark in Slow Motion 5
Mark in Slow Motion 6
Mark in Slow Motion 7
Mark in Slow Motion 8
Mark in Slow Motion 9
Mark in Slow Motion 10
Mark in Slow Motion 11
Mark in Slow Motion 12
Mark in Slow Motion 13
Mark in Slow Motion 14
Mark in Slow Motion 15
Mark in Slow Motion 16

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