The example of David (Lk 6:4-6:4)

“David entered

The house of God.

He took

The bread of the Presence.

He ate it.

This was not lawful

For anyone,

But the priests

To eat.

He also gave some

To his companions.’”

 

ὡς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ τοὺς ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως λαβὼν ἔφαγεν καὶ ἔδωκεν τοῖς μετ’ αὐτοῦ, οὓς οὐκ ἔξεστιν φαγεῖν εἰ μὴ μόνους τοὺς ἱερεῖς;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that David entered the house of God (ὡς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Θεοῦ).  He took (λαβὼν) the show bread of the Presence (καὶ τοὺς ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως) and ate it (ἔφαγεν).  He also gave some to his companions (καὶ ἔδωκεν τοῖς μετ’ αὐτοῦ).  However, this was not lawful for them to eat it (οὓς οὐκ ἔξεστιν φαγεῖν), since it was only for the priests (εἰ μὴ μόνους τοὺς ἱερεῖς).  Matthew, chapter 12:4, and Mark, chapter 2:26, are similar to Luke, so that perhaps Mark may be the origin of this saying of Jesus.  Jesus cited the example of David in 1 Samuel, chapter 21:1-6.  Luke did not mention some of the incorrect details about the high priest that were in Mark and Matthew.  In 1 Samuel, David went to the Levite town of Nob, not the house of God as mentioned here.  There Ahimelech was the high priest, not Abiathar as Mark and Matthew indicated.  David said that he was hungry and needed bread for himself and his men.  However, they only had consecrated holy bread for the sacrifices, not common bread.  This showbread, the bread of the Presence, was 12 loaves or cakes of bread that was replaced weekly in the holy place in the Temple that symbolized communion with God.  Either he took it or the priest then gave him the holy bread anyway.  He and his companions ate the bread of the Presence or sacred Levite bread.  However, it was not lawful for them to eat it, because only the Levite priests were allowed to eat this sacred bread.  Thus, Jesus used this example of David to answer the Pharisees, although there are some discrepancies in this story about David.

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David and the holy bread (Mk 2:25-2:26)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Have you never read

What David did

When he with his companions

Were hungry,

In need of food.

He entered

The house of God,

When Abiathar

Was high priest.

He ate the bread

Of the Presence,

Which it is not lawful,

For anyone but the priests to eat.

He gave some

To his companions.’”

 

καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· Οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε τί ἐποίησεν Δαυείδ, ὅτε χρείαν ἔσχεν καὶ ἐπείνασεν αὐτὸς καὶ οἱ μετ’ αὐτοῦ;

πῶς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐπὶ Ἀβιαθὰρ ἀρχιερέως καὶ τοὺς ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως ἔφαγεν, οὓς οὐκ ἔξεστιν φαγεῖν εἰ μὴ τοὺς ἱερεῖς, καὶ ἔδωκεν καὶ τοῖς σὺν αὐτῷ οὖσιν;

 

Matthew, chapter 12:25-26, and Luke, chapter 6:3-4, are similar to Mark, so that perhaps Mark is the origin of this saying of Jesus.  Jesus responded to the Pharisees by citing the example of David in 1 Samuel, chapter 21:1-6.  David went to the Levite town of Nob, not the house of God mentioned here.  There Ahimelech was the high priest, not Abiathar as indicated here.  David said that he needed bread for himself and his men.  Ahimelech responded that he only had consecrated holy bread for the sacrifices, not common bread.  That bread was for the Levites, but the priest then gave him the holy bread anyway.  Jesus said to the Pharisees (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς).  He wanted to know if they had read the unnamed book of Samuel (Οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε).  That was when David and his companions were hungry (τί ἐποίησεν Δαυεὶδ ὅτε χρείαν ἔσχεν καὶ ἐπείνασεν αὐτὸς καὶ οἱ μετ’ αὐτοῦ).  He entered the house of God (πῶς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Θεοῦ) when Abiathar was the high priest (ἐπὶ Ἀβιαθὰρ ἀρχιερέως).  He ate the bread of the Presence or sacred Levite bread (καὶ τοὺς ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως ἔφαγον).  However, it was not lawful for him to eat it (οὓς οὐκ ἔξεστιν φαγεῖν).  Only the Levite priests were allowed to eat this sacred bread (εἰ μὴ τοῖς ἱερεῖς).  He even gave some of this holy bread to his companions who were with him (καὶ ἔδωκεν καὶ τοῖς σὺν αὐτῷ οὖσιν).  The bread of the Presence were 12 loaves of bread in the holy place in the Temple that symbolized communion with God.  Thus, Jesus used the example of David to answer the Pharisees, although there are some discrepancies in this story about David.

The counselors of King David (1 Chr 27:32-27:34)

“Jonathan, King David’s uncle, was a counselor, being a man of understanding and a scribe. Jehiel son of Hachmoni attended the king’s sons. Ahithophel was the king’s counselor. Hushai the Archite was the king’s friend. After Ahithophel came Jehoiada son of Benaiah, and Abiathar. Joab was commander of the king’s army.”

Now we see the real confidants of King David, although his uncle, Jonathan is only mentioned here. This may actually be his nephew. Notice that he was a scribe, which meant that he could write, which would have been rare. King David had a special relationship with Jonathan, the son of King Saul, but this is a different Jonathan. There were other people named Jehiel, but this is the only mention of this Jehiel son of Hachmoni. Notice that the change in counselors was mostly based on 2 Samuel, chapters 15 and 16, when Ahithophel turned on King David and favored his son, Absalom. King David relied more heavily on Hushai, his friend, and Jehoiada and Abiathar, the high priests. Joab, the nephew of King David, played a major role as the commander of the king’s army.

The priests prepare to transport the ark (1 Chr 15:11-15:15)

“Then King David summoned the priests Zadok and Abiathar, and the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. King David said to them. ‘You are the heads of families of the Levites. Sanctify yourselves, you and your kindred, so that you may bring up the ark of Yahweh, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it. Because you did not carry it the first time, Yahweh our God burst out against us, because we did not give it proper care.’ So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of Yahweh, the God of Israel. The Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of Yahweh.”

The high priests Zadok and Abiathar were also involved. King David summoned the heads of the Levite families just mentioned, except for Uriel. He wanted them to sanctify themselves and their clan. King David said that the problem last time was that the right people were not carrying the Ark of the Covenant. He wanted the Kohathite Levites to carry the Ark of the Covenant with poles on their shoulders as it was laid out in Numbers, chapter 7.

The Ark of the Covenant remains in Jerusalem (2 Sam 15:24-15:29)

“Abiathar came up, and Zadok also, with all the Levites, carrying the ark of the covenant of God. They set down the ark of God, until the people had all passed out of the city. Then the king said to Zadok. ‘Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of Yahweh, he will bring me back and let me see both it and the place where it stays. But if he says. I take no pleasure in you, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him.’ The king also said to the priest Zadok. ‘Look, go back to the city in peace, you and Abiathar, with your two sons, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan son of Abiathar. See, I will wait at the fords of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.’ So Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem. They remained there.”

Abiathar and Zadok were the two high priests loyal to David. They brought the Ark of the Covenant to accompany David on his departure from Jerusalem. However, David said that the ark should remain in Jerusalem. If David was to find favor in the sight of Yahweh, he would return. The 2 priests with their 2 sons and the ark should return to Jerusalem. If they wanted David to return, they should let him know. So they parted company with the priests and the ark remaining in Jerusalem.