“Jesus said to them.
‘Have you not read
What David did
When he was hungry?
His companions were hungry.
The house of God.
He ate the bread
Of the Presence,
Which it was not lawful
Or his companions
Since it was
Only for the priests.’”
ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε τί ἐποίησεν Δαυεὶδ ὅτε ἐπείνασεν καὶ οἱ μετ’ αὐτοῦ;
πῶς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ τοὺς ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως ἔφαγον, ὃ οὐκ ἐξὸν ἦν αὐτῷ φαγεῖν οὐδὲ τοῖς μετ’ αὐτοῦ, εἰ μὴ τοῖς ἱερεῦσιν μόνοις;
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, where Ahimelech was the high priest. 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. This is similar to Mark, chapter 2:25-26, at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. It is also the same as Luke, chapter 6:3-4. Jesus said to the Pharisees (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς). He wanted to know if they had read the unnamed book of Samuel (Οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε). That was when David and his companions were hungry (τί ἐποίησεν Δαυεὶδ ὅτε ἐπείνασεν καὶ οἱ μετ’ αὐτοῦ). He entered the house of God (πῶς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Θεοῦ). He ate the bread of the Presence or sacred Levite bread (καὶ τοὺς ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως ἔφαγον,). However, it was not lawful for him or his companions to eat it (ὃ οὐκ ἐξὸν ἦν αὐτῷ φαγεῖν οὐδὲ τοῖς μετ’ αὐτοῦ). Only the Levite priests were allowed to eat this sacred bread (εἰ μὴ τοῖς ἱερεῦσιν μόνοις). 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.
“Now Judas Maccabeus and his followers, the Lord leading them on, recovered the temple and the city. They tore down the altars which that had been built in the public square by the foreigners. They also destroyed the sacred precincts. They purified the sanctuary. They made another altar of sacrifice. Then, striking fire out of flint, they offered sacrifices. After a lapse of two years, they burned incense. They lighted lamps. They set out the bread of the Presence. When they had done this, they fell prostrate. They implored the Lord that they might never again fall into such misfortunes. If they should ever sin, they might be disciplined by him with forbearance and not be handed over to blasphemous and barbarous nations.”
This purification of the Temple by Judas Maccabeus took place earlier in 1 Maccabees, chapter 4, about a year before the death of King Antiochus IV. Here it is 2 years after the desecration of the Temple. In fact, the description in 1 Maccabees was more elaborate, but pretty much the same as here. There was no lamentation and mourning for the city and the Temple here. The Lord led them on here as the altars were in the public square. In 1 Maccabees, they saved the old stones. Here they just made another altar. They offered sacrifices, burned incense, lighted lamps, and set out the bread of Presence as in 1 Maccabees. Here there is a prayer to be more lenient next time if they do sin.
“You shall make a table of acacia wood, two cubits long, one cubit wide, and a cubit and a half high. You shall overlay it with pure gold, and make a molding of gold around it. You shall make around it a rim a handbreadth wide, and a molding of gold around the rim. You shall make for it four rings of gold, and fasten the rings to the four corners at its four legs. The rings that hold the poles used for carrying the table shall be close to the rim. You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, and the table shall be carried with these. You shall make its plates and dishes for incense, and its flagons and bowls with that to pour drink offerings. You shall make them of pure good. You shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me always.”
Once again, we have an acacia wood table, that is very small, approximately 4’ long, 2‘wide, and 3’ high. This small table, however, should have an overlay of gold with a golden molding and rim. It also has 4 gold rings and golden poles to carry it. There are also golden plates and dishes for incense with pure gold pitchers and bowls for the drink offerings. Also there is some kind of holy bread for this table.