Eating grain on the Sabbath (Lk 6:1-6:1)

“One Sabbath,

While Jesus

Was going through

The grain fields,

His disciples plucked

Some heads of grain.

They rubbed them

In their hands.

Then they ate them.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν σαββάτῳ διαπορεύεσθαι αὐτὸν διὰ σπορίμων, καὶ ἔτιλλον οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἤσθιον τοὺς στάχυας ψώχοντες ταῖς χερσίν.

 

Luke followed the order of Mark, chapter 2:23, while Matthew, chapter 12:1, has this incident of plucking grain on the Sabbath later in his work.  Luke said that on one Sabbath day (Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν σαββάτῳ), while Jesus was going through some grain fields (διαπορεύεσθαι αὐτὸν διὰ σπορίμων), his disciples plucked some heads of grain (καὶ ἔτιλλον οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ).  This is the only use of the word “σπορίμων” in all of the biblical literature.  All three synoptics used this word that meant a sown field or a grain field, so that they may have copied it from Mark.  This is also the only time that the word “ἔτιλλον, plucking” appears in its various forms by the three synoptics.  Once again, Mark may have the source for this word.  The disciples rubbed these grains in their hands (ψώχοντες ταῖς χερσίν) and ate the heads of these grains (καὶ ἤσθιον τοὺς στάχυας).  In Matthew and Luke, the disciples ended up eating the grain, but Mark did not explicitly mention that.  Matthew was the only one to say that the disciples were hungry, but that may be presumed in the other 2 accounts.  This leisurely Sabbath walk through the grain fields set up the problem of plucking grain on the Sabbath.

The three disciples go to the mountain (Mk 9:2-9:2)

“Six days later,

Jesus took with him

Peter,

James,

And John.

He led them up

A high mountain,

Alone by themselves.

He was transfigured

Before them.”

 

Καὶ μετὰ ἡμέρας ἓξ παραλαμβάνει ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὸν Πέτρον καὶ τὸν Ἰάκωβον καὶ Ἰωάνην, καὶ ἀναφέρει αὐτοὺς εἰς ὄρος ὑψηλὸν κατ’ ἰδίαν μόνους. καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν

 

Going to a special mountain can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:1, Luke, chapter 9:28, and here in MarkMark and Matthew are exactly the same, almost word for word, but Luke talked about 8 days and going to pray on the mountain.  Mark said that this activity took place 6 days later (Καὶ μετὰ’ ἡμέρας ἓξ), probably after the proclamation of Peter about Jesus being the Christ messiah.  Jesus took with him (παραλαμβάνει ὁ Ἰησοῦς) Peter (τὸν Πέτρον), and the 2 sons of Zebedee, James (καὶ τὸν Ἰάκωβον) and John (καὶ Ἰωάνην).  There was no mention of Peter’s brother Andrew.  Jesus brought these 3 disciples to an unnamed high mountain (καὶ ἀναφέρει αὐτοὺς εἰς ὄρος ὑψηλὸν), presumably near the Sea of Galilee, probably Mount Tabor in lower Galilee or Mount Hermon near Caesarea Philippi, much further north.  They were alone by themselves (κατ’ ἰδίαν μόνους), not with any of the other apostles or disciples.  Going up a high mountain was an attempt to have a special communication with God, just as Moses had done in the Old Testament.  Jesus was transfigured or transformed in front of the 3 apostles (καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν).  Was this a foretaste of the resurrected Christ?

Title (Zech 1:1-1:1)

“In the eighth month,

In the second year

Of King Darius,

The word of Yahweh

Came to the prophet Zechariah,

The son of Berechiah,

The son of Iddo.”

The word of Yahweh came to the prophet Zechariah in the same year as it had come to Haggai, the second year of Persian King Darius I in 520 BCE.  However, this was the 8th month and not the 6th month as with Haggai, so that it was 2 month later.  Zechariah was the son of Berechiah and the grandson of Iddo.  In the Book of Ezra, chapter 5, there is an explicit mention of Haggai and Zechariah, the son of Iddo.  Nehemiah, chapter 12, mentioned Iddo as one of the high priests who came with Zerubbabel when he left Babylon in 538 BCE.  Thus, Iddo would have been an important person.  Berechiah seemed to be less important, but could be the father of the young Zechariah.  Nehemiah mentioned Berechiah as the son of Meshezabel, in chapter 3.

Yahweh sends abundant rain (Joel 2:23-2:24)

“O children of Zion!

Be glad!

Rejoice in Yahweh!

Your God!

He has given

The early rain

For your vindication.

He has poured down

For you

Abundant rain,

The early,

As well as the latter rain,

As before.

The threshing floors

Shall be full of grain.

The vats shall overflow

With wine.

The vats shall overflow

With oil.”

Joel reminded the children of Zion that they should rejoice and be glad in Yahweh, their God, because he has given them plenty of rain, both the early and later rain, just like before the locust attack. Thus, the threshing floors would be full of grain. The vats or containers for the wine and the oil from the vines and trees would be overflowing.

Daniel prospered (Dan 6:28-6:28)

“Thus,

Daniel prospered

During the reign of Darius,

As well as the reign of Cyrus

Of Persia.”

Cyrus (559-530 BCE) clearly was a historical figure from Persia, who took over Babylon in 539 BCE. Darius I (522-486 BCE) actually came later. However, Daniel prospered under them both, just as he had under the Babylonian kings, much like Joseph under the Egyptian Pharaohs.

Gog and his allies will advance on the unsuspecting land (Ezek 38:8-38:9)

“After many days,

You shall be mustered.

In the latter years,

You shall go

Against a land

Restored

From the war.

This is a land

Where people

Were gathered

From many nations

On the mountains

Of Israel.

This land

Had long laid waste.

Its people were

Brought out

From the nations.

They now live securely,

All of them.

You shall advance,

Coming on,

Like a storm.

You shall be

Like a cloud

Covering the land.

It will be you,

With all your troops.

Many people shall be

With you.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was trying to tell Gog that after many days, he should gather or muster up his troops to prepare for a battle to come years later. They were going to fight against a land that had been restored from a war situation. These people had been gathered from many countries to go to this former wasteland of Israel. Now, however, they were living securely and peacefully. Yet Gog and his troops should advance on them like a storm or a cloud covering the land. Gog should bring all his large army of troops with him.

The sinful ancestors (Bar 1:19-1:20)

“From the time

When the Lord

Brought our ancestors

Out of the land of Egypt

Until today,

We have been disobedient

To the Lord,

Our God.

We have been negligent,

In not heeding

His voice.

So to this day,

There have clung to us

The calamities,

The curse,

That the Lord declared

Through his servant

Moses

At the time

When he brought

Our ancestors

Out of the land of Egypt

To give us

A land flowing

With milk and honey.”

The Lord brought their ancestors out of Egypt. However, even from the beginning of this relationship, their ancestors were negligent, not listening to the voice of God. They would rather be cursed and live in calamity than follow their God. Moses his servant was clear. God was going to lead them into a land flowing with milk and honey. How many times have you heard that? Their ancestors had set the stage for the later disobedience and negligence towards God.