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 earthquake (Mt 28:2-28:2)

“Suddenly,

There was a great earthquake.”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ σεισμὸς ἐγένετο μέγας·

 

Matthew is the only one who has any activity at the tomb.  In the 3 other gospel stories, the woman or women found that the tomb was empty.  Thus, Matthew uniquely said that suddenly there was a great seismic earthquake (καὶ ἰδοὺ σεισμὸς ἐγένετο μέγας).  Matthew also uniquely had an earthquake at the death of Jesus, chapter 27:54.  Now he had another earthquake at the resurrection of Jesus.  These earthquakes symbolized that something important was happening.

The example of David (Mt 12:3-12:4)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Have you not read

What David did

When he was hungry?

His companions were hungry.

He entered

The house of God.

He ate the bread

Of the Presence,

Which it was not lawful

For him

Or his companions

To eat,

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.

The Epiphany (Mt 2:11-2:11)

“The Magi

Knelt down.

They paid homage

To the child.

They worshiped him.

Then,

Opening their treasures,

They offered him gifts

Of gold,

Of frankincense,

Of myrrh.”

 

καὶ πεσόντες προσεκύνησαν αὐτῷ, καὶ ἀνοίξαντες τοὺς θησαυροὺς αὐτῶν προσήνεγκαν αὐτῷ δῶρα, χρυσὸν καὶ λίβανον καὶ σμύρναν

 

This is the classic scene of the Epiphany of Jesus, with the magi, the 3 kings, the wise men adoring and worshiping the new born infant Jesus.  The magi entered the house.  They knelt down and worshipped the new child (πεσόντες προσεκύνησαν αὐτῷ).  Then they opened their treasures (ἀνοίξαντες τοὺς θησαυροὺς αὐτῶν).  They offered him gifts (προσήνεγκαν αὐτῷ δῶρα) of gold (χρυσὸν), frankincense (λίβανον), and myrrh (σμύρναν).  These were the same traditional gifts mentioned in Isaiah, chapter 60:6, gold and frankincense, an expensive spice.  Myrrh was a perfume.  So too, Epiphany, ἐπιφάνεια, means manifestation or appearance.  In classical Greek, it was a manifestation of a deity to a worshiper.  Thus, Jesus manifests himself to these worshipping magi.  The earliest references to the Christian feast of Epiphany come from the 4th century CE.  In the Latin-speaking Western Christianity, this holiday emphasized the visit of the magi, who represented the non-Jewish people of the world.  Thus, this child Jesus was considered a revelation to the gentiles.  In the middle ages, these biblical magi or magicians became the 3 kings, as a whole story developed around them.  Balthasar was the youngest one, bearing frankincense that symbolized the divinity of Jesus, representing Africa.  Caspar was middle-aged one bearing gold that symbolized the royalty of Jesus, representing Asia.  Melchior the oldest one, bearing myrrh symbolized the passion of Jesus, representing Europe.  For many years, and still in some non-English speaking countries today, Epiphany was and is a bigger feast day than Christmas, celebrating the birth of Jesus and his revelation to the world.