Unlawful on the Sabbath (Lk 6:2-6:2)

“But some of the Pharisees

Said.

‘Why are you doing

What is not lawful

To do on the Sabbath?’”

 

τινὲς δὲ τῶν Φαρισαίων εἶπαν Τί ποιεῖτε ὃ οὐκ ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν;

 

As per usual, the Pharisees pop up to complain and question the disciples of Jesus.  Luke said that some of the Pharisees said (τινὲς δὲ τῶν Φαρισαίων εἶπαν) that what the disciples of Jesus were doing was not lawful to do on the Sabbath (Τί ποιεῖτε ὃ οὐκ ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν).  They posed it as a question.  Matthew, chapter 12:2, and Mark, chapter 2:24, are similar to Luke, so that Mark may be the source of this incident.  Matthew said that Pharisees saw the disciples of Jesus plucking the grain on the Sabbath.  Deuteronomy, chapter 25:24-25, stated that it was okay to pluck the ears with your hand, but you could not put a sickle to your neighbor’s standing grain or carry it away in a container.  However, Exodus, chapter 34:21, explicitly said that you could not harvest grain on the Sabbath, but did not mention any hand picking.  Thus, the Pharisees said to Jesus that his disciples were doing unlawful things on the Sabbath by plucking the grain   Notice that Jesus was not doing this, only his disciples were.

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.

Disciples plucking grain (Mk 2:23-2:23)

“One sabbath,

Jesus was going through

The grain fields.

As they made their way,

His disciples

Began to pluck

Heads of grain.”

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς σάββασιν παραπορεύεσθαι διὰ τῶν σπορίμων, καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἤρξαντο ὁδὸν ποιεῖν τίλλοντες τοὺς στάχυας.

 

Matthew, chapter 12:1, as well as Luke, chapter 6:1, are similar to Mark.  In Matthew and Luke, the disciples were also eating the grain, but that is not explicitly mentioned here.  Mark said that Jesus was going through the grain fields on the Sabbath (Καὶ ἐγένετο αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς σάββασιν παραπορεύεσθαι διὰ τῶν σπορίμων).  This is the only use of the word “σπορίμων” in all the biblical literature.  All three synoptics use this word that meant a sown field or a grain field, so that they may have copied it from Mark.  Jesus’ disciples (καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ) made their way through the field (ἤρξαντο ὁδὸν).  They began to pluck the heads of the grain in the field (ποιεῖν τίλλοντες τοὺς στάχυας).  This is a unique word “τίλλοντες, plucking” that only appears in the New Testament literature in this story by the three synoptics.  Once again, Mark may have the source for this word.  This set up the problem of plucking grain on the Sabbath.

The drought (Hag 1:10-1:11)

“Therefore,

The heavens above you

Have withheld

The dew.

The earth has withheld

Its produce.

I have called

For a drought

On the land,

On the hills,

On the grain,

On the new wine,

On the oil,

On what the soil produces,

On human beings,

On animals,

On all their labors.’”

Haggai said that Yahweh was punishing them with a drought.  The heavens were withholding their dew from the high skies, while the earth was withholding its products from below the ground.  Yahweh had called for a drought on practically everything, including the land, the hills, the grain, the new wine, the oil, and whatever the soil produced, even on human beings and animals, including their work.

Mourn for your lost fields (Joel 1:8-1:10)

“Lament!

Like a virgin

Dressed in sackcloth

For the husband

Of her youth!

The grain offering,

The drink offering,

Are cut off

From the house

Of Yahweh.

The priests mourn.

The ministers of Yahweh

Mourn.

The fields are devastated.

The ground mourns.

The grain is destroyed.

The wine dries up.

The oil fails.”

The people should go into mourning. They should lament like a virgin who had lost the husband of her youth, dressed in sackcloth. There was not going to be any grain or drink offerings in the house of Yahweh. The priests and the ministers should mourn because the fields were devastated. The ground itself mourned because the grain was destroyed. The wine had dried up. The oil had failed. There was good reason to go into mourning.

My people will have love and pity (Hos 2:21-2:23)

“Says Yahweh.

‘On that day,

I will answer

The heavens.

They shall answer

The earth.

The earth shall answer

The grain,

The wine,

The oil.

They shall answer

Jezreel.

I will sow him

For myself

In the land.

I will have pity

On Lo-ruhamah.

I will say to

Lo-ammi.

‘You are my people.’

He shall say.

‘You are my God.’”

Yahweh was very clear. On that day, he was going to respond to the heavens, just as the heavens would respond to earth. The earth would respond to the grain, wine, and oil. They would answer to Jezreel, that had been the residence of the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel. Yahweh was going to sow in the land itself. Finally, he would have pity and love for Lo-ruhamah, the not pitied one. He too would rename Lo-ammi, from not my people to you are my people. He was going to be their God. Thus, all would end well.

Abundance with no more famines (Ezek 36:29-36:30)

“I will save you

From all

Your unclean situations.

I will summon

The grain.

I will make it

Abundant.

I will lay

No famine

Upon you.

I will make

The fruit

Of the tree

Abundant.

I will make

The produce

Of the field

Abundant.

Thus,

You may never again

Suffer the disgrace

Of famine

Among the nations.”

To make life easier in the new old land, Yahweh, via Ezekiel said that he would save the Israelites from any unclean situations. He would make the grain grow abundantly, so that there would be no more famines. He was also going to make the fruits of the tree and produce of the field more abundant. Thus, they would never again suffer the disgrace of famine like other nations and countries.