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.

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Yahweh will return to the holy mountain (Zech 8:3-8:3)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘I will return to Zion.

I will dwell

In the midst of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem shall be called

The faithful city.

The mountain

Of Yahweh of hosts

Shall be called

The holy mountain.’”

Yahweh, via Zechariah, said that he would return to Zion and live in Jerusalem, the faithful city.  This Zion mountain of Yahweh would be called the holy mountain because of the presence of Yahweh.

Forgotten Tyre for seventy years (Isa 23:15-23:18)

“From that day,

Tyre will be forgotten

For seventy years,

The lifetime of one king.

At the end of seventy years,

It will happen to Tyre

As in the song

About the prostitute.

‘Take a harp!

Go about the city!

You forgotten prostitute!

Make sweet melody!

Sing many songs!

That you may be remembered!’

At the end of seventy years,

Yahweh will visit Tyre.

She will return to her trade.

She will prostitute herself

With all the kingdoms of the world

On the face of the earth.

Her merchandise,

Her wages will be dedicated

To Yahweh.

Her profits will not be stored.

They will not be hoarded.

Her merchandise will supply

Abundant food.

They will supply fine clothing

For those who live

In the presence of Yahweh.”

Isaiah proclaims that Tyre will be forgotten from that day of destruction for 70 years, instead of a total desolation, as in the previous verses. Tyre would disappear, but only for the lifetime of a king. At the end of 70 years, Tyre would be like an old prostitute that sings in the streets. Like a forgotten person, she would sing melodic songs so that she would be remembered. Then Yahweh would visit Tyre, so that it would be consecrated to Yahweh. Tyre would continue her prostituting trade ways with all the countries in the world. However, her merchandise and wages would be dedicated to Yahweh. Tyre would not store or hoard her profits, but her merchandise would provide food and clothing for those who lived in the presence of Yahweh, the Lord.

The role of the kings (Prov 25:2-25:7)

“It is the glory of God

To conceal things.

But the glory of kings

Is to search things out.

Like the heavens for height,

Like the earth for depth,

So the mind of kings is unsearchable.

Take away the dross from the silver.

The smith has material for a vessel.

Take away the wicked from the presence of the king.

His throne will be established in righteousness.

Do not put yourself forward

In the king’s presence.

Do not stand in the place of the great.

It is better to be told.

‘Come up here.’

Than to be put lower

In the presence of a noble.”

God conceals things, but kings search them out. The mind of the kings is unsearchable in height, like the heavens, and in depth like the earth. The kings are a little less than God. In order to use silver you have to get rid of the low quality dross that surrounds it so that it might become material for a silver vessel. Do not let the wicked into the presence of the king. The king is established in righteousness. Do not try to put yourself forward in a great place before the king. It is much better to be told to come up than to be put lower in the presence of a noble person.

God provided rain (Ps 68:8-68:10)

“The earth quaked.

The heavens poured down rain

At the presence of God,

The God of Sinai,

At the presence of God,

The God of Israel.

Rain in abundance!

O God!

You showered abroad!

You restored your heritage

When it languished.

Your flock found a dwelling in it.

In your goodness,

O God!

You provided for the needy!

God provided for the rain in abundance while they were in the wilderness. The earth quaked and rains came tumbling down. Just when they were languishing in the desert, the rains came when the presence of God appeared, the God of Mount Sinai and Israel. God’s heritage continued in his goodness as he provided for the needy.

Prayer for help (Ps 41:10-41:12)

“But You!

Yahweh!

Be gracious to me!

Raise me up!

Thus I may repay them.

By this I know

That you are pleased with me.

My enemy has not triumphed over me.

But you have upheld me

Because of my integrity.

You have set me in your presence forever.”

David prayed to Yahweh. Once again he wanted Yahweh to be gracious to him and raise him up out of his sick bed. Then he would be able to repay all those who were not kind to him. David knew that Yahweh was pleased with him because his enemy had not defeated him. He had been sustained by Yahweh because of his integrity. Therefore he would be in the presence of Yahweh forever. Is this an indication of eternal life?

Judith meets General Holofernes (Jdt 10:20-10:23)

“Then the guards of General Holofernes and all his servants came out. They led her into the tent. General Holofernes was resting on his bed, under a canopy which was woven with purple and gold, emeralds, and other precious stones. When they told him of her, he came to the front of the tent, with silver lamps carried before him. When Judith came into the presence of General Holofernes and his servants, they all marveled at the beauty of her face. She prostrated herself and did obeisance to him. However, his slaves raised her up.”

The guards and slaves of the general took her into the tent. General Holofernes was lying on his bed that had a canopy of purple, gold, emeralds, and other precious stones. He came out to greet her with sliver lamps. Everyone marveled at her beauty. She then presented herself prostrate, giving him the proper obedience. However, the general’s slaves picked her up.