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 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 anointed one was cut off (Dan 9:26-9:27)

“After the sixty-two weeks,

An anointed one

Shall be cut off.

He shall have nothing.

The troops

Of the prince,

Who is to come,

Shall destroy

The city.

He shall destroy

The sanctuary.

Its end shall come

With a flood.

To the end,

There shall be war.

Desolations are decreed.

He shall make

A strong covenant

With many

For one week.

For half

Of the week,

He shall make

Sacrifices cease.

He shall make

Offerings cease.

In their places,

There shall be an abomination

That desolates,

Until the decreed end

Is poured out

On the desolator.”

Well, that was a simple explanation by Gabriel! After 62 weeks, the anointed one would be cut off. In fact, there is some agreement that this anointed one was the high priest Onias III, who was deposed in 175 BCE. The prince coming to destroy him was probably King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who came to destroy the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary. It is unclear what the flood was about. Obviously, there was a war and the Maccabees uprising. The covenant for one week might mean 7 years, and ½ a week might mean 3 ½ years, the time when the sacrifices and offerings ceased in the Temple. Instead, they had the terrible abominations and desolations of the false idols. Finally, this all came to an end.

The cooking chambers in the court (Ezek 46:21-46:24)

“Then he brought me out

To the outer court.

He led me past

The four corners

Of the court.

In each corner

Of the court,

There was another court.

In the four corners

Of the court

Were small courts,

Forty cubits long,

Thirty cubits wide.

The four were

Of the same size.

On the inside,

Around each

Of the four courts,

Was a row of masonry?

They had hearths

Made at the bottom

Of the rows,

All around.

Then he said to me.

‘These are the kitchens

Where those who serve

At the temple

Shall boil

The sacrifices

Of the people.’”

The bronze man brought Ezekiel to the Temple outer court. There were four corners in this court. In each corner of the court, there was another court. There were 4 small courts about 40 by 30 cubits, about 70 feet by 50 feet, all the same size. Around the inside of each of these 4 courts was a mason hearth with rows all around it. Then the bronze man told Ezekiel that these were the kitchens where those who served at the Temple boiled the sacrifices for the people. Ezekiel, thus, had a first-hand look at the workings inside the Temple.

The daily burnt offering of the lamb (Ezek 46:13-46:15)

“The prince shall provide

A lamb a year old,

Without blemish,

For a burnt offering

To Yahweh

Daily.

Morning by morning

He shall provide it.

He shall provide

A grain offering

With it,

Morning by morning.

This shall be

One sixth of an ephah,

One third of a hin of oil

To moisten the flour,

As a grain offering

To Yahweh.

This is the ordinance

For all time.

Thus,

The lamb

With the grain offering,

Along with the oil,

Shall be provided,

Morning by morning,

As a regular burnt offering.”

Not only was the prince responsible for the sacrifices at the festivals, the weekly Sabbath, and the monthly new moon offerings, he was also responsible for providing the lamb offered up daily as a burnt offering in the Temple to Yahweh. Besides that, he also had to provide a small grain offering of 1/6th of an ephah or less than 1/10th of a bushel of grain with 1/3rd of a gallon of oil. This was a daily task. The oil moistened the flour, as usual. Yahweh, via Ezekiel said that this was a perpetual ordinance. There was to be a morning burnt offering to Yahweh of a lamb, with the accompanying grain and oil, every single day.

The role of the prince in these offerings (Ezek 45:16-45:17)

“All the people

Of the land

Shall join

With the prince in Israel,

In making this offering.

But this shall be

The obligation

Of the prince

Regarding

The burnt offerings,

The grain offerings,

The drink offerings,

At the festivals,

The new moons,

The Sabbath,

All the appointed festivals

Of the house of Israel.

He shall provide

The sin offerings,

The grain offerings,

The burnt offerings,

The peace offerings,

To make atonement

For the house of Israel.”

The prince in Israel would be responsible for providing the animals and grains for the sacrifices and sin offerings at the various festivals. All the people of the land would join with the prince for these offerings. However, it was the obligation of the prince to make sure that there were animals, grains, and oils available for these burnt offerings, grain offerings, and the drink offerings at all these religious festivals, including the new moons and the Sabbath. The prince was to provide for these various offerings, including the peace offerings, in order to make atonement for the house of Israel.

The eight tables in the inner chamber (Ezek 40:40-40:41)

“On the outside

Of the vestibule,

At the entrance

Of the north gate,

Were two tables.

On the other side

Of the vestibule

Of the gate

Were two tables.

Four tables were

On the inside.

Four tables were

On the outside

Of the side

Of the gate.

There were eight tables,

On which the sacrifices

Were to be slaughtered.”

At the north side of the Temple, by the vestibule, at the entrance gate there were 2 tables on either side for a total of 4 tables. However, there was 4 more tables on the inside. These were the 8 tables where the animals would be slaughtered in preparation for the sacrifices.