Plucking Grain on the Sabbath

NA27 Mt 12:1-4, 8 B Mark 2:23-28 T Mark 2:23-28 P88 Mark 2:23-28 D Mark 2:23-28 W Mark 2:23-28 D Luke 6:1-5 T Luke 6:1-5 B Luke 6:1-5
1Kai ekeinw tw kairw
eporeuqh o IhsouV

toiV sabbasin
dia twn sporimwn.

oi de maqhtai autou
epeinasan kai hrxanto
tillein
stacuaV kai esqein.

2Oi de Farisaioi idonteV
eipan autw,
Idou
oi maqhtai sou
poiousin
o ouk exestin poiein
en sabbatw.
3O de
eipen autoiV,
Ouk anegnwte
ti epoihsen Dauid ote

epeinasen
kai oi met autou,
4pwV eishlqen
eiV ton oikon tou qeou

kai touV artouV thV
proqesewV efagon,


o ouk exon hn autw fagein
oude toiV met autou
ei mh toiV iereusin monoiV;
/**

6Legw de umein oti



**/
8kurioV gar estin
tou sabbatou
o UioV tou Anqrwpou.
23Kai egeneto auton
en toiV sabbasin
diaporeuesqai
dia twn sporimwn,

kai oi maqhtai autou
hrxanto odopoiein
tillonteV
touV stacuaV.

24Kai oi Fareisaioi
elegon autw,
Ide
ti poiousin
toiV sabbasin
o ouk exestin;
25Kai
elegen autoiV,
Oudepote anegnwte
ti epoihsen Daueid ote
creian escen kai
epeinasen autoV
kai oi met autou,
26eishlqen
eiV ton oikon tou qeou
epi Abiaqar arcierewV
kai touV artouV thV
proqesewV efagen,


ouV ouk exestin fagein

ei mh touV iereiV,
kai edwken

kai toiV*sun autw*ousin;
27kai elegen autoiV,
To sabbaton dia
ton anqropon egeneto
kai ouc o anqrwpoV
dia to sabbaton

28wste kurioV estin
o UioV tou Anqrwpou
kai tou sabbatou.
23Kai egeneto auton
en toiV sabbasin
paraporeuesqe
dia twn sporimwn,

kai oi maqhtai autou
hrxanto odon poiein
tillonteV
touV stacuaV.

24Kai oi Farisaioi
elegon autw,
Ide
ti poiousin
toiV sabbasin
o ouk exestin;
25Kai
legei autoiV,
Oudepote anegnwte
ti epoihsen Dauid ote
crian escen kai
epinasen autoV
kai oi met autou,
26pwV eishlqen
eiV ton oikon tou qeou
epi Abiaqar arcierewV
kai touV artouV thV
proqesewV efagen,


ouV ouk exestin fagin

ei mh touV iereiV,
kai edwken

kai toiV*sun autw*ousin;
27kai elegen autoiV,
To sabbaton dia
ton anqropon egeneto
kai ouc o anqrwpoV
dia to sabbaton

28wste kurioV estin
o UioV tou Anqrwpou
kai tou sabbatou.
23Kai egeneto auton
en toiV sabbasin
paraporeuesqai
dia twn sporimwn,

kai oi maqhtai autou
hrxanto odon poiein
tillonteV
touV stacuaV.

24Kai oi Fareiseoi
elegon autw,
Eide
ti poiousin
toiV sabbasin
o ouk exestin;
25Kai
elegen autoiV,
Oudepote anegnwte
ti epoihsen Daueid ote
crian escen kai
epinasen autoV
kai ou met autou,
26pwV eishlqen
eiV ton oikon tou qeou
epi Abiaqar arcierewV
kai touV artouV thV
proqesewV efagen,


ouV ouk exestin fagein

ei mh touV iereiV,
kai edwken
kai toiV sun autw ousin
;
27kai elegen autoiV,
To sabbaton dia
ton anqropon egeneto
kai ouc o anqrwpoV
dia to sabbaton

28wste kurioV estin
o UioV tou Anqrwpou
kai tou sabbatou.

23Kai egeneto palin auton
en toiV sabbasin
diaporeuesqe
dia twn sporimwn,

kai oi maqhtai
hrxanto
tillein
touV stacuaV.

24Oi de Farisaioi
elegon,
Ide
ti poiousin oi maqhtai sou
toiV sabbasin
o ouk exestin autoiV;
25Kai apokriqeiV
eipen autoiV,
Oudepote anegnwte
ti epoihsen Daueid ote
creian escen kai
epinasen autoV
kai oi met autou onteV,
26eishlqen
eiV ton oikon tou qeou

kai touV artouV thV
prosqesewV efagen,
kai edwken
toiV met autou ousin
ouV ouk exestin fagein

ei mh touV iereusin;


27Legw de umein,




28kurioV estin
o UioV tou Anqrwpou
kai tou sabbatou.
23Kai egeneto auton
en toiV sabbasin
poreuesqai
dia twn esparmenwn,

kai oi maqhtai autou
hrxanto
tillein
touV stacuaV.

24Oi de Farisaioi
elegon autw,
Eide
ti poiousin
toiV sabbasin
o ouk exestin;
25Kai
legei autoiV,
Oude touto anegnwte
o epoihsen Daueid ote
creian escen kai
epinasen autoV
kai oi met autou,
26pwV eishlqwn
eiV ton oikon tou qeou

efagen kai touV artouV thV
proqesewV,
kai edwken
kai toiV met autou
ouV ouk exestin fagein

ei mh touV iereusin;


27Legw de umein oti
to sabbaton dia
ton anqropon
ektisqh


28wste kurioV estin
o UioV tou Anqrwpou
kai tou sabbatou.
1Kai egeneto auton
en sabbatw deuteroprwtw
dia
poreuesqai
dia twn sporimwn,

oi de maqhtai autou
hrxanto
tillein
touV stacuaV kai
ywconteV taiV cersin hsqion
.
2TineV de twn Farisaiwn
elegon autw,
Eide
ti
poiousin oi maqhtai sou
toiV sabbasin
o ouk exestin;
3ApokriqeiV de o IhsouV
elegen proV autouV,
Oudepote touto anegnwtai
o epoihsen Daueid ote

epeinasen autoV
kai oi *sun autw*,
4eishlqwn
eiV ton oikon tou qeou

kai touV artouV thV
prosqesewV efagen
kai edwken

kai toiV met autou,
oiV ouk exon hn fagein

ei mh monoiV toiV iereusin;
/**
**/
5kai elegen autoiV oti




kurioV estin
o UioV tou Anqrwpou
kai tou sabbatou.
1Egeneto de
en sabbatw
dia
poreuesqai
dia sporimwn,
kai etillon
oi maqhtai autou


stacuaV kai hsqion
ywconteV taiV cersin.
2TineV de twn Farisaiwn
eipon,

Ti poieitai
o ouc exestin poiein
toiV sabbasin;
3Kai apokriqeiV o IhsouV
proV
autouV eipen,
Oude touto anegnwte
o epoihsen Dauid ote

epinasen autoV
kai oi met autou,
4wV eishlqen
eiV ton oikon tou qeou

kai touV artouV thV
proqesewV efagen
kai edwken

kai toiV met autou,
ouV ouk exestin fagein

ei mh monouV touV iereiV;


5kai elegen autoiV,




kurioV estin
tou sabbatou
o UioV tou Anqrwpou.
1Egeneto de
en sabbatw
dia
poreuesqai
dia sporimwn,
kai etillon
oi maqhtai autou


kai hsqion touV stacuaV
ywconteV taiV cersin.
2TineV de twn Fareisaiwn
eipon,

Ti poieite
o ouk exestin
toiV sabbasin;
3Kai apokriqeiV proV
autouV eipen IhsouV,
Oude touto anegnwte
o epoihsen Daueid ote

epeinasen autoV
kai oi met autou,
4eishlqen
eiV ton oikon tou qeou

kai touV artouV thV
proqesewV labwn efagen
kai edwken

toiV met autou,
ouV ouk exestin fagein

ei mh monouV touV iereiV;


5kai elegen autoiV,




kurioV estin
(kai) tou sabbatou
o UioV tou Anqrwpou.

Notes:

Here are a few comments about the Plucking Grain on the Sabbath pericope. I have inserted an extra "guest column" in this last of a series of pericopes from papyrus P88 to provide additional information about the structure.

1. The story begins with the disciples passing through the grainfields, picking heads of grain on the Sabbath. The expression sabbatw deuteroprwtw (second-first sabbath) in D and Byz Luke has been an enigma since the time of Jerome. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, it refers to the first Sabbath after the Passover. Mark 2:23 B and D have diaporeuesqai (passing through) in agreement with Luke 6:1, whereas and P88 have paraporeuesqai (passing by). The / P88 version conflicts somewhat with the expression which follows dia twn sporimwn (through the grainfields). This construction may be intended to indicate that the disciples are initially passing beside the fields rather than through them. The expression which follows (only in Alexandrian Mark) odon poiein is said to be equivalent to the latinism iter facare (went on their way). But the word immediately preceding this expression hrxanto (began) requires an infinitive, so that the entire expression hrxanto odon poiein is more likely to mean "began to make a way". The Western text (D, W) has the simpler hrxanto tillein (began to pick) in agreement with Mt 12:1. The Alexandrian reading is more expansive than the Western, similar to the other pericopes in this series (Mk 2:1 to 3:6).

2. Matthew and Luke add the additional detail that the disciples eat the grain. This is a minor agreement against Mark. However, B, , and D Luke all differ in word order. The difference in wording and the detail about rubbing the heads of grain in their hands may be the remnants of a semitism in Luke. A plausible reconstruction from and D could be as follows: kai etillon oi maqhtai autou stacuaV kai hsqion, ywconteV taiV cersin hsqion (and picking the disciples of him heads and eating, rubbing them in their hands eating). Mark has the disciples make a path, presumably trampling and plucking the grain as they go, but no eating is mentioned.

3. The main body of the story is a controversy over what activity is permitted on the Sabbath. The Pharisees object that the disciples are doing what is not permitted (working on the Sabbath), and Jesus responds that David did likewise in the Temple when he and his men were hungry. However, the response doesn't exactly fit the question. David requests five loaves of bread or whatever can be found in 1 Samuel 21:3, but David entered without his companions, he did not eat the shewbread in the tabernacle, and his request did not occur on the Sabbath. However, David's hunger was caused by fleeing from persecution by Saul. Mark may have created this pericope to argue that human need ("they had need") supercedes rules and regulations, and it may point ahead to the miracle of the five loaves and fishes. David fed himself and his companions with five loaves, whereas Jesus - the son of David - feeds a multitude.

4. The reference to Abiathar the high priest in Mk 2:26 is a well-known textual problem. The episode with David cited in 1 Samuel 21 happened when Ahimelech, the father of Abiathar, was high priest. The reference probably refers instead to 2 Samuel 15:25-27 where Abiathar takes the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and points ahead to Jesus going to Jerusalem to fulfil the New Covenant. The mention of Abiathar occurs only in Alexandrian Mark and is a Western non-interpolation and a minor agreement of the parallels in Matthew and Luke. I like Michael Turton's suggestion that this clause refers to 1Kings 2, which is the story of David's impending death and the promise that his throne will last forever (see 1Kg 2:2-4, 45), and particularly 1Kings 2:26 (Darby)
"And the king said to Abiathar the priest, Go to Anathoth, to thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death; but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou didst bear the ark of Adonai Jehovah before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted."
5. The expression toiV met autou (the ones with him) in Matthew 12:4 is a minor agreement with Luke 6:4 (and Western Mark 2:26) against Alexandrian Mark 2:26. Alexandrian Mark 2:26 has toiV sun autw ousin (the ones near to him being). The word monoiV (alone) in Mt 12:4 is also a minor agreement with Lk 6:4 against Mark. These examples along with eating the grain in Mt 12:1 / Lk 6:1 provide further evidence that the triple-tradition of Luke cannot be derived from Mark alone.

6. Mark 2:27 has the saying "the Sabbath because of man happened not man because of the Sabbath". The saying has a Rabbinic parallel "The Sabbath is given over to you, and not you to the Sabbath". It is not found in D Mk 2:27 and only the first half is in W Mk 2:27. Less noticed is that the introductory words Legw de umein in Western Mark match with Matthew 12:6 even though the Matthean pericope is absent from Mark. The implications are that Western Mark had this pericope and subsequently omitted it. Otherwise, why copy the introductory words? This is the strongest evidence I have found yet that Matthew is more closely related to Western Mark than Alexandrian Mark, but the direction of the dependence remains to be determined.

7. The conclusion of the pericope (Mark 2:28) has Jesus saying "so then lord is the Son of Man even of the Sabbath". The saying is ambiguous and could be interpreted to mean that "a man" or "mankind" is lord of the Sabbath. This would be consistent with Mark's use of irony. The interrogators think "Son of Man" is a reference to mankind but Mark and his readers know it is a Christological title that refers to Jesus. Mt 12:8 and Lk 6:5 have a minor agreement in word order against Mark (except D Luke which has Mark's word order). The word kai (even), shown in parenthesis in B Luke, is found only in P4 in Alexandrian Luke, although there are a few manuscripts that have it in Matthew.

8. So what is going on in this complex pericope? It begins and ends with a discussion of what is permitted on the Sabbath and the central story argues that the preservation of life is an acceptable reason to suspend the law. However, the expression sabbatw deuteroprwtw (second-first sabbath) in Luke 6:1 is a misunderstanding of the term "be-had le-shabba tinyana" (on the first of the second week after Passover) and suggests that the story was originally about the first fruits of the harvest. The disciples in their hunger plucked the new grain in the field and ate it without waiting for the wave offering of a sheaf of barley over the altar on the first day after the second Sabbath (Lev. xxiii. 11-14). What is not permitted is the violation of a thank offering rather than working on the Sabbath. David collected the shewbread after it had been removed from the tabernacle as part of a thank offering. The irony is that it is more important to the Pharisees to offer thanks for the grain than feed the hungry with it. There would be no reason to add a detail about the second-first Sabbath to a controversy about working on the Sabbath. Mark has apparently adapted an older version this pericope to construct a teaching unit about the Sabbath (Mk 2:23-3:6).