6:3 Jesus 1 answered them, 2 “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry – 6:4 how he entered the house of God, took 3 and ate the sacred bread, 4 which is not lawful 5 for any to eat but the priests alone, and 6 gave it to his companions?” 7
1 tn Grk “And Jesus.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
2 tn Grk “Jesus, answering them, said.” This is redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified to “Jesus answered them.”
3 tn Grk “and took.”
4 tn Grk “the bread of presentation.”
sn The sacred bread refers to the “bread of presentation,” “showbread,” or “bread of the Presence,” twelve loaves prepared weekly for the tabernacle and later, the temple. See Exod 25:30; 35:13; 39:36; Lev 24:5-9. Each loaf was made from 3 quarts (3.5 liters; Heb “two tenths of an ephah”) of fine flour. The loaves were placed on a table in the holy place of the tabernacle, on the north side opposite the lampstand (Exod 26:35). It was the duty of the priest each Sabbath to place fresh bread on the table; the loaves from the previous week were then given to Aaron and his descendants, who ate them in the holy place, because they were considered sacred (Lev 24:9). These were the loaves that David requested from Ahimelech for himself and his men (1 Sam 21:1-6; cf. also Matt 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28).
5 sn Jesus’ response to the charge that what his disciples were doing was not lawful is one of analogy: ‘If David did it for his troops in a time of need, then so can I with my disciples.’ Jesus is clear that on the surface there was a violation here. What is not as clear is whether he is arguing a “greater need” makes this permissible or that this was within the intention of the law all along.
7 tc The Western ms D adds here a full saying that reads, “On the same day, as he saw someone working on the Sabbath he said, ‘Man, if you know what you are doing, you are blessed, but if you do not know, you are cursed and a violator of the law.’” Though this is not well enough attested to be considered authentic, many commentators have debated whether this saying might go back to Jesus. Most reject it, though it does have wording that looks like Rom 2:25, 27 and Jas 2:11.
sn See 1 Sam 21:1-6.