Something Greater Than the Temple

Articles 1 Comment

In Jesus' statement about the Temple he did not speak of himself, he spoke of the needs and value of his disciples.

One of the difficult sayings of Jesus is his justification of the disciples’ plucking and/or rubbing heads of grain on the Sabbath. Fortunately, research in recent years among Jewish scholars in Jerusalem has shed new light on what the questionable action might have been.

Whereas Matthew 12:1 records that the disciples “plucked the grains,” Luke 6:1 says “they plucked…rubbing them in their hands.” The late professor, Shlomo Pines, of the Hebrew University discovered an Arabic version of the event preserved in the testimony of early Jewish Christians with a description that the disciples only “rubbed the grains” with no mention of plucking. This characterization of the events accords with other ancient versions of the Gospel narrative.

The omission of plucking is important. In no event would harvesting on the Sabbath have been permitted. Nevertheless, Rabbi Judah and other Sages did allow for rubbing (i.e., husking) of grains under limited conditions.

He may crush it [the grain of an herb] and eat, provided that he does not crush a large quantity with a utensil: the words of R. Judah. But the Sages (further) maintain: He may crush it with the tips of his fingers and eat, provided, however, that he does not crush a large quantity with his hands in the same way as he does on weekdays. (b. Sabbath 128a)

Premium Members
If you are not a Premium Member, please consider becoming one starting at $10/month (paid monthly) or only $5/month (paid annually):

One Time Purchase Rather Than Membership
Rather than a membership, you may also purchase access to this entire page for $1.99 USD. (If you do not have an account select "Register & Purchase.")

Login & Purchase
Dr. Notley’s discussion of this Sabbath incident is continued in his article, “The Sabbath Was Made for Man.”

Comments 1

  1. Pingback: The Sabbath Was Made for Man | Online

Leave a Reply

  • R. Steven Notley

    R. Steven Notley

    R. Steven Notley is professor of Biblical Studies at the New York City campus of Nyack College. A member and past director of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research, Notley earned his Ph.D. in Comparative Religions at the Hebrew University (1993). He studied in Jerusalem…
    [Read more about author]

  • Online Hebrew Course

    Want to learn Hebrew? Check out our online Hebrew course Aleph-Bet: Hebrew Reading and Writing for Christians in 17 Easy Lessons.

  • JP Content