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Verses 1-11. See this passage explained: See Barnes on "Mt 12:1, also Mt 12:2-13.

1. Second sabbath after the first. See Barnes on "Mt 12:1".

This phrase has given great perplexity to commentators. A literal translation would be,


"on the sabbath called second first,"

or second first Sabbath. The word occurs nowhere else. It is therefore exceedingly difficult of interpretation. The most natural and easy explanation is that proposed by Scaliger. The second day of the Passover was a great festival, on which the wave-sheaf was offered, Le 23:11. From that day they reckoned seven weeks, or seven Sabbaths, to the day of Pentecost. The first Sabbath after that second day was called the second first, or the first from the second day of the feast. The second Sabbath was called the second second, or the second Sabbath from the second day of the feast; the third the third second, &c. This day, therefore, on which the Saviour went through the fields, was the first Sabbath that occurred after the second day of the feast.

Rubbing them in their hands. The word corn here means wheat or barley, and not maize, as in America. They rubbed it in their hands to separate the grain from the chaff. This was common and allowable. Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. it. p. 510, 511) says:

"I have often seen my muleteers, as we passed along

the wheat-fields, pluck off ears, rub them in their

hands, and eat the grains, unroasted, just as the

apostles are said to have done. This also is

allowable. The Pharisees did not object to the thing

itself, only to the time when it was done. They said

it was not lawful to do this on the Sabbath-day. It

was work forbidden by those who, through their

traditions, had made man for the Sabbath, not the

Sabbath for man."

So Professor Hackett (Illustrations of Scripture, p. 176, 177) says:

"The incident of plucking the ears of wheat, rubbing

out the kernels in their hands, and eating them

(Lu 6:1), is one which the traveller sees often

at present who is in Palestine at the time of the

gathering of the harvest. Dr. Robinson relates the

following case: `Our Arabs were an hungered, and,

going into the fields, they plucked the ears of

corn and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. On

being questioned, they said this was an old custom,

and no one would speak against it; they were supposed

to be hungry, and it was allowed as a charity.'*


The Pharisees complained of the disciples for violating

the Sabbath and not any rights of property."

{*} Biblical Researches, vol. ii. p. 192. {a} "And it came to pass" Mt 12:1; Mr 2:23

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