how he went into the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which only the priests are allowed to eat, and gave some to his comrades as well?”
taken for me
taken for you
two distinct rationales
needing parsing and clarity
within a manipulative wilderness
left to their own devices
it won’t be long before you
is only a longer spelling of me
you taken me taker
hopefully hungering temptations
will be revealed
as variants on a theme
we are together in this
The Jewish Annotated New Testament, edited by Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler, reflects on this verse:
This typical controversy story involves a legal challenge, presented as petty and mean-spirited, and a pithy rejoinder that transcends the legal challenge to address the underlying human need. Before that response, however, the text includes a scriptural and legal argument: if David could supersede law to meet human needs, so could Jesus and his disciples. However Mark does not accurately follow the biblical text, 1 Sam 21.1–6, making the question—have you never read?—perhaps accidentally ironic. David acts alone in 1 Samuel, does not act from hunger, and does not enter the house of God to eat the bread of Presence. Further the priest is Ahimelech, not Abiathar. Pharisees would also not likely be out in the fields on the Sabbath to observe behavior, so the story, like other conflict stories in the Gospels, is likely created to define the identities of Jesus’ followers and their opponents.
Here is our opportunity to reflect on how easy it is to shave just a little bit off a story to further advance our over-investment in a particular perspective. It is small steps as these small slights to a common history that eventually lead to gaps too large to step back over.
A part of the wrestling here is with the limits of irony and sarcasm. An appeal to the ironic is a relatively common way of avoiding an apology or saying, “I’m sorry”. Is all, including sarcasm, fair in a game of religious differences? Is this really a zero-sum game that calls for a deep fundamentalism at the heart of every religious tradition?
Honor consensual reality before taking advantage of it.