|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:1-5 Christ justifies his disciples in a work of necessity for themselves on the sabbath day, and that was plucking the ears of corn when they were hungry. But we must take heed that we mistake not this liberty for leave to commit sin. Christ will have us to know and remember that it is his day, therefore to be spent in his service, and to his honour.
Verses 1-11. - The Lord's teaching on the question of the observance of the sabbath. Verse 1. - And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first. The expression accompanying this note of time of St. Luke, "the second sabbath after the first," more literally, "the second-first sabbath," has always been a difficulty with expositors of this Gospel. The word is absolutely unique, and is found in no other Greek author. Recent investigations in the text of the New Testament have proved that this word is not found in the majority of the more ancient authorities. Of the modern critical editors, Alford and Lachmann enclose the disputed word in brackets; Tregelles and Meyer omit it altogether; but the Revisers of the English Version relegate it to the margin in its literal form, "second-first;" Tischendorf alone admits it in his text. The question is of interest to the antiquarian, but scarcely of any to the theologian. It was, perhaps, introduced at an early date into many of the manuscripts of St. Luke, owing to some copyist writing n the margin of his parchment in this place "first" to distinguish this sabbath and its scene from the other sabbath alluded to four verses further on; "second" was not unlikely to have been written in correction of "first" by some other copyist using the manuscript, thinking it better thus to distinguish this from the sabbath alluded to in Luke 4:31; and thus the two corrections may have got confused in many of the primitive copies. It can scarcely be imagined, if it really formed part of the original work of St. Luke, that so remarkable a word could ever have dropped out of the text of the most ancient and trustworthy authorities. Supposing it to have been a part of the original writing, scholars have suggested many explanations. Of these the simplest and most satisfactory are:
(1) The first sabbath of each of the seven years which made a sabbatic cycle was called first, second, third, etc., sabbath. Thus the "second-first" sabbath would signify the first sabbath of the second year of the seven-years' cycle. This is Wieseler's theory.
(2) The civil year of the Jews began in autumn about mid-September to mid-October (month Tisri), and the ecclesiastical year in spring, about mid-March to mid-April (month Nisan). Thus there were every year two first sabbaths - one at the commencement of the civil year, which would be called 'first-first;' the other at the beginning of the ecclesiastical year, which would be called 'second-first. The period here alluded to by St. Luke would perfectly agree with either of these explanations. The latter theory was suggested by Louis Cappel, and is quoted with approval by Godet. And his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. St. Matthew adds here that they "were an hungred." This they might well have been in following the Master in his teaching in different places, even though some of their homes were nigh at hand. We have no need to introduce the question of their poverty - which, in the case of several of them at least, we know did not exist - here leading them to this method of satisfying their hunger. They had probably been out for some hours with Jesus without breaking their fast, and, finding themselves in a field of ripe corn, took this easy, present means of gratifying a natural want. The Law expressly permitted them to do this: "When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand" (Deuteronomy 23:25).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it came to pass on the second sabbath day after the first,.... Or "second first sabbath", concerning which interpreters are greatly divided. Some think, that it was either the seventh day of the feast of unleavened bread, or the eighth day of the feast of tabernacles. Others, that it was the sabbath which fell that year on the day of Pentecost; and that as there were three grand festivals among the Jews, the feasts of passover, Pentecost, and tabernacles; so when the sabbath day fell on the feast of the passover, it was called the first prime sabbath, when on the feast of Pentecost, it was called the second prime sabbath, and when on the feast of tabernacles, the third prime sabbath. Others have been of opinion, that as the Jews had two beginnings of their year, the one on civil accounts in Tisri, the other on ecclesiastical accounts in Nisan; so the first sabbath in Tisri was called the first first sabbath, and that in Nisan, which was this, the second first sabbath: but what seems most likely is, that this sabbath was, as it may be rendered, "the first sabbath after the second"; that is, the first sabbath after the second day of the passover, when the sheaf of the firstfruits was offered, and harvest might be begun; which suits well with ears of corn being ripe at this time, which the disciples rubbed. So the Jews reckoned the seven weeks from thence to Pentecost by sabbaths; the first after the second day they called the second first, or the first after the second day; the second they called the second second; and the third was named the second third; and so on, the second fourth, the second fifth, the second sixth, and second seventh, which brought on Pentecost, when the harvest was ended. So in the Jewish liturgies, there are collects for the first sabbath after the passover, and for the second sabbath after the passover, and so on to the sabbath before Pentecost. The eastern versions, Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic, not knowing what should be meant by it, have only rendered it, "on the sabbath day", as in Mat_. 12:1. See Gill on Matthew 12:1.
That he went through the corn fields; that is, Jesus, as the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions:
and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands: after they had plucked them they rubbed them in their hands to get clean off the husk or beard, that were on them, and then ate the grains. And as plucking of the ears of corn was forbidden on a sabbath day; see Gill on Matthew 12:2, so was rubbing them; though if they were rubbed before, the chaff might be blown off from them in the hand, and eat on the sabbath day: the rule is this (l);
"he that rubs ears of corn on the evening of the sabbath, (i.e. on the sixth day,) may blow them from hand to hand on the morrow, and eat''
But the disciples both plucked them, and rubbed them, and blew away the chaff from them on the sabbath day, and therefore were complained of by the Pharisees.
(l) T. Bab. Betza, fol. 12. 2. & 13. 2. Vid. Maimon. Hilch. Sabbat, c. 21. sect. 14. 17.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Lu 6:1-5. Plucking Corn-ears on the Sabbath.
(See on Mt 12:1-8 and Mr 2:23-28.)
1. second sabbath after the first—an obscure expression, occurring here only, generally understood to mean, the first sabbath after the second day of unleavened bread. The reasons cannot be stated here, nor is the opinion itself quite free from difficulty.
Luke 6:1 Parallel Commentaries
Luke 6:1 NIV
Luke 6:1 NLT
Luke 6:1 ESV
Luke 6:1 NASB
Luke 6:1 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible