- When God had created the earth in six days, He rested on the seventh (Genesis 2:1-3).
- The Sabbath is the day that God wants man to keep holy and to rest from work (Exodus 20:8-11).
- Is it “work” to “pick axles”?
- It was permissible according to the Pentateuch to pick ears of grain in the fields (Deuteronomy 23:26).
- It was forbidden according to the Pentateuch to work on the Sabbath (Exodus 20:9-10).
- According to the oral Torah of the Pharisees, the disciples’ ax-picking meant “threshing”, which according to the Pharisees was forbidden on the Shabbat.
- When two rules clash, it was traditional that the most important rule should prevail.
- Priests were allowed to work on the Sabbath if certain feasts happened to occur on the Sabbath.
- Boys were to be circumcised on the eighth day after their birth, even if that day happened to fall on the Sabbath.
- “Showbread” was bread that was always on display in the temple before the presence of God (Leviticus 24:5-9) and could only be eaten by priests.
- According to the book of Samuel, David ate of these showbread even though he was not given (1 Sam 21:1-6).
- Jesus’ answer is that under certain circumstances one may break the Sabbath because the Sabbath is for the good of man and not the other way around.