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Matthew 12:1–8

Controversy Over Sabbath-Labor

Mark 2:23–28; Luke 6:1–5

12 At that time aJesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to bpluck heads of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”

But He said to them, Have you not read cwhat David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate dthe showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, ebut only for the priests? Or have you not read in the flaw that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple 1profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? Yet I say to you that in this place there is gOne greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, hI desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord 2even of the Sabbath.”

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Matthew 12:1–8 — The New International Version (NIV)

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”

He answered, Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated breadwhich was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Matthew 12:1–8 — English Standard Version (ESV)

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

Matthew 12:1–8 — King James Version (KJV 1900)

At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Matthew 12:1–8 — New Living Translation (NLT)

At about that time Jesus was walking through some grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began breaking off some heads of grain and eating them. But some Pharisees saw them do it and protested, “Look, your disciples are breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath.”

Jesus said to them, Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He went into the house of God, and he and his companions broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. And haven’t you read in the law of Moses that the priests on duty in the Temple may work on the Sabbath? I tell you, there is one here who is even greater than the Temple! But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”

Matthew 12:1–8 — New Century Version (NCV)

At that time Jesus was walking through some fields of grain on a Sabbath day. His followers were hungry, so they began to pick the grain and eat it. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to Jesus, “Look! Your followers are doing what is unlawful to do on the Sabbath day.”

Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did when he and the people with him were hungry? He went into God’s house, and he and those with him ate the holy bread, which was lawful only for priests to eat. And have you not read in the law of Moses that on every Sabbath day the priests in the Temple break this law about the Sabbath day? But the priests are not wrong for doing that. I tell you that there is something here that is greater than the Temple. The Scripture says, ‘I want kindness more than I want animal sacrifices.’ You don’t really know what those words mean. If you understood them, you would not judge those who have done nothing wrong.

“So the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath day.”

Matthew 12:1–8 — American Standard Version (ASV)

At that season Jesus went on the sabbath day through the grainfields; and his disciples were hungry and began to pluck ears and to eat. But the Pharisees, when they saw it, said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which it is not lawful to do upon the sabbath. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was hungry, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and ate the showbread, which it was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them that were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, that on the sabbath day the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are guiltless? But I say unto you, that one greater than the temple is here. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath.

Matthew 12:1–8 — 1890 Darby Bible (DARBY)

At that time Jesus went on the sabbath through the cornfields; and his disciples were hungry, and began to pluck the ears and to eat. But the Pharisees, seeing it, said to him, Behold, thy disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on sabbath. But he said to them, Have ye not read what David did when he was hungry, and they that were with him? How he entered into the house of God, and ate the shewbread, which it was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those with him, but for the priests only? Or have ye not read in the law that on the sabbaths the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, that there is here what is greater than the temple. But if ye had known what is: I will have mercy and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord of the sabbath.

Matthew 12:1–8 — GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Then on a day of rest—a holy day, Jesus walked through the grainfields. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain to eat. 

When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing something that is not right to do on the day of rest—a holy day.” 

Jesus asked them, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his men were hungry? Haven’t you read how he went into the house of God and atethe bread of the presence? He and his men had no right to eat those loaves. Only the priests have that right. Or haven’t you read in Moses’ Teachings that on the day of rest—a holy day, the priests in the temple do things they shouldn’t on the day of rest yet remain innocent? I can guarantee that somethinggreater than the temple is here. If you had known what ‘I want mercy, not sacrifices’ means, you would not have condemned innocent people. 

“The Son of Man has authority over the day of rest—a holy day.” 

Matthew 12:1–8 — The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

At that time Jesus passed through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick and eat some heads of grain. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”

He said to them, Haven’t you read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungryhow he entered the house of God, and they ate the sacred bread, which is not lawful for him or for those with him to eat, but only for the priests? Or haven’t you read in the Law that on Sabbath days the priests in the temple violate the Sabbath and are innocent? But I tell you that something greater than the temple is here! If you had known what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Matthew 12:1–8 — The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.” He said to them, Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests. Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests in the temple break the sabbath and yet are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”

Matthew 12:1–8 — The Lexham English Bible (LEB)

At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. And his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck off heads of grain and eat them. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Behold, your disciples are doing what it is not permitted to do on the Sabbath!” So he said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those with him, how he entered into the house of God and ate the bread of the presentation, which it was not permitted for him or for those with him to eat, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple violate the sanctity of the Sabbath and are guiltless? But I tell you that something greater than the temple is here! And if you had known what it means, ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

Matthew 12:1–8 — New International Reader’s Version (1998) (NIrV)

One Sabbath day Jesus walked through the grainfields. His disciples were hungry. So they began to break off some heads of grain and eat them. The Pharisees saw this. They said to Jesus, “Look! It is against the Law to do this on the Sabbath. But your disciples are doing it anyway!”

Jesus answered, “Haven’t you read about what David did? He and his men were hungry. So he entered the house of God. He and his men ate the holy bread. Only priests were allowed to eat it. Haven’t you read the Law? It tells how every Sabbath day the priests in the temple have to do their work on that day. But they are not considered guilty.

“I tell you that one who is more important than the temple is here. Scripture says, ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice.’ You don’t know what those words mean. If you did, you would not bring charges against those who are not guilty. The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath day.”

Matthew 12:1–8 — New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (NASB95)

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat.

But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.”

But He said to them, Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions,

how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone?

Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent?

But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here.

But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.

For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”


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