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Again, on Mark 2:23-28

I think this is different enough to the "solutions" shared earlier to be worth a post. I'm afraid I haven't had a chance to absorb it yet, been reading too much today, so I can't say if I think he is on to something or not, but do let me know what you think :-)

James M. Hamilton Jr. in "The Typology of David's Rise to Power: Messianic Patterns in the Book of Samuel" JSBT 16, 2012, 4-25, at p13 writes,

Considering the way that Jesus appeals to the Davidic type in Mark 2:23-28, Goppelt draws attention to the way that Jesus not only makes a connection between himself and David in Mark 2:25, he also links his disciples to “those who were with [David].”70 This would seem to invite Mark’s audience to make other connections between those involved in these two events. Much discussion has been generated by the fact that Mark 2:26 portrays Jesus referring to “the time of Abiathar the high priest,” when it appears that at the time, Ahimelech would have been the high priest. Goppelt simply asserts: “Mark says Abiathar, but that is an error.” But perhaps there are typological forces at work here, too. David did interact with Ahime- lech in 1 Samuel 21:1-9, but Abiathar is the priest who escapes from Doeg’s slaughter (22:20). Could the reference to Abiathar be intentional? Could Mark be presenting Jesus as intentionally alluding to Abiathar’s escape from the slaughter of the priests ordered by Saul and carried out by Doeg the Edomite? Could this be a subtle way for Jesus to remind the Pharisees (“Have you never read,” Mark 2:25) that the opposition to David was wicked and murderous? If this is so, the typological connection suggested by the reference to Abiathar in Mark might be that just as Saul and Doeg opposed David and Abiathar’s household, so also the Pharisees are opposing Jesus and his followers.

He also cites Rikk E. Watts, “Mark,” in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Tes- tament (ed. G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007), 141. Which I had read but long enough ago that I hadn't been paying attention to this question. He says:

If the point is to establish an authoritative precedent, then the actions of Abiathar, as Ahimelech’s son, in taking the ephod to David to become his chief priest and subsequent blessing underscore God’s affirmation of Ahimelech’s decision, his presence with David, and his abandonment of David’s opponent Saul. Not only are Jesus’ disciples justified, but also to oppose them (and, of course, Jesus) is to oppose both ‘David’ and ultimately God, who vindicated him and will also vindicate Jesus.


  1. Do we risk underestimating the cleverness, or the ease with which memory slips?

    1. PS and since Mark is part of a highly intertextual canon, does it matter?


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