Matthew 12:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 12:3, NIV: He answered, 'Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?

Matthew 12:3, ESV: He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him:

Matthew 12:3, KJV: But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;

Matthew 12:3, NASB: But He said to them, 'Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions—

Matthew 12:3, NLT: Jesus said to them, 'Haven't you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry?

Matthew 12:3, CSB: He said to them, "Haven't you read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry:

What does Matthew 12:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Some Pharisees have seen Jesus' disciples picking off heads of grain and eating them while walking through a field on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:1–2). The Pharisees have complained to Jesus that what the disciples were doing was unlawful. The fourth of the Ten Commandment forbids working on the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8–11). According to the Pharisees' traditional interpretation of that command, picking the heads off the grain qualified as harvesting or reaping: a form of "work."

Jesus will firmly reject their accusation and their interpretation of the Law, using Scripture to back up His reasoning. He starts by asking if they have not read what David and his friends did when they were hungry (1 Samuel 21:1–6). Of course, Jesus knows that the Pharisees have read that story. These men had read Scripture in its entirety. His point is to hold them accountable for not applying the Scripture according to the actual intent of God. The Pharisees are applying the law as hypocrites, failing to notice the real lives of those under their spiritual care.

Jesus continues His question about that moment in David's life in the following verse.