What does Matthew 12:3 mean?
ESV: He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him:
NIV: He answered, 'Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?
NASB: But He said to them, 'Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions—
CSB: He said to them, "Haven't you read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry:
NLT: Jesus said to them, 'Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry?
KJV: But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
NKJV: But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Matthew 12:1–8 finds Jesus' hungry disciples breaking the heads off grain and eating as they walk through a field with Him on the way to the synagogue. Some Pharisees tell Jesus this is unlawful. In their interpretation, this is a violation of the command not to work on the Sabbath. Jesus counters the accusation with a series of questions, showing their manmade restriction cannot stand. Their legalistic, expanded view doesn't reflect God's intended meaning of the Sabbath. The Pharisees must learn that God desires mercy, not sacrifice. He declares Himself greater than the temple, and Lord of the Sabbath.
Chapter Summary:
Matthew 12 features confrontations between the Pharisees and Jesus over several issues. Among these are working on the Sabbath, healing on the Sabbath, and the source of His power to cast out demons. Jesus counters each argument and rebukes the Pharisees sharply for their obstinate unbelief. He even notes that those who maliciously ascribe His miracles to demons are unforgivable. He warns them, and the rest of their current generation, about the judgment to come. Jesus calls the Pharisees a brood of vipers and rejects their demand for another miracle. All they'll be promised is the sign of Jonah. The Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days. Jesus also states that all who do His Father's will are His family.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 11 depicted Jesus preaching and teaching after sending out His chosen disciples in pairs in chapter 10. Chapter 12 immediately picks up with more confrontation with the Pharisees. Jesus responds to those criticisms and rebukes their evil hearts as the source of their evil words. In the following chapter, Matthew will shift His focus onto Jesus' parables.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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