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Matthew 12:5

Or have you not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
Read Chapter 12

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Break the sabbath; i.e. they do that, which if the divine worship did not require, would not be allowed on the sabbath, as the work they do, of its own nature, is servile.

Jerome

AD 420
You falsely accuse my disciples, Jesus says, for plucking ears of grain while passing through the standing fields. They did this because of their pangs of hunger. But you must violate the sabbath by immolating victims in the temple, slaughtering bulls and burning holocausts on a heap of firewood and, according to the testimony of the other Gospel, circumcising children on the sabbath. Thus, while you wish to observe the one law, you dishonor the sabbath. But God’s commands do not contradict each other. . ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Afterwards again He refutes it in another way also. For as at first He brought in David, by the dignity of the person quelling their pride; so when He had stopped their mouths, and had put down their boasting, then He adds also the more appropriate refutation. And of what sort is this? Do you not know, that in the temple the priests profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? Matthew 12:5 For in that other instance indeed, says He, the emergency made the relaxation, but here is the relaxation even without emergency. He did not however at once thus refute them but first by way of permission, afterwards as insisting upon his argument. Because it was meet to draw the stronger inference last, although the former argument also had of course its proper weight. For tell me not, that it is not freeing one's self from blame, to bring forward another who is committing the same sin. For when the doer incurs no blame, the act on which he has ventured becomes a rule for others to plead. Neverthel...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Do not reply that one does not free oneself from blame by noting that someone else is committing the same offense. Or that if the offender has no blame, his act becomes a rule for others to plead. Jesus was not satisfied with such reasoning. Instead, he concludes something more decisive: the deed itself in this case is no sin at all! This more than anything was the sign of a glorious victory: For here the Giver of the law was overriding the law. This victory occurs in a particular place, the temple, and on a particular day, the sabbath. One might even point to several levels of legal reversal, pertaining to the work that is done; it is done by priests, and more so, that it elicits no charges. For they remain guiltless. Do you see how many levels of argument Jesus is making in stating this case? They are “in the temple.” The persons involved are “priests.” The time is “the sabbath.” The act itself is “profane.” Note that he does not say gently that they “break” the sabbath law but more ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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