(Mat 12:1 NASB) At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath through the grainfields, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat.
Mat 12:1: Yeshua and His disciples were walking through the grain fields on the Sabbath and they were hungry. They plucked heads of grain and ate them. It is perfectly lawful to do so (Deut. 23:24-25).
We are told in Luke’s account that they were rubbing them with their hands in order to remove the chaff from the grain (Luke 6:1). The Pharisees apparently interpreted this to be the equivalent of threshing and winnowing the grain, which is ridiculous.
(Mat 12:2 NASB) But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Behold, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.”
Mat 12:2: The Pharisees were very superstitious in their observance of the Sabbath. They had placed their traditions on such a high level that in the past it had cost many of the Jewish people their lives. In their wars with Antiochus Epiphanes and with the Romans, they thought it a crime even to attempt to defend themselves on the Sabbath. When their enemies observed this, they deterred their operations to that day. It was through this, that Pompey was enabled to easily overtake Jerusalem.
(Mat 12:3 NASB) But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did, when he became hungry, he and his companions;
(Mat 12:4 NASB) 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?
Mat 12:4: Yeshua is going to give two examples of work being performed that were in apparent violation of Torah. But in reality, they were not.
The first is in regards to the time when David and his men were on a mission for Elohim and they came to the Tabernacle where they ate the consecrated bread. They were weary from their journey and needed sustenance. However, there was the stipulation that the men could not have been with a woman that day (1 Sam. 21:1-4). A man is unclean after having sexual relations with a woman (Lev. 15:19). The priest Abimelech knew they could not go into the Tabernacle in an unclean state. This was also the case when the people presented themselves to Elohim at Mt. Sinai. The men were not to have sex with their wives previous to approaching Him (Ex. 19:14-15).
Going back to David, he stated that they are in the position to be consecrated since they have been on a journey and had not stopped anywhere (1 Sam. 21:5-6). This was an excellent example for Yeshua to use because David was highly revered by the Jewish people, even more than the prophets. While it was allowed for David and His men to do this, it was not without stipulation. If they were to be allowed to eat the consecrated bread, they had to be consecrated themselves, and they met that requirement.
If Torah is not intended to prohibit the basic needs of man, how much more so the pathetic traditions of the Pharisees? That is the message of Messiah in this instance.
(Mat 12:5 NASB) “Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath, and are innocent?
Mat 12:5: The priests performed work on the Sabbath. This is an apparent violation of the Sabbath Laws also (Num. 28:9-10). The Sabbath Laws are to be followed, but not to prohibition of meeting the basic and dire needs of people and not in the prohibition of worshipping Elohim.
(Mat 12:6 NASB) “But I say to you, that something greater than the temple is here.
Mat 12:6: Keep in mind that the Glory of Elohim left the Temple in the day of Ezekiel and it never did return. However, the glory of Elohim will return to the Temple that is built after the return of Messiah (Ezek. 43:1-5).
They were in the presence of the Word of Elohim in the flesh, which is greater than the Temple.
(Mat 12:7 NASB) “But if you had known what this means, ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.
Mat 12:7: The desire of the Pharisees was to see that others followed their laws and traditions. They did not care about the people or about what Elohim truly wanted. Yeshua said they need to learn what is meant by “I desire mercy, or acts of humanity, rather than a sacrifice” truly means (Isaiah 1:11-17, Hosea 6:6, Micah 6:6-8). Elohim wants us to joyfully meet the basics needs of others rather than piously criticizing others for not meeting up to their standards.
If the Pharisees were so concerned about the way that the disciples satisfied their strong need for food, why did they not offer food instead of making accusations against them?
(Mat 12:8 NASB) “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Mat 12:8: Some men claim that Yeshua did away with the Sabbath. That would certainly be silly for Him to do away with something that He is Master over. Yeshua did not come to do away with Torah, but to show how Torah is to be followed. Throughout His time on earth, He showed that following Torah is centered on love for Elohim and love for one another.
(Mat 12:9 NASB) And departing from there, He went into their synagogue.
(Mat 12:10 NASB) And behold, there was a man with a withered hand. And they questioned Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”– in order that they might accuse Him.
Mat 12:10: This man with the withered hand in the synagogue was certainly planted there by the Pharisees. They knew what Yeshua would do with this man whether it was on the Sabbath Day or any day. They knew He showed compassion. They knew Yeshua would heal this man.
(Mat 12:11 NASB) And He said to them, “What man shall there be among you, who shall have one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it, and lift it out?
(Mat 12:12 NASB) “Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
(Mat 12:13 NASB) Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand!” And he stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other.
Mat 12:13: Even the Pharisees regarded it as lawful to rescue an animal on the Sabbath Day. The argument put forth by Yeshua is impeccable. If it is lawful for a man to help an animal on the Sabbath, how much more so to help a man?
(Mat 12:14 NASB) But the Pharisees went out, and counseled together against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.
(Mat 12:15 NASB) But Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed Him, and He healed them all,
Mat 12:15: The Pharisees did not gather to discuss the arguments that Yeshua was making. They gathered to find a way to destroy Him.
But the time for that was not yet.
(Mat 12:16 NASB) and warned them not to make Him known,
(Mat 12:17 NASB) in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, might be fulfilled, saying,
(Mat 12:18 NASB) “BEHOLD, MY SERVANT WHOM I HAVE CHOSEN; MY BELOVED IN WHOM MY SOUL is WELL-PLEASED; I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT UPON HIM, AND HE SHALL PROCLAIM JUSTICE TO THE GENTILES.
Mat 12:18: Yeshua quotes Isaiah 42:1-4. This prophecy was well known in that day as referring to Messiah.
(Mat 12:19 NASB) “HE WILL NOT QUARREL, NOR CRY OUT; NOR WILL ANYONE HEAR HIS VOICE IN THE STREETS.
(Mat 12:20 NASB) “A BATTERED REED HE WILL NOT BREAK OFF, AND A SMOLDERING WICK HE WILL NOT PUT OUT, UNTIL HE LEADS JUSTICE TO VICTORY.
(Mat 12:21 NASB) “AND IN HIS NAME THE GENTILES WILL HOPE.”
Mat 12:21: Yeshua came to lead justice to victory. This is done by taking care of those who are in need.
(Mat 12:22 NASB) Then there was brought to Him a demon-possessed man who was blind and dumb, and He healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw.
(Mat 12:23 NASB) And all the multitudes were amazed, and began to say, “This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?”
(Mat 12:24 NASB) But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.”
Mat 12:24: The people were seeing Yeshua for who He really is. They saw that only the power of Elohim could do such things and that the One through whom these things would come is the Messiah.
The Pharisees were probably on the fringes of the crowd and answered the crowds question with a resounding “no.” They saw that His power is supernatural. Therefore His power could only come from one of two places, either from Elohim or from a demonic source. They claimed Yeshua casts out demons with the power of Beelzebub. The name means “lord of the high places” and is derived from the name of the Canaanite god, Ba-al.
(Mat 12:25 NASB) And knowing their thoughts He said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself shall not stand.
(Mat 12:26 NASB) “And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand?
Mat 12:26: The argument Yeshua makes is once again impeccable. How could he cast out demons if His power is from Satan? Wouldn’t that be dividing and destroying his own kingdom? If He were from Satan, He would be spreading demonic power, not removing it.
(Mat 12:27 NASB) “And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Consequently they shall be your judges.
Mat 12:27: Apparently there were Jewish attempts at casting out demons also. Yeshua is asking if their sons also cast out demons by Beelzebub. They would of course say “No!”
(Mat 12:28 NASB) “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Mat 12:28: Yeshua says that the Kingdom of Elohim has come. That is the Gospel message that He was telling the people and demonstrating to the people. The Pharisees could not argue the point because Yeshua was proving that the Kingdom was in front of them by the works that He performed.
(Mat 12:29 NASB) “Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.
Mat 12:29: Yeshua is saying that He is not working under the authority of Beelzebub, but He is stronger than Beelzebub. Only one stronger than a strong man can bind him and plunder his house. That is what Yeshua is doing. He is binding Beelzebub and stealing people from him.
(Mat 12:30 NASB) “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
Mat 12:30: Yeshua is still speaking to the Pharisees. He is saying that they are against Him and against the Kingdom of Elohim.
(Mat 12:31 NASB) “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.
(Mat 12:32 NASB) “And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come.
Mat 12:32: The Pharisees were claiming that His power comes from Beelzebub, when Yeshua clearly states His power comes from the Spirit of Elohim (the Father). Yeshua clearly states that the Father is in Him and that is where His Words and His power come from (John 10:37-38, 14:9-11). Yeshua just finished saying that His power comes from Elohim (v. 28).
They are now not just blaspheming the Son, but the Father Himself. That is unforgivable to blaspheme the name of the Father (Deut. 5:11).
(Mat 12:33 NASB) “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.
(Mat 12:34 NASB) “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.
Mat 12:34: If the fruit of a tree is good, the tree is good. If the fruit of a tree is bad, the tree is bad. The Pharisees are described as a brood of vipers. They speak evil and therefore ARE evil. The mouth is the barometer of the heart just as the fruit tells us the condition of the tree (Prov. 13:3).
(Mat 12:35 NASB) “The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil.
(Mat 12:36 NASB) “And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment.
Mat 12:36: We speak out of the abundance that is within us. It is either bad or good. But it is by our words that we demonstrate our true character. We will be judged for our actions and our words (Ecc. 12:13-14).
(Mat 12:37 NASB) “For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.”
Mat 12:37: It is interesting that Yeshua states we are “justified” by our words. But since the mouth tells the condition of the heart, the mouth of a redeemed person will reflect his or her heart (Prov. 13:3).
(Mat 12:38 NASB) Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
Mat 12:38: The request is almost moot. Did the Pharisees really want to see a sign from Yeshua? Or were they more interested in changing the subject? They knew He was speaking Truth from Scripture and it was condemning them. It is more likely they wanted a chance to further criticize or ridicule him.
(Mat 12:39 NASB) But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;
(Mat 12:40 NASB) for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Mat 12:40: This is a quote from Jonah 1:17. The only sign Yeshua was going to give them is the same sign as Jonah when he was resurrected from the fish (or whale). That is all they need. Yeshua is Messiah and He is going to give them proof of the coming resurrection.
(Mat 12:41 NASB) “The men of Nineveh shall stand up with this generation at the judgment, and shall condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
(Mat 12:42 NASB) “The Queen of the South shall rise up with this generation at the judgment and shall condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
Mat 12:42: The repentant men of Ninevah and the pagan Queen of Sheba both will have greater standing and will condemn the Pharisees at the judgment. We know that the people of Ninevah repented. Also, the wisdom of Solomon caused the Queen of Sheba to confess the superiority of Yahweh (1 Kings 10:9). This generation of Pharisees did not confess their sin, repent, or acknowledge Yahweh as Elohim. They will be judged beyond many of the Gentiles and pagans who have repented.
(Mat 12:43 NASB) “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and does not find it.
(Mat 12:44 NASB) “Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order.
(Mat 12:45 NASB) “Then it goes, and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”
Mat 12:45: The disciples were given the ability to cast out demons and were told to cast them out on their missionary journey. However, here it would appear that Yeshua is giving the spiritual condition of the Pharisees who want to kill Him.
The Pharisees were building their religious system on self-reformation. Their self-reformation is leading them to build bigger sons of hell than even themselves (Matt. 23:15).
(Mat 12:46 NASB) While He was still speaking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him.
(Mat 12:47 NASB) And someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.”
(Mat 12:48 NASB) But He answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”
(Mat 12:49 NASB) And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold, My mother and My brothers!
Mat 12:49: The mother and brothers of Yeshua approached Him and wanted to speak to Him while He was still addressing the multitudes. He then asks a question of the people. His answer speaks volumes. His mother and brothers are actually those who are His taught ones. His pupils. His ones who are learning from Him how to be obedient to the Father. Those are His close relatives.
(Mat 12:50 NASB) “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
Mat 12:50: What is the will of His Father (Deut. 10:12-13, James 1:25)?
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas