on Luke 6 :1
On the second Sabbath after the first - Εν σαββατῳ δευτεροπρωτῳ, In the first Sabbath after the second. What does this mean? In answering this question, commentators are greatly divided. Dr. Whitby speaks thus: "After the first day of the passover, (which was a Sabbath, Exodus 12:16), ye shall count unto you seven Sabbaths complete, Leviticus 23:15, reckoning that day for the first of the first week, which was therefore called δευτεροπρωτον, the first Sabbath from the second day of unleavened bread; (the 16th of the month); the second was called δευτεροδευτερον, the second Sabbath from that day; and the third, δευτεροτριτον, the third Sabbath from the second day; and so on, till they came to the seventh Sabbath from that day, i.e. to the 49th day, which was the day of pentecost. The mention of the seven Sabbaths, to be numbered with relation to this second day, answers all that Grotius objects against this exposition." Whitby's Notes.
By this Sabbath seems meant that which immediately followed the two great feasts, the first and last day of the passover, and was therefore the second after the proper passover day. The words in the Greek seem to signify, the second first Sabbath; and, in the opinion of some, the Jews had three first Sabbaths: viz. the first Sabbath after the passover; that after the feast of pentecost; and that after the feast of tabernacles. According to which opinion, this second first Sabbath must have been the first Sabbath after the pentecost. So we have the first Sunday after Epiphany; the first after Easter; the first after Trinity; and the first in Lent. Bp. Pearce.
This was the next day after the passover, the day in which they were forbidden to labor, Leviticus 23:6, and for this reason was termed Sabbath, Leviticus 23:15; but here it is marked by the name, second first Sabbath, because, being the day after the passover, it was in this respect the second; and it was also the first, because it was the first day of unleavened bread, Exodus 12:15, Exodus 12:16. Martin.
I think, with many commentators, that this transaction happened on the first Sabbath of the month Nisan; that is, after the second day of the feast of unleavened bread. We may well suppose that our Lord and his disciples were on their way from Jerusalem to Galilee, after having kept the passover. Bp. Newcome.
The Vulgar Latin renders δευτεροπρωτον, secundoprimum, which is literal and right. We translate it, the second Sabbath after the first, which is directly wrong; for it should have been the first Sabbath after the second day of the passover. On the 14th of Nisan, the passover was killed; the next day (the 15th) was the first day of the feast of unleavened bread; the day following (the 16th) the wave sheaf was offered, pursuant to the law, on the morrow after the Sabbath: Leviticus 18:11. The Sabbath, here, is not the seventh day of the week, but the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, let it fall on what day of the week it would. That and the seventh day of that feast were holy convocations, and therefore are here called Sabbaths. The morrow, therefore, after the Sabbath, i.e. after the 16th day of Nisan, was the day in which the wave sheaf was offered; and after that seven Sabbaths were counted, and fifty days completed, and the fiftieth day inclusively was the day of pentecost. Now these Sabbaths, between the passover and pentecost, were called the first, second, etc., Sabbaths after the second day of the feast of unleavened bread. This Sabbath, then, on which the disciples plucked the ears of corn, was the first Sabbath after that second day. Dr. Lightfoot, has demonstrably proved this to be the meaning of this σαββατον δευτεροπρωτον, (Hor. Hebraic. in locum), and from him F. Lamy and Dr. Whitby have so explained it. This Sabbath could not fall before the passover, because, till the second day of that feast, no Jew might eat either bread or parched corn, or green ears, (Leviticus 23:14). Had the disciples then gathered these ears of corn on any Sabbath before the passover, they would have broken two laws instead of one: and for the breach of these two laws they would infallibly have been accused; whereas now they broke only one, (plucking the ears of standing corn with one's hand, being expressly allowed in the law, Deuteronomy 23:25), which was that of the Sabbath. They took a liberty which the law gave them upon any other day; and our Lord vindicated them in what they did now, in the manner we see. Nor can this fact be laid after pentecost; because then the harvest was fully in. Within that interval, therefore, this Sabbath happened; and this is a plain determination of the time, according to the Jewish ways of reckoning, founded upon the text of Moses's law itself. Dr. Wotton's Miscellaneous Discourses, etc., vol. i. p. 269.
The word δευτεροπρωτῳ, the second first, is omitted by BL, four others, Syriac, later Arabic, all the Persic, Coptic, Ethiopic, and three of the Itala. A note in the margin of the later Syriac says, This is not in all copies. The above MSS. read the verse thus: It came to pass, that he walked through the corn fields on a Sabbath day. I suppose they omitted the above word, because they found it difficult to fix the meaning, which has been too much the case in other instances.
on Luke 6 :1
Second sabbath after the first - See the notes at Matthew 12:1. This phrase has given great perplexity to commentators. A "literal" translation would be, "on the Sabbath called "second first,"" or second first Sabbath. The word occurs nowhere else. It is therefore exceedingly difficult of interpretation. The most natural and easy explanation is that proposed by Scaliger. The "second day" of the Passover was a great festival, on which the wave-sheaf was offered, Leviticus 23:11. From "that day" they reckoned "seven weeks," or seven "Sabbaths," to the day of Pentecost. The "first" Sabbath after that "second day" was called the "second first," or the first from the second day of the feast. The "second" Sabbath was called the "second second," or the second Sabbath from the second day of the feast; the third the "third second," etc. This day, therefore, on which the Saviour went through the fields, was the first Sabbath that occurred after the second day of the feast.
Rubbing them in their hands - The word "corn" here means wheat or barley, and not maize, as in America. They rubbed it in their hands to separate the grain from the chaff. This was common and allowable. Dr. Thomson ("The Land and the Book," vol. ii. p. 510, 511) says: "I have often seen my muleteers, as we passed along the wheat fields, pluck off ears, rub them in their hands, and eat the grains, unroasted, just as the apostles are said to have done. This also is allowable. The Pharisees did not object to the thing itself, only to the time when it was done. They said it was not lawful to do this on the Sabbath-day. It was work forbidden by those who, through their traditions, had made man for the Sabbath, not the Sabbath for man." So Professor Hackett ("Illustrations of Scripture," p. 176, 177) says: "The incident of plucking the ears of wheat, rubbing out the kernels in their hands, and eating them Luke 6:1, is one which the traveler sees often at present who is in Palestine at the time of the gathering of the harvest. Dr. Robinson relates the following case: 'Our Arabs were an hungered, and, going into the fields, they plucked the ears of grain and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. On being questioned, they said this was an old custom, and no one would speak against it; they were supposed to be hungry, and it was allowed as a charity.' The Pharisees complained of the disciples for violating the Sabbath, and not any rights of property."
on Luke 6 :1
6:1 The first Sabbath - So the Jews reckoned their Sabbaths, from the passover to pentecost; the first, second, third, and so on, till the seventh Sabbath (after the second day.) This immediately preceded pentecost, which was the fiftieth day after the second day of unleavened bread. Mt 12:1; Mr 2:23.