I thought I’d post side by side a) Matthew’s account of Jesus picking grain with the disciples, b) the Book of Samuel’s account of David eating the showbread from the temple, and c) the consequences paid when the priests gave just assistance to David:
Matthew 12: 1-4, 6
At that time Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry, how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat? … I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. If you knew what this meant, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned these innocent men. For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”
I Samuel 21: 2-7
David went to Ahimelech, the priest of Nob, who came trembling to meet him and asked, “Why are you alone? Is there no one with you?” David answered the priest: “The king gave me a commission and told me to let no one know anything about the business on which he sent me or the commission he gave me. For that reason I have arranged a meeting place with my men. Now what have you on hand? Give me five loaves, or whatever you can find.” But the priest replied to David, “I have no ordinary bread on hand, only holy bread; if the men have abstained from women, you may eat some of that.” David answered the priest: “We have indeed been segregated from women as on previous occasions. Whenever I go on a journey, all the young men are consecrated–even for a secular journey. All the more so today, when they are consecrated at arms!” So the priest gave him holy bread, for no other bread was on hand except the showbread which had been removed from the LORD’S presence and replaced by fresh bread when it was taken away.
I Samuel 22: 11-19
At this the king sent a summons to Ahimelech the priest, son of Ahitub, and to all his family who were priests in Nob; and they all came to the king. Then Saul said, “Listen, son of Ahitub!” He replied, “Yes, my lord.” Saul asked him, “Why did you conspire against me with the son of Jesse by giving him food and a sword and by consulting God for him, that he might rebel against me and become my enemy, as is the case today?” Ahimelech answered the king: “And who among all your servants is as loyal as David, the king’s son-in-law, captain of your bodyguard, and honored in your own house? Is this the first time I have consulted God for him? No indeed! Let not the king accuse his servant or anyone in my family of such a thing. Your servant knows nothing at all, great or small, about the whole matter.” But the king said, “You shall die, Ahimelech, with all your family.” The king then commanded his henchmen standing by: “Make the rounds and kill the priests of the LORD, for they assisted David. They knew he was a fugitive and yet failed to inform me.” But the king’s servants refused to lift a hand to strike the priests of the LORD. The king therefore commanded Doeg, “You make the rounds and kill the priests!” So Doeg the Edomite went from one to the next and killed the priests himself, slaying on that day eighty-five who wore the linen ephod. Saul also put the priestly city of Nob to the sword, including men and women, children and infants, and oxen, asses and sheep.
Now, fellow biblical scholars, I have two questions. At what levels are these stories paralleled, and how do the two OT accounts foreshadow the mission of Jesus? Secondly, is there Eucharistic imagery in the stories, and what are those Eucharistic images?