A Cataphoric Pronoun
My thoughts on the Second Harvest soon wandered to the first five verses of the sixth chapter of Luke because the disciples were going through the grain fields for their own second harvest. Jesus then answered the question of the Pharisees by citing the story of David entering into the House of God and taking the presentation loaves to satisfy his hunger and that of his men.[i] Jesus introduced the story of David by saying “have you not by chance read this?”[ii] “This” is a cataphoric pronoun because it refers to something not yet mentioned.[iii] Steven Runge says it is “purposely used as a highlighting device.” Jesus then draws the principle from the story by adding an extra “and he said to them” to add prominence to the fifth verse containing these words, “The son of man is the Lord of the Sabbath.”
I suspect that “this” particular cataphoric pronoun does more than merely directing our attention to the story of David in the House of God. It also serves to remind us that David the King also exercised priestly functions. David entered the House of God and ate the “presentation loaves” which only priests could eat. David offered sacrifices [2 Sam. 6:13, 17-18; 2 Sam. 24:18-25; 1 Chr. 21:18-28; David exercised authority over the priesthood [2 Sam. 6:13], and David's sons were called priests [2 Sam. 8:18]. David even wore a linen ephod (2 Sam. 6:14) which was a priestly garment. David further exercised authority over the priests by reorganizing them in anticipation of the building of the temple (2 Chr. 23:18; 29:25-30; 35:2-6; Ezra 3:10; Neh. 12:24).
This reminder also confirms that the awkward phrase “second first Sabbath” in Luke 6:1, which introduces the five verse pericope, is temple language. Luke dates the event of the plucking of the grain at a particular time near the mid-point of a Sabbath year. I believe that the first Sabbath of the month of Tishri is being identified. The usage of temple language introducing this pericope suggest that something more is being communicated.
Danker, citing Ezekiel, noted that “a latter day David is to feed his flock and be their shepherd. God’s sanctuary is in the midst of
Because cataphoric references are few in number, it is important that we not miss the significance of the usage.
This is a work in progress.
[i] Luke cites the story of David found in 1 Sam. 21:1-6 LXX and uses the same Greek words for presentation loaves as found in verse 6.
[ii] The translation and comment by Francois Bovon indicates that “Luke’s phrase is clearly ironic.”
[iii] The normal, more common, function of the pronoun is to refer to something that has already mentioned.