4 What am I going to do with you, O Ephraim? What am I going to do with you, O Judah? For your faithfulness is as fleeting as the morning mist; it disappears as quickly as dawn’s dew. 5 Therefore, I will certainly cut you into pieces at the hands of the prophets; I will certainly kill you in fulfillment of my oracles of judgment, for my judgment will come forth like the light of the dawn. 6 For I delight in faithfulness, not simply in sacrifice; I delight in acknowledging God, not simply in whole burnt offerings. 7 At Adam they broke the covenant; Oh how they were unfaithful to me! 8 Gilead is a city full of evildoers; its streets are stained with bloody footprints!
5 Or have you not read in the law that the priests in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are not guilty? 6 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what this means: ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” 9 Then Jesus left that place and entered their synagogue.
Notes and References
"... The key point is that what was done appeared to violate the Law and yet went unpunished by God. So when Jesus asks if they have not read this, he is pointing to an example from Scripture that suggests the Law was not followed without exception, perhaps because another factor other than merely keeping the Law was more significant (... The parallel in Matthew 12:7 that has Jesus argue that God desires mercy and not sacrifice points more explicitly in this direction. Matthew’s account has the most detailed response of the parallels to this event) ..."
Bock, Darrell L. Mark (p. 154) Cambridge University Press, 2015