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Matthew 9:14-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Bridegroom and Fasting

Matthew 9:14-17 – The Bridegroom and Fasting

|| Mark 2:18-22; Luke 5:33-39

MT9:14 Then the disciples of John[1] [the Baptist] approached Jesus, asking,

“Why, though we and the Pharisees fast, your disciples do not fast?”[2]

MT9:15 Jesus told them,

“The sons of the bride-chamber[3] cannot possible feel sad[4] while the bridegroom[5] is among them. But the days are coming when the ‘Bridegroom’ will depart[6] from them and then they will fast.[7]

File:A Man Drinking from a Wine Skin; Images of Spain Album, 63 MET DP800218.jpg

A Man Drinking from a Wine Skin; Images of Spain Album, 63

MT9:16 “Nobody sews an unshrunk cloth patch on an old outer garment for the stretching garment will tear it and it becomes worse. MT9:17 Nor do they put new wine[8] into old wine-botas for the wine-botas will tear and burst[9] [Joshua 9:13; Job 32:19] and the wine is spilled and the wine-botas ruined. Rather, they put new wine into new and fresh wine-botas[10] and so both are preserved.”

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[1] Disciples of John: There is a clear difference between the disciples of the two Masters. John’s disciples view themselves as different from those of the Nazarene. Jesus had selected his disciples from among those baptized disciples of John the Baptist. This difference lasts for some years even into the Book of Acts (Acts chapters 18, 19).

[2] Fast: Going without food for religious reasons. The first occurrence of the word “fasting” in the Bible is 1 Samuel 31:13 for a total of 30 times. Jesus does not condemn fasting, indeed, he gives counsel regarding proper fasting in Matthew 6:16. The prophets and teachers in Antioch fasted before making appointments (Acts 13:1, 2). The same fasting occurs before appointments in Acts 14:23.

[3] Sons of the bride-chamber: The literal phrase in Greek. It is variously rendered: KJV: children of the bride-chamber; TCNT: bridegroom’s friends; GDSP: wedding guests; BAS: friends of the newly married; NASB: attendants of the bride-groom.

[4] Feel sad: Or, mourn. The bridegroom’s buddies mourn or feel sad their friend’s affections will now be divided and likely he will not be free to do some of the things he did before.

[5] Bridegroom: The Greek is, interestingly, NYMPHIOS from which the English “nymph” is rooted. Yahweh was viewed as the Husband of Israel. Jesus becomes such to his Church who is likened to a bride (NYMPH) (Revelation 21:2).

[6] Will depart: The Greek is APARTHE and related to EPERTHE of Acts 1:9, HARPAGESOUMETHA at 1 Thessalonians 4:17, and HERPASTHE at Revelation 12:5.

[7] Then they will fast: Compare John 16:20.

[8] New wine: Possibly the teachings of the Nazarene or a new relationship with God. Rather than use the old bota of Israel under the Law the Messiah uses a new bota, his Church to contain new doctrine and relationships. Remember the original context was fasting.

[9] Wine-botas will tear and burst: The language may be an allusion to Joshua 9:13 and Job 32:19.

[10] Wine-botas: Or, wine-skins. Compare Genesis 21:14, 15, 19; Joshua 9:13; Job 32:19.

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Preceding

Matthew 9:9-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Pharisees Accuse When Matthew Is Called

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Related articles

  1. Matthew 9, Jesus heals, forgives sins, calls Matthew, what about fasting?, great faith, the Lord’s harvest.
  2. Matthew 9:14-17
  3. Thoughts to Ponder from Matthew 9:14-17
  4. Daily Ponderings ~ “A Question of Fasting”…
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