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Matthew 9:14 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Then come to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Then the disciples of John *came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?”
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but thy disciples fast not?
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Then come to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees often fast, but thy disciples fast not?
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Then come near unto him the disciples of John, saying,—Wherefore do, we, and the Pharisees, fast, whereas, thy disciples, fast not?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Then come to him do the disciples of John, saying, 'Wherefore do we and the Pharisees fast much, and thy disciples fast not?'
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Then came to him the disciples of John, saying: Why do we and the Pharisees, fast often, but thy disciples do not fast?
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Then came to him the disciples of Iohn, saying, Why doe we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— Then drew nigh to him the disciples of Juchanon, and said, Why do we and the Pharishee fast much, and thy disciples fast not?
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— Then came to him the disciples of John, and said: Why do we and the Pharisees fast much and thy disciples fast not?

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Then 5119
{5119} Prime
From (the neuter of) G3588 and G3753; the when, that is, at the time that (of the past or future, also in consecution).
came 4334
{4334} Prime
From G4314 and G2064 (including its alternate); to approach, that is, (literally) come near, visit, or (figuratively) worship, assent to.
<5736> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Middle or Passive Deponent (See G5790)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 618
to him 846
{0846} Prime
From the particle αὖ [[au]] (perhaps akin to the base of G0109 through the idea of a baffling wind; backward); the reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the compound of G1438) of the third person, and (with the proper personal pronoun) of the other persons.
the x3588
(3588) Complement

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
disciples 3101
{3101} Prime
From G3129; a learner, that is, pupil.
of John, 2491
{2491} Prime
Of Hebrew origin [H3110]; Joannes (that is, Jochanan), the name of four Israelites.
saying, 3004
{3004} Prime
A primary verb; properly to 'lay' forth, that is, (figuratively) relate (in words [usually of systematic or set discourse; whereas G2036 and G5346 generally refer to an individual expression or speech respectively; while G4483 is properly to break silence merely, and G2980 means an extended or random harangue]); by implication to mean.
<5723> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Participle (See G5796)
Count - 2549
Why 1302
{1302} Prime
From G1223 and G5101; through what cause?, that is, why?.
do we 2249
{2249} Prime
Nomitive plural of G1473; we (only used when emphatic).
and 2532
{2532} Prime
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
the x3588
(3588) Complement

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
Pharisees 5330
{5330} Prime
Of Hebrew origin (compare [H6567]); a separatist, that is, exclusively religious; a Pharisaean, that is, Jewish sectary.
fast 3522
{3522} Prime
From G3523; to abstain from food (religiously).
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
oft, 4183
{4183} Prime
Including the forms from the alternate 'pollos'; (singular) much (in any respect) or (plural) many; neuter (singular) as adverb largely; neuter (plural) as adverb or noun often, mostly, largely.
but 1161
{1161} Prime
A primary particle (adversative or continuative); but, and, etc.
thy 4675
{4675} Prime
Genitive case of G4771; of thee, thy.
disciples 3101
{3101} Prime
From G3129; a learner, that is, pupil.
fast 3522
{3522} Prime
From G3523; to abstain from food (religiously).
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
not? 3756
{3756} Prime
A primary word; the absolutely negative (compare G3361) adverb; no or not.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Matthew 9:14-17

_ _ Discourse on fasting.

_ _ See on Luke 5:33-39.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Matthew 9:14-17

_ _ The objections which were made against Christ and his disciples gave occasion to some of the most profitable of his discourses; thus are the interests of truth often served, even by the opposition it meets with from gainsayers, and thus the wisdom of Christ brings good out of evil. This is the third instance of it in this chapter; his discourse of his power to forgive sin, and his readiness to receive sinners, was occasioned by the cavils of the scribes and Pharisees; so here, from a reflection upon the conduct of his family, arose a discourse concerning his tenderness for it. Observe,

_ _ I. The objection which the disciples of John made against Christ's disciples, for not fasting so often as they did; which they are charged with, as another instance of the looseness of their profession, besides that of eating with publicans and sinners; and it is therefore suggested to them, that they should change that profession for another more strict. It appears by the other evangelists (Mark 2:18 and Luke 5:33) that the disciples of the Pharisees joined with them, and we have reason to suspect that they instigated them, making use of John's disciples as their spokesmen, because they, being more in favour with Christ and his disciples, could do it more plausibly. Note, It is no new thing for bad men to set good men together by the ears; if the people of God differ in their sentiments, designing men will take that occasion to sow discord, and to incense them one against another, and alienate them one from another, and so make an easy prey of them. If the disciples of John and of Jesus clash, we have reason to suspect the Pharisees have been at work underhand, blowing the coals. Now the complaint is, Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but thy disciples fast not? It is pity the duties of religion, which ought to be the confirmations of holy love, should be made the occasions of strife and contention; but they often are so, as here; where we may observe,

_ _ 1. How they boasted of their own fasting. We and the Pharisees fast often. Fasting has in all ages of the church been consecrated, upon special occasions, to the service of religion; the Pharisees were much in it; many of them kept two fast-days in a week, and yet the generality of them were hypocrites and bad men. Note, False and formal professors often excel others in outward acts of devotion, and even of mortification. The disciples of John fasted often, partly in compliance with their master's practice, for he came neither eating nor drinking (Matthew 11:18); and people are apt to imitate their leaders, though not always from the same inward principle; partly in compliance with their master's doctrine of repentance. Note, The severer part of religion is often most minded by those that are yet under the discipline of the Spirit, as a Spirit of bondage, whereas, though these are good in their place, we must pass through them to that life of delight in God and dependence on him, to which these should lead. Now they come to Christ to tell him that they fasted often, at least they thought it often. Note, Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness, Proverbs 20:6. There is a proneness in professors to brag of their own performance in religion, especially if there by any thing extraordinary in them; nay, and not only to boast of them before men, but to plead them before God, and confide in them as a righteousness.

_ _ 2. How they blamed Christ's disciples for not fasting so often as they did. Thy disciples fast not. They could not but know, that Christ had instructed his disciples to keep their fasts private, and to manage themselves so as that they might not appear unto men to fast; and, therefore, it was very uncharitable in them to conclude they did not fast, because they did not proclaim their fasts. Note, We must not judge of people's religion by that which falls under the eye and observation of the world. But suppose it was so, that Christ's disciples did not fast so often or so long as they did, why truly, they would therefore have it thought, that they had more religion in them than Christ's disciples had. Note, It is common for vain professors to make themselves a standard in religion, by which to try and measure persons and things, as if all who differed from them were so far in the wrong; as if all that did less than they, did too little, and all that did more than they, did too much, which is a plain evidence of their want of humility and charity.

_ _ 3. How they brought this complaint to Christ. Note, If Christ's disciples, either by omission or commission, give offence, Christ himself will be sure to hear of it, and be reflected upon for it. O, Jesus, are these thy Christians? Therefore, as we tender the honour of Christ, we are concerned to conduct ourselves well. Observe, The quarrel with Christ was brought to the disciples (Matthew 9:11), the quarrel with the disciples was brought to Christ (Matthew 9:14), this is the way of sowing discord and killing love, to set people against ministers, ministers against people, and one friend against another.

_ _ II. The apology which Christ made for his disciples in this matter. Christ might have upbraided John's disciples with the former part of their question, Why do ye fast often? “Nay, you know best why you do it; but the truth is, many abound in external instances of devotion, that scarcely do themselves know why and wherefore.” But he only vindicates the practice of his disciples; whey they had nothing to say for themselves, he had something ready to say for them. Note, As it is wisdom's honour to be justified of all her children, so it is her children's happiness to be all justified of wisdom. What we do according to the precept and pattern of Christ, he will be sure to bear us out in, and we may with confidence leave it to him to clear up our integrity.

But thou shalt answer, Lord, for me.
— Herbert

_ _ Two things Christ pleads in defence of their not fasting.

_ _ 1. That it was not a season proper for that duty (Matthew 9:15): Can the children of the bride-chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? Observe, Christ's answer is so framed, as that it might sufficiently justify the practice of his own disciples, and yet not condemn the institution of John, or the practice of his disciples. When the Pharisees fomented this dispute, they hoped Christ would cast blame, either on his own disciples, or on John's, but he did neither. Note, When at any time we are unjustly censured, our care must be only to clear ourselves, not to recriminate, or throw dirt upon others; and such a variety may there be of circumstances, as may justify us in our practice, without condemning those that practise otherwise.

_ _ Now his argument is taken from the common usage of joy and rejoicing during the continuance of marriage solemnities; when all instances of melancholy and sorrow are looked upon as improper and absurd, as it was at Samson's wedding, Judges 14:17. Now, (1.) The disciples of Christ were the children of the bride-chamber, invited to the wedding-feast, and welcome there; the disciples of the Pharisees were not so, but children of the bond-woman (Galatians 4:25, Galatians 4:31), continuing under a dispensation of darkness and terror. Note, The faithful followers of Christ, who have the Spirit of adoption, have a continual feast, while they who have the spirit of bondage and fear, cannot rejoice for joy, as other people, Hosea 9:1. (2.) The disciples of Christ had the bridegroom with them, which the disciples of John had not; their master was now cast into prison, and lay there in continual danger of his life, and therefore it was seasonable for them to fast often. Such a day would come upon the disciples of Christ, when the bridegroom should be taken from them, when they should be deprived of his bodily presence, and then should they fast. The thoughts of parting grieved them when he was going, John 16:6. Tribulation and affliction befell them when he was gone, and gave them occasion of mourning and praying, that is, of religious fasting. Note, [1.] Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom of his Church, and his disciples are the children of the bride-chamber. Christ speaks of himself to John's disciples under this similitude, because that John had used it, when he called himself a friend of the bridegroom, John 3:29. And if they would by this hint call to mind what their master then said, they would answer themselves. [2.] The condition of those who are the children of the bride-chamber is liable to many changes and alterations in this world; they sing of mercy and judgment. [3.] It is merry or melancholy with the children of the bride-chamber, according as they have more or less of the bridegroom's presence. When he is with them, the candle of God shines upon their head, and all is well; but when he is withdrawn, though but for a small moment, they are troubled, and walk heavily; the presence and nearness of the sun makes day and summer, his absence and distance, night and winter. Christ is all in all to the church's joy. [4.] Every duty is to be done in its proper season. See Ecclesiastes 7:14; James 5:13. There is a time to mourn and a time to laugh, to each of which we should accommodate ourselves, and bring forth fruit in due season. In fasts, regard is to be had to the methods of God's grace towards us; when he mourns to us, we must lament; and also to the dispensations of his providence concerning us; there are times when the Lord God calls to weeping and mourning; regard is likewise to be had to any special work before us, Matthew 17:21; Acts 13:2.

_ _ 2. That they had not strength sufficient for that duty. This is set forth in two similitudes, one of putting new cloth into an old garment, which does but pull the old to pieces (Matthew 9:16); the other of putting new wine into old bottles, which does but burst the bottles, Matthew 9:17. Christ's disciples were not able to bear these severe exercises so well as those of John and of the Pharisees, which the learned Dr. Whitby gives this reason for: There were among the Jews not only sects of the Pharisees and Essenes, who led an austere life, but also schools of the prophets, who frequently lived in mountains and deserts, and were many of them Nazarites; they had also private academies to train men up in a strict discipline; and possibly from these many of John's disciples might come, and many of the Pharisees; whereas Christ's disciples, being taken immediately from their callings, had not been used to such religious austerities, and were unfit for them, and would by them be rather unfitted for their other work. Note, (1.) Some duties of religion are harder and more difficult than others, like new cloth and new wine, which require most intenseness of mind, and are most displeasing to flesh and blood; such are religious fasting and the duties that attend it. (2.) The best of Christ's disciples pass through a state of infancy; all the trees in Christ's garden are not of a growth, nor all his scholars in the same form; there are babes in Christ and grown men. (3.) In the enjoining of religious exercises, the weakness and infirmity of young Christians ought to be considered: as the food provided for them must be such as is proper for their age (1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12), so must the work be that is cut out for them. Christ would not speak to his disciples that which they could not then bear, John 16:12. Young beginners in religion must not be put upon the hardest duties at first, lest they be discouraged. Such as was God's care of his Israel, when he brought them out of Egypt, not to lead them by the way of the Philistines (Exodus 13:17, Exodus 13:18), and such as was Jacob's care of his children and cattle, not to overdrive them (Genesis 33:13), such is Christ's care of the little ones of his family, and the lambs of his flock: he gently leads them. For want of this care, many times, the bottles break, and the wine is spilled; the profession of many miscarries and comes to nothing, through indiscretion at first. Note, There may be over-doing even in well-doing, a being righteous over-much; and such an over-doing as may prove an undoing through the subtlety of Satan.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Matthew 9:14

Then — While he was at table. Mark 2:18; Luke 5:33.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Matthew 9:14

(3) Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?

(3) That is, wicked rivalry in matters of small importance.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
the disciples:

Matthew 11:2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
John 3:25 Then there arose a question between [some] of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying.
John 4:1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,


Matthew 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Matthew 11:18-19 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. ... The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
Proverbs 20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
Mark 2:18-22 And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not? ... And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.
Luke 5:33-39 And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise [the disciples] of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink? ... No man also having drunk old [wine] straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.
Luke 18:9-12 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: ... I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
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Pv 20:6. Mt 6:16; 11:2, 18. Mk 2:18. Lk 5:33; 18:9. Jn 3:25; 4:1.

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