Matthew 6:16
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

New Living Translation
"And when you fast, don't make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get.

English Standard Version
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

New American Standard Bible
"Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
"Whenever you fast, don't be sad-faced like the hypocrites. For they make their faces unattractive so their fasting is obvious to people. I assure you: They've got their reward!

International Standard Version
"Whenever you fast, don't be gloomy like the hypocrites, because they put on sad faces to show others they are fasting. I tell all of you with certainty, they have their full reward!

NET Bible
"When you fast, do not look sullen like the hypocrites, for they make their faces unattractive so that people will see them fasting. I tell you the truth, they have their reward.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And when you are fasting, do not be gloomy like the pretenders, for they disfigure their faces, so that they may appear to the children of men to fast, and truly I say to you, that they have received their reward.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"When you fast, stop looking sad like hypocrites. They put on sad faces to make it obvious that they're fasting. I can guarantee this truth: That will be their only reward.

Jubilee Bible 2000
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 already have their reward.

King James 2000 Bible
Moreover when you 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.

American King James Version
Moreover when you fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear to men to fast. Truly I say to you, They have their reward.

American Standard Version
Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may be seen of men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward.

Darby Bible Translation
And when ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, downcast in countenance; for they disfigure their faces, so that they may appear fasting to men: verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

English Revised Version
Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may be seen of men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward.

Webster's Bible Translation
Moreover, when ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear to men to fast. Verily, I say to you, they have their reward.

Weymouth New Testament
"When any of you fast, never assume gloomy looks as the hypocrites do; for they disfigure their faces in order that it may be evident to men that they are fasting. I solemnly tell you that they already have their reward.

World English Bible
"Moreover when you fast, don't be like the hypocrites, with sad faces. For they disfigure their faces, that they may be seen by men to be fasting. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward.

Young's Literal Translation
'And when ye may fast, be ye not as the hypocrites, of sour countenances, for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear to men fasting; verily I say to you, that they have their reward.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

6:16-18 Religious fasting is a duty required of the disciples of Christ, but it is not so much a duty itself, as a means to dispose us for other duties. Fasting is the humbling of the soul, Ps 35:13; that is the inside of the duty; let that, therefore, be thy principal care, and as to the outside of it, covet not to let it be seen. God sees in secret, and will reward openly.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 16-18. - Matthew only. Verse 16. - Fasting. The third in the series of recognized religious duties (ver. 1, note). (On the prominence given to fasting, see 'Psalms of Solomon,' 3:9, with Ryle's and James's note, and Schurer, II. 2:118; cf. Matthew 9:14.) Observe

(1) Christ does not abolish it, but regulates it;

(2) yet fasting is mentioned much less often in the true text of the New Testament than in that which, developed contemporaneously with eccle-siasticism, became the Received Text. Be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance. The Revised Version, by inserting a comma between "not" and "as," shows that the true emphasis of the warning lies, not on resemblance to the hypocrites themselves, but on being of a sad countenance, as in fact also the hypocrites were. The hypocrites (ver. 2, note; cf. also 'Didache,' § 8, "But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites," where, however, the thought is rather of hypocrites as representing the Pharisaic, the typically Jewish party). The early Jewish Christians are bidden in the 'Didache' to avoid the fasting-days chosen by the Jews. Be not. Our Lord does not forbid even this sad countenance if it be, so to speak, natural; but do not, because you fast, therefore purposely become so (μὴ γίνεσθε), i.e. in sign of your supposed sorrow for sin (cf. Ecclus. 19:26). Of a sad countenance (σκυθρωποί); gloomy, especially- in knitting the brows. In Daniel 1:10 (Thee-dotion) used of merely physically bad looks (cf. 'Test. XII. Patr.,' § 4, of the look of a man whose liver is out of order). In the New Testament elsewhere only Luke 24:17, "And they stood still, looking sad," Revised Version (cf. Genesis 40:7; Ecclus. 25:23). For they disfigure. The play on the words (ἀφανίζουσιν. . . ὅπως φανῶσιν, hardly to be reproduced in English," They disfigure... that they may figure before men as fasting") points to the 'Gospel having been originally composed in Greek (see Introduction, p. 13.). It is curious that ἀφανίζω comes elsewhere in Matthew only in vers. 19, 20, while in the whole of the New Testament it only comes twice besides: Acts 13:41 (from the LXX.) and James 4:14 (ἀφανισμός, Hebrews 8:13). As ver. 19 is peculiar to Matthew, and ver. 20 is a corollary to it though in part found also in Luke 12:33, the whole passage vers. 16-20 is probably either due to the author of the First Gospel or else derived by him from some one source. In this connexion it may be noticed that κρυφαῖος comes in the New Testament only in ver. 18 (twice). Physical disfigurement, common in many nations as a sign of grief, such as tearing or marking the flesh, is not to be thought of, since this was forbidden (Leviticus 19:28; Deuteronomy 14:1). Ἀφανίζειν, too, has no such connotation, but rather hiding out of sight, hence causing to vanish, destroy (ver. 19); here, in the sense of giving a strange, unpleasant appearance, e.g. by ashes, or by not washing, or even by covering part of the face or the head (cf. Ezekiel 24:17; 2 Samuel 15:30; Esther 6:12). That they may appear unto men to fast; Revised Version, that they may be seen, etc.; i.e. not the mere appearance, as though there were appearance only, but the being seen as fasting - conspicuousness, not mere semblance. Hence νηστεύοντες is expressed (contrast ver. 5), since while in ver. 5 not the praying but the piety that induced it is to be made apparent, here it is the very fact itself of fasting, which, except for these external signs, might escape human notice. They have (ver. 2, note).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Moreover when ye fast,.... This is to be understood, not so much of their public stated fasts, and which were by divine appointment, as of their private fasts; which, with the Jews, were very frequent and numerous, and particularly every Monday and Thursday; see Luke 18:12 in which they affected great severity, and is here condemned by Christ:

be not as the hypocrites, the Scribes and Pharisees,

of a sad countenance; who put on very mournful airs, and dismal looks; made wry faces, and distorted countenances; banished all pleasantry and cheerfulness from them, so that they looked quite like other men than they really were;

for they disfigure their faces; not by covering them out of sight, by putting a veil over them, as some have thought; but they neglected to wash their faces, and make them clean, as at other times; and not only so, but put ashes upon their heads, and other methods they used: they discoloured their faces, or "made" them "black", as the Arabic version reads it; that they might look as if they became so through fasting: and such persons were in great esteem, and thought to be very religious. It is said (f), in commendation of R. Joshua ben Chanamah, that all his days , "his face was black", through fastings; and this is said (g) to be the reason of Ashur's name, in 1 Chronicles 4:5 because "his face was black" with fasting: yea, they looked upon such a disfiguring of the face to be meritorious, and what would be rewarded hereafter.

"Whoever (say they (h)) , "makes his face black", on account of the law in this world, God will make his brightness to shine in the world to come.''

Now these practices they used,

that they might appear unto men to fast: so that either they did not really fast, when they pretended to it; only put on these outward appearances, that men might think they did; or, not content with real fasting, which they must be conscious of themselves, and God knew, they took such methods, that it might appear to men that they fasted, and that they might be taken notice of, and applauded by them: for their view in fasting was not to satisfy their own consciences, or please God, but that they might have glory of men. Hence, says Christ,

verily I say unto you, they have their reward; they obtain what they seek for, honour from men, and that is all they will have.

(f) Juchasin, fol. 59. 1.((g) T. Bab. Sota, fol. 12. 1.((h) T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 100. 1.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

16. Moreover, when ye fast—referring, probably, to private and voluntary fasting, which was to be regulated by each individual for himself; though in spirit it would apply to any fast.

be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces—literally, "make unseen"; very well rendered "disfigure." They went about with a slovenly appearance, and ashes sprinkled on their head.

that they may appear unto men to fast—It was not the deed, but reputation for the deed which they sought; and with this view those hypocrites multiplied their fasts. And are the exhausting fasts of the Church of Rome, and of Romanizing Protestants, free from this taint?

Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Matthew 6:16 Additional Commentaries
Context
Proper Fasting
16"Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17"But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face…
Cross References
Isaiah 58:5
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?

Matthew 6:1
"Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Matthew 6:2
"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

Matthew 6:5
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
Treasury of Scripture

Moreover when you fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear to men to fast. Truly I say to you, They have their reward.

when.

Matthew 9:14,15 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the …

2 Samuel 12:16,21 David therefore sought God for the child; and David fasted, and went …

Nehemiah 1:4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and …

Esther 4:16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and …

Psalm 35:13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I …

Psalm 69:10 When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.

Psalm 109:24 My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh fails of fatness.

Daniel 9:3 And I set my face to the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, …

Luke 2:37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed …

Acts 10:30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; …

Acts 13:2,3 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said…

Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed …

1 Corinthians 7:5 Defraud you not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, …

2 Corinthians 6:5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings;

2 Corinthians 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, …

be.

Matthew 6:2,5 Therefore when you do your alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, …

1 Kings 21:27 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his …

Isaiah 58:3-5 Why have we fasted, say they, and you see not? why have we afflicted …

Zechariah 7:3-5 And to speak to the priests which were in the house of the LORD of …

Malachi 3:14 You have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that …

Mark 2:18 And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and …

Luke 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

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