Matthew 6:17
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,

New Living Translation
But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face.

English Standard Version
But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,

Berean Study Bible
But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,

Berean Literal Bible
But you fasting, anoint your head and wash your face,

New American Standard Bible
"But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face

King James Bible
But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But when you fast, put oil on your head, and wash your face,

International Standard Version
But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,

NET Bible
When you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,

New Heart English Bible
But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face;

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But you whenever you fast, wash your face and anoint your head.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When you fast, wash your face and comb your hair.

New American Standard 1977
“But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face

Jubilee Bible 2000
But thou, when thou dost fast, anoint thine head, and wash thy face

King James 2000 Bible
But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face;

American King James Version
But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face;

American Standard Version
But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face;

Douay-Rheims Bible
But thou, when thou fastest anoint thy head, and wash thy face;

Darby Bible Translation
But thou, [when] fasting, anoint thy head and wash thy face,

English Revised Version
But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face;

Webster's Bible Translation
But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face;

Weymouth New Testament
But, whenever you fast, pour perfume on your hair and wash your face,

World English Bible
But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face;

Young's Literal Translation
'But thou, fasting, anoint thy head, and wash thy face,
Study Bible
Proper Fasting
16When you fast, do not be somber like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. 17But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18so that your fasting will not be obvious to men, but only to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.…
Cross References
Ruth 3:3
"Wash yourself therefore, and anoint yourself and put on your best clothes, and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.

2 Samuel 12:20
So David arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he came to his own house, and when he requested, they set food before him and he ate.
Treasury of Scripture

But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face;

anoint.

Ruth 3:3 Wash yourself therefore, and anoint you, and put your raiment on …

2 Samuel 14:2 And Joab sent to Tekoah, and fetched there a wise woman, and said …

Ecclesiastes 9:8 Let your garments be always white; and let your head lack no ointment.

Daniel 10:2,3 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks…

(17) Anoint thine head, and wash thy face.--Both these acts were rigidly prohibited by the traditions of the Elders on the Day of Atonement, and by implication on other fast days also. They were the outward signs of joy (Ecclesiastes 9:8), and were therefore looked on as unsuitable for a time of mourning. The disciples of Christ were to hide their contrition and self-discipline, and even when the heart knew its own bitterness were to be blithe and cheerful, opening their griefs only to their Father in heaven.

Openly.--Here again the artificial antithesis is to be rejected as an interpolation.

Verse 17. - But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face. If both these were, among the Jews, done daily, Christ's command would mean - make no external sign of fasting; dress and appear as usual. But as anointing, at least, cannot be proved to have been a daily habit (though expressly forbidden during the stricter kinds of fasts, see Schurer, II. 2:212), especially with the mixed classes whom our Lord was addressing, and as it was with the ancients rather a symbol of special joy, it is safer to take it in this sense here. Thus our Lord will mean - so far from appearing sad, let your appearance be that of special joy and gladness. "By the symbols of joy and gladness he bade us be joyful and glad when we fast" (Photius, in Suicer, 1:186). But thou, when thou fastest,.... Christ allows of fasting, but what is of a quite different kind from that of the Jews; which lay not in an outward abstinence from food, and other conveniences of life, and refreshments of nature; but in an abstinence from sin, in acknowledgment and confession of it; and in the exercise of faith and hope in God, as a God pardoning iniquity, transgression and sin; wherefore cheerfulness, and a free use of the creatures, without an abuse of them, best became such persons.

Anoint thine head, and wash thy face; directly contrary to the Jewish canons, which forbid these things, with others, on fast days:

"On the day of atonement, (say (i) they,) a man is forbidden eating and drinking, "and washing and anointing", and putting on of shoes, and the use of the bed.''

And the same were forbidden on other fasts: in anointings, the head was anointed first, and this rule and reason are given for it:

"he that would anoint his whole body, , "let him anoint his head first", because it is king over all its members (k).''

Anointing and washing were signs of cheerfulness and joy; see Ruth 3:3.

(i) Misn. Yoma, c. 8. sect. 1. & Taanith, c. 1. sect. 4, 5, 6. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 77. 2. Taanith, fol. 12. 2. Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Tora, pr. affirm. 32. (k) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 61. 1.17. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face—as the Jews did, except when mourning (Da 10:3); so that the meaning is, "Appear as usual"—appear so as to attract no notice.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.
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