But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Matthew 9:14-17.
(See on Mt 9:14-17.)
The incongruities mentioned in Lu 5:36-38 were intended to illustrate the difference between the genius of the old and new economies, and the danger of mixing up the one with the other. As in the one case supposed, "the rent is made worse," and in the other, "the new wine is spilled," so by a mongrel mixture of the ascetic ritualism of the old with the spiritual freedom of the new economy, both are disfigured and destroyed. The additional parable in Lu 5:39, which is peculiar to Luke, has been variously interpreted. But the "new wine" seems plainly to be the evangelical freedom which Christ was introducing; and the old, the opposite spirit of Judaism: men long accustomed to the latter could not be expected "straightway"—all at once—to take a liking for the former; that is, "These inquiries about the difference between My disciples and the Pharisees," and even John's, are not surprising; they are the effect of a natural revulsion against sudden change, which time will cure; the new wine will itself in time become old, and so acquire all the added charms of antiquity. What lessons does this teach, on the one hand, to those who unreasonably cling to what is getting antiquated; and, on the other, to hasty reformers who have no patience with the timidity of their weaker brethren!See Poole on "Luke 5:33"
when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them: as their master, John, was taken away from them, and now in prison, and therefore it was no wonder they mourned and fasted; signifying, that in a short time he, the bridegroom of his church and people, should be taken away by death:
and then they shall fast in those days; mourn, and be humbled, of which fasting was, a sign, for the death of their Lord, and on account of the many afflictions and persecutions they should endure for his sake; See Gill on Matthew 9:15.But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 5:35. καὶ ὅταν: Mt. and Mk. place the καὶ before τότε in the next clause. Lk.’s arrangement throws more emphasis on ἡμέραι: there will come days, and when, etc. The καὶ may be explicative (= et quidem, Bornemann), or it may introduce the apodosis.—ὅταν ἀπαρθῇ, the subjunctive with ἂν in a relative clause referring to a probable future event.35. the days will come] Rather, but there will come days.
when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them] Rather, and when (καὶ A, B, D). Comp. John 16:16, “A little while and ye shall not see me.” The verb used—aparthê—occurs nowhere else in the N. T., and clearly hints at a violent end. This is memorable as being the earliest recorded public intimation of His crucifixion, of which a dim hint (“even so shall the Son of man be lifted up”) had been given privately to Nicodemus (John 3:14).
then shall they fast] As we are told that they did, Acts 13:2-3. Observe that is not said, ‘then shall ye be able to insist on their fasting.’ The Christian fasts would be voluntary, not compulsory; the result of a felt need, not the observance of a rigid command. Our Lord never entered fully into the subject of fasting, and it is clear that throughout the Bible it is never enjoined as a frequent duty, though it is sanctioned and encouraged as an occasional means of grace. In the Law only one day in the year—the Kippur, or Day of Atonement—was appointed as a fast (Leviticus 16:29; Numbers 29:7). After the exile four annual fasts had arisen, but the prophets do not enjoin them (Zechariah 7:1-12; Zechariah 8:19), nor did our Lord in any way approve (or apparently practise) the two weekly fasts of the Pharisees (Luke 18:12). Probably the reason why fasting has never been commanded as a universal and constant duty is that it acts very differently on different temperaments, and according to the testimony of some who have tried it most seriously, acts in some cases as a powerful stimulus to temptation. It is remarkable that the words “and fasting” are probably the interpolations of an ascetic bias in Matthew 17:21; Mark 9:29; Acts 10:30; 1 Corinthians 7:5, though fasting is implied in Matthew 6:16. Fasting is not commanded and is not forbidden. The Christian is free (Romans 14:5), but must, while temperate in all things, do exactly that which he finds most conducive to his spiritual and moral welfare. For now the bridegroom is not taken from us but is with us (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5-6; John 14:16; John 16:7).
The A. V. follows a reading which omits καὶ, and, which is inserted in all the best texts. The thought is broken off. "The days shall come - and when the bridegroom shall be taken away, then shall they fast." So Rev.
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