Mark 2:18
And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say to him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples fast not?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18-22) And the disciples of John. . . . used to fast.—Better, were fasting. See Notes on Matthew 9:14-17. The only difference in detail between the two accounts is that in St. Matthew the disciples of John are more definitely specified as being the questioners.

Mark 2:18-22. The disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast — The evangelist here relates another occurrence, which happened while Jesus was in Levi’s house, and bore some resemblance to the former. But of this see the notes on Matthew 9:14-17, where the whole passage occurs.2:18-22 Strict professors are apt to blame all that do not fully come up to their own views. Christ did not escape slanders; we should be willing to bear them, as well as careful not to deserve them; but should attend to every part of our duty in its proper order and season.And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast - Were accustomed often to fast. Compare Luke 5:33; Luke 18:12.

And they come and say - The disciples of John come, Matthew 9:4.

Mr 2:18-22. Discourse on Fasting. ( = Mt 9:14-17; Lu 5:33-39).

See on [1409]Lu 5:33-39.

Ver. 18-22. See Poole on "Matthew 9:14", and following verses to Matthew 9:17. The sum of all teacheth us:

1. That fasting is an exercise suited to afflictive dispensations of Providence, and ought to be proportioned to its season.

2. That new converts are not to be discouraged by too severe exercises of religion, but to be trained up to them by degrees. And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast,.... Or "were fasting"; perhaps that very day, and so were the more displeased at this entertainment, Matthew had made for Christ and his disciples, and at their being at it; or fasting was usual with them: they fasted often, both John's disciples, and the disciples of the Pharisees, or the Pharisees themselves; so the Vulgate Latin reads: of their frequent fasting; see Gill on Matthew 9:14,

and they came: both the disciples of John, Matthew 9:14, and the Scribes and Pharisees, Luke 5:30,

and say unto him, why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not? See Gill on Matthew 9:14.

{3} 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?

(3) The superstitious and hypocrites rashly put the sum of godliness in matters which do no matter, and are reprehended for three reasons. First, by not considering what every man's strength is able to bear, they rashly make all sorts of laws concerning such things, without any discretion.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Mark 2:18-22. See on Matthew 9:14-17. Comp. Luke 5:33-38.

καὶ ἦσαννηστεύοντες] considered by Köstlin, p. 339, as meaningless and beside the question, is taken by the expositors as an “archaeological intimation” (de Wette, comp. Fritzsche). There is nothing to indicate its being so (how entirely different it is with Mark 7:3 f.!); we should at least expect with νηστεύοντες some such general addition as πολλά (Matthew 9:14). It is to be explained: And there were the disciples of John, etc., engaged in fasting (just at that time). This suggested their question. This view is followed also by Bleek and Holtzmann, the latter thinking, in the case of John’s disciples, of their fasting as mourners on account of the loss of their master,—a view for which Mark 2:19 does not serve as proof.

ἔρχονται κ.τ.λ.] Both, naturally by means of representatives from among them. The text does not yield anything else; so we are neither to understand the questioners of Mark 2:16 (Ewald, Hilgenfeld), nor mentally to supply τινές (Weisse, Wilke). In Matthew the disciples of John ask the question, and this is to be regarded as historically the case (see on Matthew 9:17, Remark).

οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάννου κ.τ.λ.] Not inappropriate, but more definite and more suited to their party-interest than ἡμεῖς (in opposition to de Wette).

σοί] might be the dative (the disciples belonging to Thee), see Bernhardy, p. 89; Kühner, II. p. 249. But in accordance with the use—frequent also in the N. T.—of the emphatic σός, it is to be taken as its plural. Comp. Luke 5:33.

Mark 2:19. ὅσον χρόνον κ.τ.λ.] superfluous in itself, but here suited to the solemn answer. Comp. Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. xxxix.

μεθʼ ἑαυτῶν] in the midst of themselves.

Mark 2:20. ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ] Not a negligence (de Wette) or impossibility of expression (Fritzsche), but: τότε is the more general statement of time: then, when, namely, the case of the taking away shall have occurred, and ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ, is the special definition of time subordinate to the τότε: on that day, ἐκεῖνος having demonstrative force and consequently a tragic emphasis (on that atra dies!). Comp. Bernhardy, p. 279. If the plural were again used, the time previously designated by ἐλεύσ. δὲ ἡμέραι would be once more expressed on the whole and in general, and that likewise with solemnity, but not the definite particular day. Aptly, moreover, Bengel remarks: “Dies unus auferendi sponsi, dies multi ejusdem ablati et absentis.” The Lord from the beginning of His ministry had made Himself familiar with the certainty of a violent death. Comp. John 2:19.

Mark 2:21. εἰ δὲ μή] In the contrary case, even after a negative clause, Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 336 [E. T. 392], and see on 2 Corinthians 11:16.

The correct reading: αἴρει ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ τὸ πλήρωμα τὸ καινὸν τοῦ παλαιοῦ (see the critical remarks), is to be explained: the new patch of the old (garment) breaks away from it. See on Matthew 9:16 f. The Recepta signifies: his new patch (that which is put on by him) breaks away from the old garment. According to Ewald, αἱρεῖ ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ ought to be read (following B, which, however, has the ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ after τὸ πλήρωμα), and this is to be interpreted: “thus the new filling up of the old becomes of itself stronger.” He compares the phrase ὁ λόγος αἱρεῖ (ratio evincit, Polyb. vi. 5. 5; comp. also Herod. ii. 33; Plat. Crit. p. 48 C, al.), the meaning of which (reason teaches it) is, however, here foreign to the subject.

Mark 2:22. A combination from Matthew and Luke is here contained only in the interpolated Recepta. See the critical remarks.

As to the form ῥήσσω instead of ῥήγνυμι, see Ruhnken, Ep. crit. I. p. 26.Mark 2:18-22. Fasting (Matthew 9:14-17, Luke 5:33-39).18. the disciples of John] The contrast between their Master in prison and Jesus at the feast could not fail to be felt. Perhaps the Pharisees had solicited them to make common cause with themselves in this matter. Their rigorous asceticism offered various points of contact between them and the disciples of the Baptist

used to fast] The Jews were wont to fast on Thursday because on that day Moses was said to have re-ascended Mount Sinai; on Monday because on that day he returned. Comp. the words of the Pharisee, Luke 18:12, “I fast twice in the week.” Perhaps this feast took place on one of their weekly fasts.Mark 2:18. Νηστεύοντες, fasting) This seems here to imply both their custom and their actual fasting at that present time; comp. note on Matthew 9:14.Verse 18. - The first sentence of this verse should be rendered thus: And the disciples of John and the Pharisees were fasting (ῆσαν νηστεύ´οντες). In all the synoptic Gospels we find this incident following closely upon what goes before. It is not improbable that the Pharisees and the disciples of John were fasting at the very time when Matthew gave his feast. This was not one of the fasts prescribed by the Law; had it been so, it would have been observed by our Lord. There were, however, fasts observed by the Pharisees which were not required by the Law; there were two in particular of a voluntary nature, mentioned by the Pharisee (Luke 18:12), where he says, "I fast twice in the week." It was a custom, observed by the stricter Pharisees, but not of legal obligation. It was not correct to say, but thy disciples fast not. They fasted, no doubt, but in a different spirit; they did not fast to be seen of men - they followed the higher teaching of their Master. It is remarkable to find the disciples of John here associated with the Pharisees. John was now in prison in the fort of Machaerus. It is possible that jealousy of the increasing influence of Christ may have led John's disciples to associate themselves with the Pharisees. The point of this particular attack upon Christ was this: It is as though they said, "You claim to be a new teacher sent from God, a teacher of a more perfect religion. How is it, then, that we are fasting, while your disciples are eating and drinking?" The disciples of John more especially may have urged this out of zeal for their master. Such an unworthy zeal is too often seen in good men, who love to prefer their own leader to all others, forgetting the remonstrance of St. Paul, "While there is amongst you strife and contention, are ye not carnal, and walk after the manner of men?" And of the Pharisees

But the of is wrong. Read as Rev., John's disciples and the Pharisees.

Used to fast (ἦσαν νηστεύοντες)

The A. V. refers to the fact as a custom; but Mark means that they were observing a fast at that time. Hence the use of the participle with the finite verb. Rev., correctly, were fasting. The threefold repetition of the word.fast is characteristic of Mark. See Introduction.

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