Matthew 6:16
Parallel Verses
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.

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.

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.

Matthew 6:16 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Moreover, when ye fast - The word "fast" literally signifies to abstain from food and drink, whether from necessity or as a religious observance. It is, however, commonly applied in the Bible to the latter. It is, then, an expression of grief or sorrow. Such is the constitution of the body, that in a time of grief or sorrow we are not disposed to eat; or, we have no appetite. The grief of the "soul" is so absorbing as to destroy the natural appetites of the "body." People in deep affliction eat little, and often pine away and fall into sickness, because the body refuses, on account of the deep sorrow of the mind, to discharge the functions of health. "Fasting, then, is the natural expression of grief." It is not arbitrary; it is what every person in sorrow naturally does. This is the foundation of its being applied to religion as a sacred rite. It is because the soul, when oppressed and burdened by a sense of sin, is so filled with grief that the body refuses food. It is, therefore, appropriate to scenes of penitence, of godly sorrow, of suffering, and to those facts connected with religion which are suited to produce grief, as the prevalence of iniquity, or some dark impending calamity, or storm, or tempest, pestilence, plague, or famine. It is also useful to humble us, to bring us to reflection, to direct the thoughts away from the allurements of this world to the bliss of a better. It is not acceptable except it be the "real expression," of sorrow; the natural effect of the feeling that we are burdened with crime.

The Jews fasted often. They had four "annual" fasts in commemoration of the capture of Jerusalem Jeremiah 52:7, of the burning of the temple Zechariah 7:3, of the death of Gedaliah Jeremiah 41:4, and of the commencement of the attack on Jerusalem Zechariah 8:19. In addition to these, they had a multitude of occasional fasts. It was customary, also, for the Pharisees to fast twice a week, Luke 18:12.

Of a sad countenance - That is, sour, morose; with assumed expressions of unfelt sorrow.

They disfigure their faces - That is, they do not anoint and wash themselves as usual: they are uncombed, filthy, squalid, and haggard. It is said that they were often in the habit of throwing ashes on their heads and faces; and this, mixing with their tears, served still further to disfigure their faces. So much pains will people take, and so much suffering will they undergo, and so much that is ridiculous will they assume, to impose on God and people. But they deceive neither. God sees through the flimsy veil. Human eyes can pierce a disguise so thin. Hypocrites overact their part. Not having the genuine principles of piety at heart, they know not what is its proper expression, and hence they appear supremely contemptible and abominable. Never should people exhibit outwardly more than they feel; and never should they attempt to exhibit anything for the mere sake of ostentation.

They have their reward - They have all that they desired - the praise of men and "the pleasure of ostentation." See the notes at Matthew 6:2.

Matthew 6:16 Parallel Commentaries

Library
June 16. "Ye Cannot Serve God and Mammon" (Matt. vi. 24).
"Ye cannot serve God and Mammon" (Matt. vi. 24). He does not say ye cannot very well serve God and mammon, but ye cannot serve two masters at all. Ye shall be sure to end by serving one. The man who thinks he is serving God a little is deceived; he is not serving God. God will not have his service. The devil will monopolize him before he gets through. A divided heart loses both worlds. Saul tried it. Balaam tried it. Judas tried it, and they all made a desperate failure. Mary had but one choice.
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

June 10. "Your Heavenly Father Knoweth Ye have Need" (Matt. vi. 32).
"Your heavenly Father knoweth ye have need" (Matt. vi. 32). Christ makes no less of our trust for temporal things than He does for spiritual things. He places a good deal of emphasis upon it. Why? Simply because it is harder to trust God for them. In spiritual matters we can fool ourselves, and think that we are trusting when we are not; but we cannot do so about rent and food, and the needs of our body. They must come or our faith fails. It is easy to say that we trust Him in things that are a long
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Hearts and Treasures
'For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.'--MATT. vi. 21. 'Your treasure' is probably not the same as your neighbour's. It is yours, whether you possess it or not, because you love it. For what our Lord means here by 'treasure' is not merely money, or material good, but whatever each man thinks best, that which he most eagerly strives to attain, that which he most dreads to lose, that which, if he has, he thinks he will be blessed, that which, if he has it not, he knows he is discontented.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Solitary Prayer
'Enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret,'--MATT. vi. 6. An old heathen who had come to a certain extent under the influence of Christ, called prayer 'the flight of the solitary to the Solitary.' There is a deep truth in that, though not all the truth. Prayer is not only the most intensely individual act that a man can perform, but it is also the highest social act. Christ came not to carry solitary souls by a solitary pathway to heaven, but
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Cross References
Isaiah 58:5
"Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one's head like a reed And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?

Matthew 6:1
"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 6:2
"So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

Matthew 6:5
"When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

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