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Verses 14,15. Then came to him the disciples of John, etc. See also Mr 2:18-22; Lu 5:33-39. That is, of John the Baptist. It is probable that they had understood that John was the forerunner of the Messiah; and if such was the case, they could not account for the fact that there was such a difference between them and the disciples of Jesus. The Pharisees fasted often, regularly twice a week, besides the great national days of fasting, Lu 18:12. See Barnes "Mt 6:16-18".

This was the established custom of the land, and John did not feel himself authorized to make so great a change as to dispense with it. They were desirous of knowing, therefore, why Jesus had done it.

Besides, it is probable that this question was put to him when John was in prison; and his disciples, involved in deep grief on account of it, observed days of fasting. Fasting was the natural expression of sorrow, and they wondered that the followers of Jesus did not join with them in lamenting the captivity of him who was the forerunner and baptizer of their Lord.

Christ, in reply to them, used three illustrations, all of them going to establish the same thing, that we should observe a fitness and propriety in things. The first is taken from a marriage. The children of the bride-chamber—that is, the bridemen, or men who had the special care of the bridal chamber, and who were therefore his special friends—do not think of fasting while he is with them. With them it is a time of festivity and rejoicing; and mourning would not be appropriate. When he is removed, or taken away, then their festivity will be ended, and then will be the proper time of sorrow. So, says he, John, your friend and teacher, is in captivity. With you it is a time of deep grief, and it is fit that you should fast. I am with my disciples. It is, with them, a time of joy. It is not fit that they should use the tokens of grief, and fast now. When I am taken away, it will then be proper that they should fast. For an account of the ceremonies of an eastern marriage, See Barnes "Mt 25:1-13".

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