Practice of fasting


Fasting is not an end in itself

Fasting as empty ritual is condemned

Jeremiah 14:11–12 KJV 1900
Then said the Lord unto me, Pray not for this people for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.
See also Is 58:1–7; Zec 7:4–7

Fasting as mere show is condemned

Matthew 6:16–18 KJV 1900
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. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
See also Mt 9:14–15 Jesus Christ repudiated fasting for its own sake whilst granting that there is a time and a place for it.

Fasting imposed for false motives

1 Samuel 14:24–30 KJV 1900
And the men of Israel were distressed that day: for Saul had adjured the people, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies. So none of the people tasted any food. And all they of the land came to a wood; and there was honey upon the ground. And when the people were come into the wood, behold, the honey dropped; but no man put his hand to his mouth: for the people feared the oath. But Jonathan heard not when his father charged the people with the oath: wherefore he put forth the end of the rod that was in his hand, and dipped it in an honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened. Then answered one of the people, and said, Thy father straitly charged the people with an oath, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food this day. And the people were faint. Then said Jonathan, My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey. How much more, if haply the people had eaten freely to day of the spoil of their enemies which they found? for had there not been now a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?

Attitudes appropriate to fasting


Psalm 35:13 KJV 1900
But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; And my prayer returned into mine own bosom.
See also 1 Ki 21:27–29; Ezr 8:21; Ps 69:10


1 Samuel 7:6 KJV 1900
And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the Lord. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh.
See also Ne 9:1–3; Joe 1:13–14; Joe 2:12–15

Fasting and prayer

Nehemiah 1:4 KJV 1900
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
See also Ezr 8:21–23; Ps 35:13; Da 9:3; Mt 17:20; Lk 2:37; Lk 5:33; Ac 13:3; Ac 14:23; 1 Co 7:3–5 The motivation here is similar to that in abstaining from food.

Fasting and worship

Acts 13:2 KJV 1900
As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
See also Lk 2:37
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