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March 23    Scripture

Manners & Customs: Fasting
Fasting in Ancient Bible Times

Fast in Easton's Bible Dictionary The sole fast required by the law of Moses was that of the great Day of Atonement (q.v.), Lev. 23:26-32. It is called "the fast" (Acts 27:9). The only other mention of a periodical fast in the Old Testament is in Zech. 7:1-7; 8:19, from which it appears that during their captivity the Jews observed four annual fasts. (1.) The fast of the fourth month, kept on the seventeenth day of Tammuz, the anniversary of the capture of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans; to commemorate also the incident recorded Ex. 32:19. (Comp. Jer. 52:6, 7.) (2.) The fast of the fifth month, kept on the ninth of Ab (comp. Num. 14:27), to commemorate the burning of the city and temple (Jer. 52:12, 13). (3.) The fast of the seventh month, kept on the third of Tisri (comp. 2 Kings 25), the anniversary of the murder of Gedaliah (Jer. 41:1, 2). (4.) The fast of the tenth month (comp. Jer. 52:4; Ezek. 33:21; 2 Kings 25:1), to commemorate the beginning of the siege of the holy city by Nebuchadnezzar. There was in addition to these the fast appointed by Esther (4:16). Public national fasts on account of sin or to supplicate divine favour were sometimes held. (1.) 1 Sam. 7:6; (2.) 2 Chr. 20:3; (3.) Jer. 36:6-10; (4.) Neh. 9:1. There were also local fasts. (1.) Judg. 20:26; (2.) 2 Sam. 1:12; (3.) 1 Sam. 31:13; (4.) 1 Kings 21:9-12; (5.) Ezra 8:21-23: (6.) Jonah 3:5-9. There are many instances of private occasional fasting (1 Sam. 1:7: 20:34; 2 Sam. 3:35; 12:16; 1 Kings 21:27; Ezra 10:6; Neh. 1:4; Dan. 10:2,3). Moses fasted forty days (Ex. 24:18; 34:28), and so also did Elijah (1 Kings 19:8). Our Lord fasted forty days in the wilderness (Matt. 4:2). In the lapse of time the practice of fasting was lamentably abused (Isa. 58:4; Jer. 14:12; Zech. 7:5). Our Lord rebuked the Pharisees for their hypocritical pretences in fasting (Matt. 6:16). He himself appointed no fast. The early Christians, however, observed the ordinary fasts according to the law of their fathers (Acts 13:3; 14:23; 2 Cor. 6:5).
http://www.bible-history.com/eastons/F/Fast/


Fasting in Fausset's Bible Dictionary Refraining from eating food. The Bible describes three main forms of fasting: 1) The Normal Fast, involving the total abstinence of food. Luke 4:2 reveals that Jesus “did eat nothing.” Afterwards “He was hungered.” Jesus abstained from food but not from water. 2) In Acts 9:9 we read of an Absolute Fast where for three days He “neither did eat nor drink.” The abstinence from both food and water seems to have lasted no more than three days (Ezra 10:6; Esther 4:16). 3) The Partial Fast—in Daniel 10:3 the emphasis is upon the restriction of diet rather than complete abstinence. The context implies that there were physical benefits resulting from this partial fast. However, this verse indicates that there was a revelation given to Daniel as a result of this time of fasting. Fasting is the laying aside of food for a period of time when the believer is seeking to know God in a deeper experience. It is to be done as an act before God in the privacy of one's own pursuit of God (Exodus 34:28; 1 Samuel 7:6; 1 Kings 19:8; Matthew 6:17). Fasting is to be done with the object of seeking to know God in a deeper experience (Isaiah 58:1; Zechariah 7:5). Fasting relates to a time of confession (Psalms 69:10). Fasting can be a time of seeking a deeper prayer experience and drawing near to God in prevailing prayer (Ezra 8:23; Joel 2:12). The early church often fasted in seeking God's will for leadership in the local church (Acts 13:2). When the early church wanted to know the mind of God, there was a time of prayer and fasting.
http://www.bible-history.com/faussets/F/Fasting/


Fasting in Naves Topical Bible Observed on occasions of public calamities 2Sa 1:12 -Afflictions Ps 35:13; Da 6:18 -Private afflictions 2Sa 12:16 -Approaching danger Es 4:16 -Ordination of ministers Ac 13:3; 14:23 -Accompanied by prayer Da 9:3 -Confession of sin 1Sa 7:6; Ne 9:1,2 -Humiliation De 9:18; Ne 9:1 -During forty days Moses De 9:9,18 Jesus Mt 4:1,2; Mr 1:12,13; Lu 4:1,2 -Habitual By John's disciples Mt 9:14 By Anna Lu 2:37 By Pharisees Mt 9:14; Mr 2:18; Lu 18:12 By Cornelius Ac 10:30 By Paul 2Co 6:5; 11:27 -In times of bereavement Of the people of Jabesh-gilead, for Saul and his sons 1Sa 31:13; 1Ch 10:12 Of David, at the time of Saul's death 2Sa 1:12 Of Abner's death 2Sa 3:35 -Prolonged For three weeks, by Daniel Da 10:2,3 For forty days, by Moses Ex 24:18; 34:28; De 9:9,18 Elijah 1Ki 19:8 Jesus Mt 4:2 -See HUMILIATION -See HUMILITY -UNCLASSIFIED SCRIPTURES RELATING TO Ezr 8:21-23; Ps 35:13; 69:10; Isa 58:3-7; Jer 14:12; Da 10:3; Joe 1:14; 2:12,13; Zec 7:5; 8:19; Mt 6:16-18; 9:14,15; 17:21; Ac 27:9,33,34; 1Co 7:5 -INSTANCES OF Of the Israelites In the conflict between the other tribes with the tribe of Benjamin, on account of the wrong suffered by a Levite's concubine Jud 20:26 When they went to Mizpeh for the ark of the covenant 1Sa 7:6 Of David Upon the death of Saul 2Sa 1:12 During the sickness of the child born to him by Bath- sheba 2Sa 12:16-22 While interceding in prayer for his friends Ps 35:13 In his zeal for Zion Ps 69:10 In prayer for himself and his adversaries Ps 109:4,24 Of Ahab, when Elijah prophesied the destruction of himself and his house 1Ki 21:27; with 20:29 Of Jehoshaphat, at the time of the invasion of the confederated armies of the Canaanites and Syrians 2Ch 20:3 Of Ezra, on account of the idolatrous marriages of the Jews Ezr 10:6 Of Nehemiah, on account of the desolation of Jerusalem and the temple Ne 1:4 Of the Jews, when Jeremiah prophesied against Judea and Jerusalem Jer 36:9 In Babylon, with prayer for divine deliverance and guidance Ezr 8:21,23 Of Darius, when he put Daniel in the lions' den Da 6:18 Of Daniel On account of the captivity of the people, with prayer for their deliverance Da 9:3 At the time of his vision Da 10:1-3 Ninevites, when Jonah preached to them Jon 3:5-10 By Paul, at the time of his conversion Ac 9:9 Of the disciples, at the time of the consecration of Barnabas and Saul Ac 13:2,3 Of the consecration of the elders Ac 14:23
http://www.bible-history.com/naves/F/FASTING/


Fasting in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE fast, fast'-ing (tsum; `innah nephesh, "afflict soul or self," i.e. practice self-denial; nesteia, nesteuein): It is necessary to get rid of some modern notions associated with fasting before we can form a correct idea of its origin and significance in the ancient world. For instance, in the case of many ailments the dieting of the patient is an essential part of the remedy. But we may readily assume that originally fasting was not based on the salutary influence which it exercised on the health of the subject. Considerations of therapeutics played no part in the institution. The theory that fasting, like many other ancient customs, had a religious origin, is in favor with scholars, but we must not assume a religious origin for all practices which in process of time came to be associated with religion. Many customs, purely secular in their origin, have gradually obtained a religious significance, just as purely religious customs have been dissociated from religion. It is also possible and, in the light of some usages, probable, that different motives operated in the association of fasting, as of some other customs, with religion. Scholars have been too ready to assume that the original significance of fasting was the same in all countries and among all nations. Robertson Smith in his Religion of the Semites advanced and defended theory that fasting was merely a mode of preparation for the tribal meal in which sacrifice originated, and came to be considered at a later stage as part of the sacrificial act. This hypothesis apparently accounts for the otherwise strange fact that both fasting and feasting are religious acts, but it does not give a satisfactory explanation of the constant association of fasting with the "wearing of sackcloth," the "putting of ashes on the head," and other similar customs. It is obvious that very different motives operated in the institution of fasting and of feasting religious observances. It is a matter of common observation and experience that great distress causes loss of appetite and therefore occasions abstinence from food. Hannah, who was greatly distressed on account of her childlessness, "wept, and did not eat" (1 Sam 1:7). Violent anger produces the same effect (1 Sam 20:34). According to 1 Ki 21:4, Ahab, "heavy and displeased" on account of Naboth's refusal to part with his estate, sulked and "would eat no bread." Fasting, originally the natural expression of grief, became the customary mode of proving to others the inner emotion of sorrow. David demonstrated his grief at Abner's death (2 Sam 3:35) by fasting, just as the Psalmist indicated his sympathy with his adversaries' sorry plight in the same way (Ps 35:13). In such passages as Ezr 10:6; Est 4:3, it is not clear whether fasting is used in its religious significance or simply as a natural expression of sorrow (compare also Lk 5:33 and see below). This view explains the association of fasting with the mourning customs of antiquity (compare 1 Sam 31:13; 2 Sam 1:12). As fasting was a perfectly natural and human expression and evidence of the subject's grief, it readily claimed a place among those religious customs whose main object was the pacification of the anger of God, or the excital of His compassion. Any and every...
http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/F/FAST;+FASTING/


Fasting Scripture - 1 Corinthians 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except [it be] with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/1+Corinthians/7/


Fasting Scripture - Acts 10:30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Acts/10/


Fasting Scripture - Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Acts/14/


Fasting Scripture - Daniel 6:18 Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Daniel/6/


Fasting Scripture - Daniel 9:3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Daniel/9/


Fasting Scripture - Esther 4:3 And in every province, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, [there was] great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Esther/4/


Fasting Scripture - Jeremiah 36:6 Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the LORD'S house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Jeremiah/36/


Fasting Scripture - Matthew 15:32 Then Jesus called his disciples [unto him], and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Matthew/15/


Fasting Scripture - Nehemiah 9:1 Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Nehemiah/9/


Fasting Scripture - Psalms 35:13 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.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Psalms/35/


Fasts in Smiths Bible Dictionary 1. One fast only was appointed by the Mosaic law, that on the day of atonement. There is no mention of any other periodical fast in the Old Testament except in Zec 7:1-7; 8:19 From these passages it appears that the Jews, during their captivity, observed four annual fasts, --in the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months. 2. Public fasts were occasionally proclaimed to express national humiliation and to supplicate divine favor. In the case of public danger the proclamation appears to have been accompanied with the blowing of trumpets. Joe 2:1- 15 (See 1Sa 7:6; 2Ch 20:3; Jer 36:6-10 ) Three days after the feast of tabernacles, when the second temple was completed, "the children of Israel assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes and earth upon them," to hear the law read and to confess their sins. Ne 9:1 3. Private occasional fasts are recognized in one passage of the law -- Nu 30:13 The instances given of individuals fasting under the influence of grief, vexation or anxiety are numerous. 4. In the New Testament the only reference to the Jewish fasts are the mention of "the fast" in Ac 27:9 (generally understood to denote the day of atonement) an the allusions to the weekly fasts. Mt 9:14; Mr 2:18; Lu 5:33; 18:12; Ac 10:30 These fasts originated some time after the captivity. 5. The Jewish fasts were observed with various degrees of strictness. Sometimes there was entire abstinence from food. Es 4:16 etc. On other occasions there appears to have been only a restriction to a very plain diet. Da 10:3 Those who fasted frequently dressed in sackcloth or rent their clothes, put ashes on their head and went barefoot. 1Ki 21:27; Ne 9:1; Ps 35:13 6. The sacrifice of the personal will, which gives to fasting all its value, is expressed in the old term used in the law, afflicting the soul.
http://www.bible-history.com/smiths/F/Fasts/


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