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Matthew 9:14-17

Context
The Superiority of the New

9:14 Then John’s 1  disciples came to Jesus 2  and asked, “Why do we and the Pharisees 3  fast often, 4  but your disciples don’t fast?” 9:15 Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests 5  cannot mourn while the bridegroom 6  is with them, can they? But the days 7  are coming when the bridegroom will be taken from them, 8  and then they will fast. 9:16 No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, because the patch will pull away from the garment and the tear will be worse. 9:17 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins; 9  otherwise the skins burst and the wine is spilled out and the skins are destroyed. Instead they put new wine into new wineskins 10  and both are preserved.”

1 sn John refers to John the Baptist.

2 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

3 sn See the note on Pharisees in 3:7.

4 sn John’s disciples and the Pharisees followed typical practices with regard to fasting and prayer. Many Jews fasted regularly (Lev 16:29-34; 23:26-32; Num 29:7-11). The zealous fasted twice a week on Monday and Thursday.

5 tn Grk “sons of the wedding hall,” an idiom referring to wedding guests, or more specifically friends of the bridegroom present at the wedding celebration (L&N 11.7).

6 sn The expression while the bridegroom is with them is an allusion to messianic times (John 3:29; Isa 54:5-6; 62:4-5; 4 Ezra 2:15, 38).

7 tn Grk “days.”

8 sn The statement the bridegroom will be taken from them is a veiled allusion by Jesus to his death, which he did not make explicit until the incident at Caesarea Philippi in 16:13ff.

9 sn Wineskins were bags made of skin or leather, used for storing wine in NT times. As the new wine fermented and expanded, it would stretch the new wineskins. Putting new (unfermented) wine in old wineskins, which had already been stretched, would result in the bursting of the wineskins.

10 sn The meaning of the saying new wine into new wineskins is that the presence and teaching of Jesus was something new and signaled the passing of the old. It could not be confined within the old religion of Judaism, but involved the inauguration and consummation of the kingdom of God.



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