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Mark 2:18-22

Context
The Superiority of the New

2:18 Now 1  John’s 2  disciples and the Pharisees 3  were fasting. 4  So 5  they came to Jesus 6  and said, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples don’t fast?” 2:19 Jesus 7  said to them, “The wedding guests 8  cannot fast while the bridegroom 9  is with them, can they? 10  As long as they have the bridegroom with them they do not fast. 2:20 But the days are coming when the bridegroom will be taken from them, 11  and at that time 12  they will fast. 2:21 No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and the tear becomes worse. 2:22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins; 13  otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins will be destroyed. Instead new wine is poured into new wineskins.” 14 

1 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.

2 sn John refers to John the Baptist.

3 sn See the note on Pharisees in 2:16.

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 “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “So” to indicate that in the narrative this question happened as a result of the fasting of John’s disciples and the Pharisees.

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

7 tn Grk “And Jesus.”

8 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).

9 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).

10 tn Questions prefaced with μή (mh) in Greek anticipate a negative answer. This can sometimes be indicated by using a “tag” at the end in English (here the tag is “can they?”).

11 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 8:27ff. (cf. 8:31; 9:31; 10:33).

12 tn Grk “then on that day.”

13 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.

14 sn The meaning of the saying new wine is poured into new skins 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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