The disciples of John (oi maqhtai Iwanou). One is surprised to find disciples of the Baptist in the role of critics of Christ along with the Pharisees. But John was languishing in prison and they perhaps were blaming Jesus for doing nothing about it. At any rate John would not have gone to Levi's feast on one of the Jewish fast-days. "The strict asceticism of the Baptist ( Matthew 11:18 ) and of the Pharisaic rabbis ( Luke 18:12 ) was imitated by their disciples" (McNeile).