Matthew 6:17

17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,

Matthew 6:17 in Other Translations

King James Version (KJV)
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
English Standard Version (ESV)
17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
New Living Translation (NLT)
17 But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face.
The Message Bible (MSG)
17 If you 'go into training' inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face.
American Standard Version (ASV)
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face;
GOD'S WORD Translation (GW)
17 When you fast, wash your face and comb your hair.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
17 But when you fast, put oil on your head, and wash your face,
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
17 "But when you go without eating, put olive oil on your head. Wash your face.

Matthew 6:17 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 6:17

But thou, when thou fastest
Christ allows of fasting, but what is of a quite different kind from that of the Jews; which lay not in an outward abstinence from food, and other conveniences of life, and refreshments of nature; but in an abstinence from sin, in acknowledgment and confession of it; and in the exercise of faith and hope in God, as a God pardoning iniquity, transgression and sin; wherefore cheerfulness, and a free use of the creatures, without an abuse of them, best became such persons.

Anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
directly contrary to the Jewish canons, which forbid these things, with others, on fast days:

``On the day of atonement, (say F9 they,) a man is forbidden eating and drinking, (hkyobwhuyxrbw) "and washing and anointing", and putting on of shoes, and the use of the bed.''

And the same were forbidden on other fasts: in anointings, the head was anointed first, and this rule and reason are given for it:

``he that would anoint his whole body, (hlyxt wvar Ko) , "let him anoint his head first", because it is king over all its members F11.''

Anointing and washing were signs of cheerfulness and joy; see ( Ruth 3:3 ) ( 2 Samuel 12:20 ) .


F9 Misn. Yoma, c. 8. sect. 1. & Taanith, c. 1. sect. 4, 5, 6. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 77. 2. Taanith, fol. 12. 2. Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Tora, pr. affirm. 32.
F11 T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 61. 1.

Matthew 6:17 In-Context

15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
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