18 And John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting1 . And they came saying to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the Pharisees’ disciples fast2, but your disciples don’t fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests3 are not able to fast while the bridegroom is with them, are they? As long as they have the bride-groom with them, they are not able to fast. 20 But the days will come when the bridegroom might be taken away4 from them, and then, in that day, they will fast.
21 No one sews an un-shrunken piece of cloth onto an old garment, otherwise, the patch5 pulls away from it, the new from the old, and the tear becomes worse. 22 And no one puts6 new7 wine8 into old wineskins9, otherwise, the wine will burst10 the wineskin and the wine and the wineskin will be ruined11, but new wine is placed into new wineskins.
1 Introduction on Fasting
Jewish people fasted on major religious days per Jewish law, but the Pharisees also added to that by fasting two days per week. This is one of those days deemed by the Pharisees as a day to fast and not a normal day of fast as deemed by Jewish law.
2 This begs the question, “How did they know who was fasting and who was not?” The answer lies in Matthew 6:16-17.
3 οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος (the wedding guest)
Greek: “the sons of the wedding hall”.
4 ἀπαρθῇ (might be taken away)
This can also be translated “might be lead away”. It’s an allusion to Jesus’ future arrest and crucifixion.
5 πλήρωμα (patch)
Greek: “fullness”. In other words, the hole in the garment is filled.
6 βάλλει (puts)
Greek: “throws” or “casts”. A strange verb to be used in this context. Mark may be using this to explain how haphazard or careless it is to put new wine into old wine-skins.
7 νέον (new)
Greek: “young”. Wine that has not been around very long. In other words, grape juice that has not gone through the fermentation process yet.
8 οἶνος (wine)
Fermented grape juice.
A wineskin was a leather bag.
Wine had to be placed in new wineskins because of the fermentation process. During fermentation, the wine would release gases that would expand the wineskins and stretch them out. Old wineskins would have already lost their ability to stretch, thus they would be be able to take the expanding gas of the fermentation process a second time.
11 ἀπόλλυται (ruined)
Μάρκον 2·18 Καὶ ἦσαν οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάννου καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι νηστεύοντες. καὶ ἔρχονται καὶ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ· διὰ τί οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάννου καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ τῶν Φαρισαίων νηστεύουσιν, οἱ δὲ σοὶ μαθηταὶ οὐ νηστεύουσιν; 19 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· μὴ δύνανται οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος ἐν ᾧ ὁ νυμφίος μετ ̓ αὐτῶν ἐστιν νηστεύειν; ὅσον χρόνον ἔχουσιν τὸν νυμφίον μετ ̓ αὐτῶν οὐ δύνανται νηστεύειν. 20 ἐλεύσονται δὲ ἡμέραι ὅταν ἀπαρθῇ ἀπ ̓ αὐτῶν ὁ νυμφίος, καὶ τότε νηστεύσουσιν ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ.
21 Οὐδεὶς ἐπίβλημα ῥάκους ἀγνάφου ἐπιράπτει ἐπὶ ἱμάτιον παλαιόν· εἰ δὲ μή, αἴρει τὸ πλήρωμα ἀπ ̓ αὐτοῦ τὸ καινὸν τοῦ παλαιοῦ καὶ χεῖρον σχίσμα γίνεται. 22 καὶ οὐδεὶς βάλλει οἶνον νέον εἰς ἀσκοὺς παλαιούς· εἰ δὲ μή, ῥήξει ὁ οἶνος τοὺς ἀσκοὺς καὶ ὁ οἶνος ἀπόλλυται καὶ οἱ ἀσκοί· ἀλλὰ οἶνον νέον εἰς ἀσκοὺς καινούς.