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American Tract Society Bible Dictionary


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In all ages, and among all nations, fasting has been practiced in times of sorrow, and affliction, Jonah 3:5 . It may be regarded as a dictate of nature, which under these circumstances refuses nourishment, and suspends the cravings of hunger. In the Bible no example is mentioned of fasting, properly so-called, before Moses. His forty days' fast, like that of Elijah and of our Lord, was miraculous, Deuteronomy 9:9 1 Kings 19:8 Matthew 4:2 . The Jews often had recourse to this practice, when they had occasion to humble themselves before God, to confess their sins and deprecate his displeasure, Judges 20:26 1 Samuel 7:6 2 Samuel 12:16 Nehemiah 9:1 1 Kings 19:8 Jeremiah 36:9 . Especially in times of public calamity, they appointed extraordinary fasts, and made even the children at the breast fast, Joel 2:16 Daniel 10:2-3 . They began the observance of their fasts, at sunset, and remained without eating until the same hour the next day. The great day of expiation was probably the only annual and national fast day among them.

It does not appear by his own practice or by his commands, that our Lord instituted any particular fast. On one occasion, he intimated that his disciples would fast after his death, Luke 5:34,35 . Accordingly, the life of the apostles and first believers was a life of self-denials, sufferings, and fasting, 2 Corinthians 5:7 11:27 . Our Savior recognized the custom, and the apostles practiced it as occasion required, Matthew 6:16-18 Acts 13:3 1 Corinthians 7:5 .

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Fasting'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. 1859.

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