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Fast
Excerpt from the Lexham Bible Dictionary, the most advanced Bible dictionary.
A ritual of abstaining from food and/or drink for a predetermined period; practiced in the Bible primarily as a means of mourning. Fasting frequently occurs in the Old Testament in response to suffering or disaster, in conjunction with other mourning rituals.
Dictionaries
The Lexham Bible Dictionary
Fasting
Fasting (צוםֺ‎, tswmo; νηστεια, nēsteia; ασιτεω, asiteō). A ritual of abstaining from food and/or drink for a predetermined period; practiced in the Bible primarily as a means of mourning. Fasting frequently occurs in the Old Testament in response to suffering or disaster, in conjunction with other mourning
The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
Fast, Fasting
FAST, FASTING. Fasting is the deliberate, temporary abstention from food for religious reasons. In the biblical material, fasting is total abstention, and is thus to be distinguished both from permanent food restrictions, like those against unclean animals, and also from occasional abstention from certain
Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible
Fast, Fasting
Fast, Fasting. Eating sparingly or abstaining from food altogether, either from necessity or desire. In medical terms, fasting is the detoxification of the body through the restriction of food.Spiritual fasting entails setting aside activities as well as reducing the intake of food and replacing these
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised
Fast
Fast Deliberate and sustained Abstinence from all food for a specific period of time. A fast may be associated with private acts of piety, the acknowledgment of disaster, emotional disturbance, mourning, or repentance, or it can form part of public devotion. The biblical writers accepted the social
Tyndale Bible Dictionary
Fast, Fasting
FAST, FASTING Eating sparingly or abstaining from food altogether, either from necessity or desire. In medical terms, fasting is the detoxification of the body through the restriction of food.Spiritual fasting entails setting aside activities as well as reducing the intake of food and replacing these
The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and Updated)
Fasting
fasting, abstention from food for intentional, usually religious, reasons. In the Bible, there are two kinds of fasting, private and public. Private fasts were observed as acts of penance (2 Sam. 12:15–23; 1 Kings 21:27; Ps. 69:1–15) or of mourning (Neh. 1:4); fasting could be a means of seeking divine
The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia
Fast, Fasting
FAST, FASTING. Fasting in the Bible implies total abstinence (q.v. from all food for a certain period. The length of the time varied from daylight hours (“fasted that day until evening,” (Jdg 20:26) up to 40 days, as in the case of Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. People fasted either out of necessity during
The New Bible Dictionary, Third Edition
Fasting
FASTING. Fasting in the Bible generally means going without all food and drink for a period (e.g. Est. 4:16), and not merely refraining from certain foods.
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible
Fasting
FastingDeliberate and often prolonged abstinence from food and sometimes drink. Comparative anthropological literature suggests that fasting is a varied phenomenon that must be defined by context. For example, fasts in ancient Israel (Heb. ṣôm) are related to mourning (2 Sam. 1:12; 3:35 = 1 Chr. 10:12;
Eerdmans Bible Dictionary
Fasting
Fasting (Heb. verb ṣûm, noun ṣôm; Gk. verb nēsteúō).† Deliberate and generally prolonged abstention from eating (and sometimes drinking) as a means of humbling oneself before God (Heb. kāna˓, niphal; cf. Lev. 16:19, te˓annû eṯ-nap̱šeṯêḵem “afflict your soul”; RSV “afflict yourselves”).
Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels
Fasting
FastingFasting is a tangible expression or direct corollary of one’s relationship with God rather than a religious discipline. Though he does not prohibit it, Jesus views his own presence at the dawn of the age of salvation* as rendering fasting generally inappropriate.1. Fasting among the Jews2.
Catholic Bible Dictionary
Fasting
FASTING Abstention from food, either wholly or partially, as an act of mourning or penance.According to the Law of Moses, there was only one day in the year appointed as a fast day, namely the tenth day of the seventh month, the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:29; 23:27, 32; Num 29:7). Nevertheless, fasting
Key passages
Le 16:29–31

“And this shall be a lasting statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth of the month, you must deny yourselves and you must not do any work, whether the native or the alien who is dwelling in your midst, because on this day he shall make atonement for you to cleanse you; you must …

Es 4:16

“Go, gather all the Jews that are found in Susa and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, both night and day. I and my young girls will fast likewise, and then I will go to the king, which is not according to the law; if I perish, I perish.

Is 58:6–7

Is this not the fast I choose: to release the bonds of injustice, to untie the ropes of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and tear every yoke to pieces? Is it not to break your bread for the hungry? You must bring home the poor, the homeless. When you see the naked, you must …

Mt 4:1–2

Then Jesus was led up into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil, and after he had fasted forty days and forty nights, then he was hungry.

Lk 18:11–12

The Pharisee stood and prayed these things with reference to himself: ‘God, I give thanks to you that I am not like other people—swindlers, unrighteous people, adulterers, or even like this tax collector! I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all that I get.’

See also
Topics & Themes