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Colossians 2:21

    Colossians 2:21 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    (Touch not; taste not; handle not;

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    (Touch not; taste not; handle not;

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Handle not, nor taste, nor touch

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Which say there may be no touching, tasting, or taking in your hands,

    Webster's Revision

    Handle not, nor taste, nor touch

    World English Bible

    "Don't handle, nor taste, nor touch"

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Handle not, nor taste, nor touch

    Clarke's Commentary on Colossians 2:21

    Touch not; taste not; handle not - These are forms of expression very frequent among the Jews. In Maccoth, fol. xxi. 1: "If they say to a Nazarite, Don't drink, don't drink; and he, notwithstanding, drinks; he is guilty. If they say, Don't shave, don't shave; and he shaves, notwithstanding; he is guilty. If they say, Don't put on these clothes, don't put on these clothes; and he, notwithstanding, puts on heterogeneous garments; he is guilty." See more in Schoettgen.

    Barnes' Notes on Colossians 2:21

    Tough not; taste not; handle not - These words seem intended as a specimen of the kind of ordinances which the apostle refers to, or an imitation of the language of the Jewish teachers in regard to various kinds of food and drink. "Why are ye subject to ordinances of various kinds, such as this - Touch not, taste not, handle not?" That is, such as prohibit you from even touching certain kinds of food, or tasting certain kinds of drink, or handling certain prohibited things. The rapid succession of the words here, without any connecting particle, is supposed to denote the eagerness of the persons who imposed this injunction, and their earnestness in warning others from contaminating themselves with the prohibited things. Many injunctions of this kind are found in the writings of the Jewish rabbis; and the ancient Jewish sect of the Essenes (Notes, Matthew 3:7) abounded in precepts of this kind.

    See Schoetgen, and Pict. Bib. in loc. "They allowed themselves no food that was pleasant to the taste, but ate dry, coarse bread, and drank only water. Many of them ate nothing until sunset, and, if anyone touched them who did not belong to their sect, they washed themselves as if they had been most deeply defiled. Perhaps there was at Colossae a society of this kind, as there were in many other places out of Judea; and, if there was, it is not improbable that many Christians imitated them in the uniqueness of their rules and observances;" compare Jenning's Jew. Ant. i. 471, and Ros. Alt. u. neu. Morgenland, in loc. If this be the correct interpretation, then these are not the words of the apostle, forbidding Christians to have anything to do with these ordinances, but are introduced as a specimen of the manner in which they who enjoined the observance of those ordinances pressed the subject on others.

    There were certain things which they prohibited, in conformity with what they understood to be the law of Moses; and they were constantly saying, in regard to them, "do not touch them, taste them, handle them." These words are often used as a kind of motto in reference to the use of intoxicating drinks. They express very well what is held by the friends of total abstinence; but it is obvious that they had no such reference as used by the apostle, nor should they be alleged as an authority, or as an argument, in the question about the propriety or impropriety of the use of spirituous liquors. They may as well be employed in reference to anything else as that, and would have no authority in either case. Intoxicating drinks should be abstained from; but the obligation to do it should be made to rest on solid arguments, and not on passages of Scripture like this. This passage could with more plausibility be pressed into the service of the enemies of the total abstinence societies, than into their support; but it really has nothing to do with the subject, one way or the other.

    Wesley's Notes on Colossians 2:21

    2:21 Touch not - An unclean thing. Taste not - Any forbidden meat. Handle not - Any consecrated vessel.

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