“Your fasting ends in quarrelling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.”
The Lord is now explaining why He has not responded to their prayers in the way that they have desired. He describes what they have been doing. There is no change in the way they live; they just carry on doing their own plans and purposes that please them. This self-centredness leads to quarrelling and strife and exploitation of those around them. Their behaviour indicates the state of their hearts. Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-19, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander."