701. Wine Straining

Matthew 23:24  •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Matthew 23:2424Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. (Matthew 23:24). Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
This would be more correctly rendered by “strain out a gnat.” The at is supposed to have been originally a typographical error, which has since been universally copied. Alford, however, doubts this, and supposes that it “was a deliberate alteration, meaning, strain [out the wine] at [the occurrence of] a gnat.” In either case the meaning is the same. The reference here is to an old proverb, which, in turn, refers to an old custom. The Jews, in common with other Oriental people, strained their wine before drinking it, not only to keep the lees from the cup, but also to get rid of the insects, which, in a hot climate, collected around the fluid.
Wincklemann describes an instrument, evidently intended for a wine-strainer, and which was found in the ruins of Herculaneum. It is made of white metal, of elegant workmanship, and consists of two round and deep plates, about four inches in diameter, with flat handles. Plates and handles fit into each other so exactly that when put together they seem to make but one vessel. The upper plate is perforated, and the wine, passing through the holes, fell into the deeper vessel below, whence it was drawn into drinking-cups. The dregs and insects remained on the upper plate.