The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleLuke 5:39
No man also having drunk old wine…
not in the text, is rightly supplied by our translators, as it is by
the Syriac and Persic versions:
straightway desireth new;
new wine: for he saith, the old is
old wine is more grateful, more generous, and more
reviving to the spirits, than new wine is. This is a proverbial
expression, and which Luke only records; which may be applied to
natural men, who having drunk the old wine of their carnal lusts and
pleasures, do not desire the new wine of the Gospel, and of the grace
of God, and of spiritual things, but prefer their old sins and lusts
unto them: carnal lusts may be signified by old wine, both for the
antiquity of them, being as old as men themselves, and therefore
called the old man, and for the gratefulness of them to them; and who
may be said to drink of them, as they do drink iniquity like water;
which is expressive of their great desire and thirst after it, and
delight in it: now whilst they are such, they cannot desire the new
wine of the Gospel, which is insipid and ungrateful to them; nor the
grace of God, to which their carnal minds are enmity; nor any thing
that is evangelical and spiritual, at least, not straightway, or
immediately; not until they are regenerated by the Spirit of God, and
their taste is changed, but will prefer their old lusts and former
course of life unto them: or it may be accommodated to legalists, and
men of a "pharisaical spirit", to whom spiritual and evangelical
things are very disagreeable: Scribes and Pharisees, who have drank of
the old wine of the law, and the traditions of the elders, do not
desire the new wine of the Gospel, but prefer the former to it: the
ceremonial law may be expressed by old wine, being originally
instituted of God, and acceptable to him; and one part of which lay in
libations of wine, and was of long standing, but now waxen old, and
ready to vanish away; and likewise the traditions of the elders, which
were highly pleasing to the Pharisees, and which pretended to great
antiquity: and of these they might be said to drink, being inured to
them from their youth, and therefore could not like the new
dispensation of the Gospel, neither its doctrines, nor its ordinances;
but preferred their old laws and traditions to them: or rather this
proverb, as used by Christ here, may be considered as intimating the
reason why the disciples did not give into the practices of the
Pharisees, because they had drank of the old wine of the Gospel;
which, as upon some account it may be called new, because of the new
dispensation, fresh discovery and clearer revelation of it; in other
respects it may be said to be old, being what was prepared and
ordained before the world began; and what Adam drank of, in the first
hint and promise of the Messiah; and after him Noah, the preacher of
righteousness; and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to whom the Gospel was
preached before; and even Moses, who wrote and testified of Christ;
and David, and Solomon, and Isaiah, and all the prophets of the former
dispensation: and now the disciples having more largely drank of it,
under the ministry of Christ, could not easily desire the new wine of
the fastings and prayers of the Pharisees, and John's disciples; for
the old wine of the Gospel was much better in their esteem, more
grateful to the taste, more refreshing to their spirits, and more
salutary and healthful, being the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus
Christ. Old wine, with the Jews F8 was wine of three years old, and
was always by them preferred to new: so they descant on those words in
(Deuteronomy 15:16) "because he is well with thee F9, (i.e. the servant,)"
``with thee in food, with thee in drink; for thou shalt not
eat bread of fine flour, and he eat bread of bran; or thou
drink, (Nvy Nyy) , "old wine", and he drink, (vdh Nyy) , "new
And sometimes they use this distinction of old and new wine
proverbially and parabolically, as here F11.
``Rabbi Jose bar Juda, a man of a village in Babylon, used to
say, he that learns of young men, to what is he like? to
him that eateth unripe grapes, and drinks wine out of the
fat: but he; that learns of old men, to what is he like?
to him that eats ripe grapes, and drinks, (Nvy Nyy) , "old
signifying, that the knowledge of old men is more solid, and mature,
and unmixed, and free from dregs of ignorance, than that of young
men: though it follows, that
``Ribbi had used to say, do not look upon the tankard, but
on what is in it; for sometimes there is a new tankard
full of old wine, and an old one in which there is not so
much as new in it:''
signifying, that sometimes young men are full of wisdom and
knowledge, when old men are entirely devoid of them.
F8 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 51. 1. & Gloss. in ib. & Bava Bathra, fol. 98.
1. & Maimon. Hilch. Mecira, c. 17. sect. 6.
F9 T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 22. 1.
F11 Pirke Abot, c. 4. sect. 20.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 5:39". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=lu&chapter=005&verse=039>. 1999.