The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleMatthew 23:24
Ye blind guides…
As in (Matthew 23:16)
who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel:
the Syriac and Persic
versions read the words in the plural number, gnats and camels. The
Jews had a law, which forbid them the eating of any creeping thing,
(Leviticus 11:41) and of this they were strictly observant, and would not be
guilty of the breach of it for ever so much.
``One that eats a flea, or a gnat; they say F16 is (rmwm) , "an
one that has changed his religion, and is no more to be reckoned as
one of them. Hence they very carefully strained their liquors, lest
they should transgress the above command, and incur the character of
an apostate; and at least, the penalty of being beaten with forty
stripes, save one; for,
``whoever eats a whole fly, or a whole gnat, whether alive
or dead, was to be beaten on account of a creeping flying
Among the accusations Haman is said to bring against them to
Ahasuerus, and the instances he gives of their laws being different
from the king's, this one F18; that
``if a fly falls into the cup of one of them, (whtwvw wqrwz) ,
"he strains it, and drinks it"; but if my lord the king
should touch the cup of one of them, he would throw it to
the ground, and would not drink of it.''
Maimonides says F19,
``He that strains wine, or vinegar, or strong liquor, and
eats "Jabchushin" (a sort of small flies found in wine
cellars F20, on account of which they strained their
wine), or gnats, or worms, which he hath strained off, is
to be beaten on account of the creeping things of the
water, or on account of the creeping flying things, and
the creeping things of the water.''
Moreover, it is said F21,
``a man might not pour his strong liquors through
a strainer, by the light (of a candle or lamp), lest he
should separate and leave in the top of the strainer (some
creeping thing), and it should fail again into the cup,
and he should transgress the law, in (Leviticus 11:41) .''
To this practice Christ alluded here; and so very strict and careful
were they in this matter, that to strain at a gnat, and swallow a
camel, became at length a proverb, to signify much solicitude about
little things, and none about greater. These men would not, on any
consideration, be guilty of such a crime, as not to pay the tithe of
mint, anise, and cummin, and such like herbs and seeds; and yet made
no conscience of doing justice, and showing mercy to men, or of
exercising faith in God, or love to him. Just as many hypocrites,
like them, make a great stir, and would appear very conscientious
and scrupulous, about some little trifling things, and yet stick
not, at other times, to commit the grossest enormities, and most
scandalous sins in life.
F16 T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 26. 2. & Horaiot, fol. 11. 1.
F17 Mainon. Hilch. Maacolot Asurot, c. 2. sect. 22.
F18 T. Bab. Megilla, fol, 13. 2. Vid. T. Hietos. Sota, fol. 17. 1.
F19 Ubi supra, (Mainon. Hilch. Maacolot Asurot, c. 2.) sect. 20.
F20 Gloss. in T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 67. 1.
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 Matthew 23:24". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=mt&chapter=023&verse=024>. 1999.