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Gnat

Gnat [S]

only in Matthew 23:24 , a small two-winged stinging fly of the genus Culex, which includes mosquitoes. Our Lord alludes here to the gnat in a proverbial expression probably in common use, "who strain out the gnat;" the words in the Authorized Version, "strain at a gnat," being a mere typographical error, which has been corrected in the Revised Version. The custom of filtering wine for this purpose was common among the Jews. It was founded on Leviticus 11:23 . It is supposed that the "lice," Exodus 8:16 (marg. RSV, "sand-flies"), were a species of gnat.

These dictionary topics are from
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

[S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

Bibliography Information

Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Gnat". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .

Gnat, [E]

a species of mosquito mentioned only in the proverbial expression used by our Saviour in ( Matthew 23:21 ) [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary


Bibliography Information

Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Gnat,'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.

GNAT

nat (in English Versions of the Bible, only in Matthew 23:24, konops. In Exodus 8:16, for English Versions of the Bible "lice," one of the plagues of Egypt, kinnim, kinniym, or kinnam, we find in the Revised Version, margin "sand flies" or "fleas" (Gesenius "gnat"; Mandelkern "culex"). For kemo ken (Isaiah 51:6), English Versions of the Bible "in like manner," Septuagint hosper tauta, Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) sicut haec, the Revised Version, margin has "like gnats" since ken, elsewhere "thus," may here be taken to be a singular of the form kinnim, which occurs in Ex 8):

In the New Testament passage, the difference between the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) should be noted. "Strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel" is changed to "strain out the gnat and swallow the camel," the reference being to the inconsistency of the Jewish religious leaders in taking extraordinary pains in some things, as in the preparation of food, while leaving weightier matters unattended to.

In Isaiah 51:6, the suggestion of the Revised Version, margin, "They that dwell therein shall die like gnats," seems a decided improvement on the "shall die in like manner" of English Versions of the Bible, especially as ken, "thus" (see supra), is a repetition of kemo, whose meaning is practically the same, "in like manner" being the rendering in English Versions of the Bible of kemo ken.

As to the creatures, kinnim, of the Egyptian plague, there is little choice between "lice" of English Versions of the Bible and the others suggested, except as we may be influenced by the Septuagint rendering, skniphes, which may mean "gnats" or "mosquitoes."

See FLEA; LICE.

Alfred Ely Day


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'GNAT'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.