Acts 2:13
Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
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(13) These men are full of new wine.—Literally, of sweet drink—the word “wine” not being used—stronger and more intoxicating than the lighter and thinner wines that were ordinarily drunk. The Greek word was sometimes used, like the Latin mustum, for the unfermented grape-juice. Here, however, the context shows that wine, in the strict sense of the word, was intended, and the use of the same word in the LXX. of Job 32:19 confirms this meaning. The word for “new wine” in Matthew 9:17, Mark 2:22, is different, but there also (see Notes) fermentation is implied. The words, as has been said above (Note on Acts 2:4), point to a certain appearance of excitement in tone, manner, and words.

2:5-13 The difference in languages which arose at Babel, has much hindered the spread of knowledge and religion. The instruments whom the Lord first employed in spreading the Christian religion, could have made no progress without this gift, which proved that their authority was from God.Others, mocking, said - The word rendered "mocking" means "to cavil, to deride." It occurs in the New Testament in only one other place: Acts 17:32, "And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked." This was an effect that was not confined to the day of Pentecost. There has seldom been a revival of religion, a remarkable manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit, that has not given occasion for profane mockery and merriment. One characteristic of wicked people is to deride those things which are done to promote their own welfare. Hence, the Saviour himself was mocked; and the efforts of Christians to save others have been the subject of derision. Derision, and mockery, and a jeer, have been far more effectual in deterring people from becoming Christians than any attempts at sober argument. God will treat people as they treat him, Psalm 18:26. And hence, he says to the wicked, "Because I have called and ye refused ...but ye have set at naught my counsel; I also will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh," Proverbs 1:24-26.

These men are full of new wine - These men are drunk. In times of a revival of religion men will have some way of accounting for the effects of the gospel, and the way is commonly about as wise and rational as the one adopted on this occasion. "To escape the absurdity of acknowledging their own ignorance, they adopted the theory that strong drink can teach languages" (Dr. McLelland). In modern times it has been usual to denominate such scenes fanaticism, or wildfire, or enthusiasm. When people fail in argument, it is common to attempt to confute a doctrine or bring reproach upon a transaction by "giving it an ill name." Hence, the names Puritan, Quaker, Methodist, etc., were at first given in derision, to account for some remarkable effect of religion on the world. Compare Matthew 11:19; John 7:20; John 8:48. And thus people endeavor to trace revivals to ungoverned and heated passions, and they are regarded as the mere offspring of fanaticism. The friends of revivals should not be discouraged by this; but they should remember that the very first revival of religion was by many supposed to be the effect of a drunken frolic.

New wine - γλεύκους gleukous. This word properly means the juice of the grape which distils before a pressure is applied, and called must. It was sweet wine, and hence, the word in Greek meaning "sweet" was given to it. The ancients, it is said, had the art of preserving their new wine with the special flavor before fermentation for a considerable time, and were in the habit of drinking it in the morning. See Horace, Sat., b. 2:iv. One of the methods in use among the Greeks and Romans of doing this was the following: An amphora or jar was taken and coated with pitch within and without, and was then filled with the juice which flowed from the grapes before they had been fully trodden, and was then corked so as to be air-tight. It was then immersed in a tank of cold water or buried in the sand, and allowed to remain six weeks or two months. The contents after this process were found to remain unchanged for a year, and hence, the name ἀεί γλεύκος aei gleukos - always sweet. The process was not much unlike what is so common now of preserving fruits and vegetables. Sweet wine, which was probably the same as that mentioned here, is also mentioned in the Old Testament, Isaiah 49:26; Amos 9:13.

9-11. Parthians, &c.—Beginning with the farthest east, the Parthians, the enumeration proceeds farther and farther westward till it comes to Judea; next come the western countries, from Cappadocia to Pamphylia; then the southern, from Egypt to Cyrene; finally, apart from all geographical consideration, Cretes and Arabians are placed together. This enumeration is evidently designed to convey an impression of universality [Baumgarten]. Others; viz. the scribes and Pharisees, and also the inhabitants of Jewry and Jerusalem; who not understanding the languages of other nations, might think the apostles did but babble, and talk idly or rudely, when they spake with other tongues.

New wine, or sweet wine; which done, may inebriate; and might be had at that time, though the full vintage was not yet.

Others mocking, said,.... These were the native inhabitants of Jerusalem, the common people; and it may be also the Scribes and Pharisees, who did not understand the languages in which the apostles spake, and therefore derided them both by words and gestures:

these men are full of new wine; the Syriac, version adds, "and are drunk"; a very foolish and impertinent cavil this; there was, at this time of the year, no new wine, just pressed, or in the fat; and if there had been any, and they were full of it, it could never have furnished them with a faculty of speaking with many tongues; men generally lose their tongues by intemperance. They were indeed filled with wine, but not with wine, the juice of the grape, either new or old; but with spiritual wine, with the gifts of the Spirit of God, by which they spake with divers tongues. They might hope this insinuation, that they were drunk with wine, would take and be received, since it was a feasting time, the feast of Pentecost; though, as Peter afterwards observes; it was too early in the day to imagine this to be their case.

Others {g} mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

(g) The word which he uses here signifies a kind of mocking which is reproachful and insolent: and by this reproachful mocking we see that no matter how great and excellent the miracle, the wickedness of man still dares to speak evil against it.

Acts 2:13. ἕτεροι δὲ: although the word is ἕτεροι, not ἄλλοι, it is doubtful how far it indicates a distinct class from those mentioned as speaking in Acts 2:7-12. At the same time not only πάντες, Acts 2:12, but also the behaviour of the ἕτεροι, seems to separate them from the εὐλαβεῖς in Acts 2:5.—χλευάζοντες: but stronger with the intensifying διά than the simple verb in Acts 17:32; used in classical Greek, Dem., Plato, and in Polybius—here only in N.T., not found in LXX, although the simple verb is used (see below).—γλεύκους: if the rendering R.V. “new wine” is adopted, the ridicule was indeed ill-timed, as at the Pentecost there was no new wine strictly speaking, the earliest vintage being in August (cf. Chrysostom and Oecumenius, who see in such a charge the excessive folly and the excessive malignity of the scoffers). Neither the context nor the use of the word elsewhere obliges us to suppose that it is used here of unfermented wine. Its use in Lucian, Ep., Sat., xxii. (to which reference is made by Wendt and Page), and also in LXX, Job 32:19, ὥσπερ ἀσκὸς γλεύκους ζέων δεδεμένος, points to a wine still fermenting, intoxicating, while the definition of Hesychius, τὸ ἀπόσταγμα τῆς σταφυλῆς πρὶν πατηθῇ, refers its lusciousness to the quality of its make (from the purest juice of the grape), and not of necessity to the brevity of its age, see B.D. “Wine”. It would therefore be best to render “sweet wine,” made perhaps of a specially sweet small grape, cf. Genesis 49:11. “The extraordinary candour of Christ’s biographers must not be forgotten. Notice also such sentences as ‘but some doubted,’ and in the account of Pentecost, ‘these men are full of new wine’. Such observations are wonderfully true to human nature, but no less wonderfully opposed to any ‘accretion’ theory”: Romanes, Thoughts on Religion, p. 156.

13. Others mocking, &c.] Better, But others mocking said; They are full of new wine. There is no Greek for the words these men, as is shewn by the italics of the A. V.

The sight presented to the bystanders on this occasion was certainly unusual. We cannot but believe that the disciples would be in a fervour of excitement and enthusiasm, and the people who composed the several groups were likely to be no less moved by the account to which they listened in their various languages, coming from the lips of men whom some in the throng recognized for Galilæans, and whose garb and manner would be like that of the ordinary natives of Jerusalem. The excitement exhibited on both sides will account for the remark of the mockers.

new wine] Lit. sweet wine, defined as made of the drippings from the clusters before the grapes were trodden.

In the above description of the events of the day of Pentecost, the meaning which St Luke intends to convey is very plain in every respect, except that we cannot with certainty gather from it whether the disciples, as well as speaking new languages, also understood what they uttered. It would seem most reasonable to conclude that the Holy Spirit with the one power also bestowed the other, and this may have been so in the case of the disciples at Pentecost, even though it was not so at other times and under other circumstances. The only Scripture which bears upon the question is St Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 12:10 to 1 Corinthians 14:30). There among the gifts of the Spirit the Apostle enumerates “divers kinds of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 12:31), and as what might be a separate gift not included in the first, “the interpretation of tongues,” (1 Corinthians 12:10). He mentions in the next chapter the tongues of angels as well as of men (1 Corinthians 13:1), but not in such an enumeration as to connect the words with our enquiry. It should be borne in mind that all which the Apostle says in the Epistle is addressed to the Corinthians, not as missionary labourers but as members of a settled Christian Church, and he is instructing them what the best gifts are after which they should seek. Now their labours and utterances were to be among their own people and mostly among those already professing Christianity. St Paul repeatedly dwells on “the church” as the scene of their labours, which expression without necessarily always implying an edifice (which however here seems to be its meaning, see 1 Corinthians 14:23; 1 Corinthians 14:27) indicates a Christian community. The Apostle tells them that gifts of tongues are not for these. Tongues are for a sign not to them that believe but to the unbelieving. To speak with tongues was therefore not the best gift to be desired for the Church at Corinth. Yet we can fancy that some members longed for such a power, and it is to such as these that the Apostle’s remarks are directed. In such a congregation as theirs, he tells them, “he that speaketh in a tongue, speaketh not unto men, but unto God” (1 Corinthians 14:2), meaning to teach them that if a man had this gift he would yet profit his neighbours nothing, for they would not be men of a foreign speech like the crowd at Pentecost, or like those in foreign lands which the Christian missionaries must visit. Next he adds “he that speaketh in a tongue edifieth himself” (1 Corinthians 14:4), for he feels the power and tells of the great works of God. The Apostle could wish “they all spake with tongues,” if, that is, there were an advantage to the Church therein, but under their circumstances he rather wishes the gift of prophecy, i.e. power of exposition of the Scriptures and preaching, for them. We next come to those sentences which bear directly upon our enquiry (1 Corinthians 14:13), “Let him that speaketh in a tongue pray that he may interpret.” There were then in the Corinthian Church examples of that division of these closely connected gifts which in the enumeration of spiritual gifts the Apostle seems to imply, some spake with tongues who could not interpret, and others could interpret who did not speak with tongues. And the next words confirm this view, “If I pray in a tongue my spirit prayeth,” (and in this way I edify myself,) “but my understanding is unfruitful.” Therefore the Apostle desires that form of power for himself which in a congregation shall exercise both spirit and understanding. He himself bad this gift in great fulness, but in the Church it is not that which he would desire to use, lest the unlearned should not be able to say Amen to his giving of thanks. For in the ordinary church-assembly if the gift of tongues were exercised, it would seem madness to those Corinthian unbelievers who came in, when they heard a speaker uttering a foreign language to a congregation who were all Greeks, and their minister a Greek likewise. St Paul therefore ordains that if any man speak in a tongue in the Church, he must have an interpreter or else must keep silence. From which ordinance also it appears that there were those who, though endowed with the gift of speaking with tongues, were yet not able to interpret to the congregation the words which they were empowered to speak.

In these passages we have all the references to this gift of the Holy Ghost which seem to help us to appreciate in some degree what its character was. Whatever may have been the case at Pentecost, certainly in the Corinthian Church the power of speaking seems not always to have had with it the power of interpretation, though in some cases it had, and all were to pray for the one to be given with the other. Yet in this whole account it is to be borne in mind that we have no indication that such gifts were frequent in Corinth, but only that the members of the Church longed to possess them. From this wish the Apostle dissuades them, because their duty was to minister to believers rather than to unbelievers, whereas on those occasions where the gift was most markedly bestowed, as related by the author of the Acts, viz. at the house of Cornelius, and in the heathen and multilingual maritime city of Ephesus, as well as at the outpouring on Pentecost, there was the probability of having an audience on whom such a display of God’s gifts would be likely to produce the same kind of effect which had been produced in Jerusalem on the first manifestation.

Acts 2:13. Χλευάζοντες, mocking) The world begins with ridicule; then afterwards it proceeds to questioning, ch. Acts 4:7; to threats, Acts 2:17; to imprisoning, ch. Acts 5:18; to inflicting stripes, Acts 2:40; to murder, ch. Acts 7:58.—γλεύχους) filled with must or sweet wine, of the past or present year, or with any other strong drink.—μεμεστωμένοι, filled) Natural men are wont to attribute supernatural effects to natural causes, betraying thereby their ignorance and shamelessness. Comp. ch. Acts 26:24, Festus to Paul, “Thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.”

Verse 13. - But others for others, A.V. ; they are filled with for these men are full of, A.V. New wine; more literally, sweet wine. These mockers, men incapable of serious and devout appreciation of the work of the Holy Spirit, attributed the tension of feeling which they saw, and the unintelligible words which they heard, to the effect of wine. So Festus said," Paul, thou art mad." So the unbelieving Jews of Pontus and Asia thought it strange that the Christians should live holily, and spake evil of them in consequence (1 Peter 4:4, 14). So Ishmael mocked Isaac (Genesis 21:9); and so in all times "they that are born after the flesh do persecute them that are born after the Spirit" (Galatians 4:29). Acts 2:13Others (ἕτεροι)

Of a different class. The first who commented on the wonder did so curiously, but with no prejudice. Those who now spoke did so in a hostile spirit. See on Acts 2:4.

Mocking (διαχλευάζοντες; so the best texts)

From χλεύη, a joke. Only here in New Testament.

New wine (γλεύκους)

Lit., "sweet wine." Of course intoxicating.

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