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Smith's Bible Dictionary

a species of mosquito mentioned only in the proverbial expression used by our Saviour in (Matthew 23:21)

ATS Bible Dictionary

A small winged stinging insect, a mosquito, spoken of in the proverbial expression, Matthew 23:24, "Ye strain at a gnat, and swallow in a camel," which should read, as it did in the first English translations, "Ye strain out a gnat," etc. The expression alludes to the Jewish custom of filtering wine, for fear of swallowing any insect forbidden by the law as unclean, Le 11:23; and is applied to those who are superstitiously anxious in avoiding small faults, yet do not scruple to commit great sins.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
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. R.V., "sand-flies"), were a species of gnat.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) A blood-sucking dipterous fly, of the genus Culex, undergoing a metamorphosis in water. The females have a proboscis armed with needlelike organs for penetrating the skin of animals. These are wanting in the males. In America they are generally called mosquitoes. See Mosquito.

2. (n.) Any fly resembling a Culex in form or habits; esp., in America, a small biting fly of the genus Simulium and allies, as the buffalo gnat, the black fly, etc.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

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 Exodus 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."


Alfred Ely Day

2971. konops -- a gnat
... a gnat. Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine Transliteration: konops Phonetic Spelling:
(ko'-nopes) Short Definition: a gnat, mosquito Definition: a gnat, mosquito ...
// - 6k
Strong's Hebrew
3654. ken -- gnat, gnats, a gnat swarm
... 3653b, 3654. ken. 3655 . gnat, gnats, a gnat swarm. Transliteration:
ken Phonetic Spelling: (kane) Short Definition: gnats. Word ...
/hebrew/3654.htm - 6k

His Preaching.
... At length, some one having proposed this question to him as he was speaking, Why
a gnat has been so formed, that though it is a small creature, and has six feet ...
/.../unknown/recognitions of clement /chapter viii his preaching.htm

Cavils of the Philosophers.
... And then one of them asked, Wherefore it was that a gnat, although it be so small,
and has six feet, has wings also; while an elephant, the largest of beasts ...
/.../unknown/the clementine homilies/chapter x cavils of the philosophers.htm

... hypocrite. There was another evidence of an hypocrite which was equally good,
namely, that he strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel. ...
// sermons volume 5 1859/hypocrisy.htm

... And are not you, too, a work of God? The Lord shall rejoice in His works, even to
the tiniest gnat that dances in the sun. Is the Lord rejoicing in you? ...
// sermons/sermon xvii life.htm

... Attend, beloved. Who hath arranged the limbs of a flea and a gnat, that
they should have their proper order, life, motion? Consider ...
/.../augustine/exposition on the book of psalms/psalm cxlviii.htm

Matt. xxiii. 14
... despising bodily cleansings, but very great vengeance from not regarding the
purifications of the soul, which is virtue, He called these "a gnat," for they are ...
/.../homilies on the gospel of saint matthew/homily lxxiii matt xxiii 14.htm

Introductory Letter.
... these than on the Gospel! Will not Christ say to them: "Straining at a gnat,
and swallowing a camel"? Besides all this, most reverend ...
/.../luther/first principles of the reformation/introductory letter.htm

A Christmas Question
... As well might a gnat seek to drink in the ocean, as a finite creature to comprehend
the Eternal God. A God whom we could understand would be no God. ...
/.../spurgeon/spurgeons sermons volume 6 1860/a christmas question.htm

The Powers of Darkness
... We read in the li chao chuan,[6] or Divine Panorama, that "every living being, no
matter whether it be a man or an animal, a bird or a quadruped, a gnat or a ...
/.../cable/the fulfilment of a dream of pastor hsis/chapter xii the powers of.htm

Fun and Mischief. His Little Cousin and the "Gnats. " the Aurora ...
... We thought we would do him a valuable service by taking him down a little, so we
asked him if he had ever seen a singular kind of gnat, which we described. ...
/.../chapter iv fun and mischief.htm

Gnat (1 Occurrence)
... 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 ...
/g/gnat.htm - 10k

Lice (4 Occurrences)
... In Southern Europe they cause the "three-day fever" or "papataci." As stated under
GNAT (which see), there is little ground other than the authority of the ...
/l/lice.htm - 10k

Camel (13 Occurrences)
... To strain at (rather, out) a gnat and swallow a camel was also a proverbial expression
(Matthew 23:24), used with reference to those who were careful to avoid ...
/c/camel.htm - 21k

Flea (2 Occurrences)
... 1 Samuel 26:20); kinnim (Exodus 8:16), "lice," the Revised Version, margin "sandflies"
or "fleas"; Septuagint skniphes, probably best rendered "gnat"; see GNAT...
/f/flea.htm - 10k

Strain (5 Occurrences)
... stran (diulizo, "to strain off," "to filter"): Matthew 23:24, "Ye blind guides,
that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel" The imagery is that of a ...
/s/strain.htm - 11k

Gnashing (10 Occurrences)

/g/gnashing.htm - 9k

Needle (4 Occurrences)
... This saying ought to be accepted in the same sense as Matthew 23:24, "Ye blind guides,
that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel!" Christ used them to ...
/n/needle.htm - 10k

Guides (24 Occurrences)
... NIV). Matthew 23:24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow
/g/guides.htm - 13k

Gulp (1 Occurrence)
... 3. (n.) A disgorging. Multi-Version Concordance Gulp (1 Occurrence). Matthew
23:24 You blind guides, straining out the gnat while you gulp down the camel! (WEY) ...
/g/gulp.htm - 6k

Gnats (5 Occurrences)

/g/gnats.htm - 8k

Bible Concordance
Gnat (1 Occurrence)

Matthew 23:24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel!



Related Terms

Lice (4 Occurrences)

Camel (13 Occurrences)

Flea (2 Occurrences)

Strain (5 Occurrences)

Gnashing (10 Occurrences)

Needle (4 Occurrences)

Guides (24 Occurrences)

Gulp (1 Occurrence)

Gnats (5 Occurrences)

Insects (17 Occurrences)

Flies (16 Occurrences)

Swallowing (6 Occurrences)

Sand (40 Occurrences)

Straining (4 Occurrences)

Blind (91 Occurrences)

Swallow (38 Occurrences)

Games (2 Occurrences)

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