the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary
κωνωψ , Matthew 23:24 , a small-winged insect, comprehending a genus of the order of diptera. In those hot countries, as Servius remarks, speaking of the east, gnats and flies are very apt to fail into wine, if it be not carefully covered; and passing the liquor through a strainer, that no gnat or part of one might remain, became a proverb for exactness about little matters. This may help us to understand that passage, Matthew 23:24 , where the proverbial expression of carefully straining out a little fly from the liquor to be drunk, and yet swallowing a camel, intimates, that the scribes and Pharisees affected to scruple little things, and yet disregarded those of the greatest moment.
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Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Gnat'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​wtd/​g/gnat.html. 1831-2.