(“Straining out a gnat” explaned below.)
Noah was standing at the gangplank checking off the pairs of animals when he saw three camels trying to get on board.
“Wait a minute!” he said. “Two each is the limit. One of you will have to stay behind.”
“It won’t be me,” said the first camel. “I’m the camel whose back is broken by the last straw.”
“I’m the one people swallow while straining out a gnat,” said the second.
“And I am the one that shall pass through the eye of a needle sooner than a rich man shall enter heaven.” said the third.
“Well, I guess you had better all come in,” said Noah, “the world is going to need all of you.”
Have you ever heard the expression, “Straining out a gnat while swallowing a camel?” I never knew what the heck that was supposed to mean until today.
When I came upon the joke in the middle of today’s issue I determined to do a little research and solve this mystery once and for all.
As you might have guessed, it has a biblical origin. In Matthew 23 Jesus was chastising the Pharisees for observing the letter of the law but not
practicing the spirit of the law.
He said, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices, mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected
the more important matters of the law-justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind
guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”
The important thing to understand is that according to the laws of Moses certain things were forbidden to eat, like insects, pigs and camels, among
So Jesus was comparing the Pharisees devotion to the minutia of the law while ignoring the large picture to straining one minuscule little insect out
of water or wine so as not to contaminate it with a “forbidden” animal, and then drinking that wine with a camel steak.
Anyway, it seems to make the joke just a little bit funnier if you actually understand it.
Received from Joke du Jour.
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