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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 9 - Verse 17

Verse 17. Neither do men put new wine, etc. The third illustration was taken from wine put into bottles. Bottles, in eastern nations, were made, and are still, of skins of beasts. Generally the skin was taken entire from a sheep or a goat, and, properly prepared, was filled with wine or water. They are still used, because, in crossing deserts of sand, they have no other conveyances but camels, or other beasts of burden. It would be difficult for them to carry glass bottles or kegs on them. They therefore fill two skins, and fasten them together, and lay them across the back of a camel, and thus carry wine or water to a great distance. They were of course of different sizes, as the skins of kids, goats, or oxen might be used. Bruce describes particularly a bottle which he saw in Arabia, made in this manner, of an ox-skin, which would hold sixty gallons, and two of which were a load for a camel. By long usage, however, they of course became tender, and would be easily ruptured. New wine put into them would ferment, and swell and burst them open. New skins or bottles would yield to the fermenting wine, and be strong enough to hold it from bursting. So, says Christ, there is a fitness or propriety of things. It is not fit that my doctrine should be attached to, or connected with, the old and corrupt doctrines of the Pharisees. New things should be put together, and made to match.

This account of eastern bottles may illustrate the following passages in the Bible. The Gibeonites took "wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up," Jos 9:4. "My belly is ready to burst, like new bottles," Job 32:19. "I am become like a bottle in the smoke," Ps 119:83; i.e., like a bottle of skin hung up in a tent filled with smoke. The preceding cut is copied from a fragment of the Antiquities of Herculaneum, and represents a young woman pouring wine from a bottle into a cup.

{y} "else" Job 32:19

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