The A.V. of 1611 renders Mt 23:24, "Ye blind guides! which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." There can be little doubt, as dean Trench has supposed, that this obscure phrase is due to a printer's error, and that the true reading is "strain out." Such is the sense of the Greek διϋλίζειν, as used by Plutarch (Op. Mo. p. 692 D; Symp. Probl. 6, 7, § 1) and Dioscorides (2, 86), viz. to clarify by passing through a strainer (ὑλιστήρ). "Strain out" is the reading of Tyndale's (1539), Cranmer's (1539), the Bishops' (1568), and the Geneva (1557) Bible, and "strain at," which is neither correct nor intelligible, could only have crept into our A.V., and been allowed to remain there, by an oversight. Dean Trench gives an interesting illustration of the passage from a private letter written to him by a recent traveler in North Africa, who says: "In a ride from Tangier to Tetuan, I observed that a Moorish soldier who accompanied me, when he drank, always unfolded the end of his turban and placed it over the mouth of his bota drinking through the muslin, to strain out the gnats, whose larva swarm in the water of that country" (On the Auth. Vers. (f the N.T. p. 172, 173). If one might conjecture the cause which led, even erroneously, to the substitution of at for out, it is perhaps to be found in the marginal note of the Geneva Version, which explains the verse thus: "Ye stay at that which is nothing, and let pass that which is of greater importance." There is a monograph on the passage itself by Rudorf, De Gravioribus in Lege a Pharisoeis Proeteritis (Lips. 1748). SEE GNAT.
Among the ancient Egyptians wine was kept in open vessels, as appears from the ladles used for serving it out; and hence small colanders were needed for freeing it from the insects which it attracted. Such strainers of bronze have been found at Thebes, about five inches in diameter (Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. 1, 185).