Wednesday, 3 November 2021
Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.” Acts 2:13
Note: You can listen to today’s introduction courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).
Those who heard the Spirit speak in their own tongues were “amazed and perplexed.” They struggled to understand what was happening. However, Luke now continues, referring to “Others.”
These would probably be those who were from, and dwelt in, Jerusalem itself. They would hear the languages, and either not perceive the subtle differences in dialect (such as those from various areas of Judea noted in verse 2:9), or would think the other languages were simply gibberish. Of these would probably be the scribes and Pharisees and others who spent much of their time in Jerusalem. Without grasping the magnitude of the event occurring before them, and thinking it was all a put on, they were “mocking.”
The word is found only here and in Acts 17:32. It properly means “to joke.” As such, it speaks of using barbed humor and jeers that mocks others. With this attitude, they “said, ‘They are full of new wine.’”
In these words, is a word found only here in Scripture, gleukos. It is a word akin to glukus, meaning “sweet.” One can immediately see the basis of the word glucose. Thus, this is a type of sweet wine which uses fresh juice, but with a high level of sugars making it easy to drink copiously and thus it would be highly inebriating. It is probably akin to the wine made today by Manischewitz.
In other words, these “others” are saying that the disciples were all drunk and simply talking nonsensical gibberish. As they were at a pilgrim feast, this would probably not be all that uncommon. Drinking alcohol was not only an acceptable part of rejoicing at these feasts, it was specifically referred to as something completely expected of them. The Lord, through Moses, says this in Deuteronomy 14 –
“And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household.” Deuteronomy 14:26
Moses, speaking of the times when the people ate their tithes – which was during the pilgrim feasts – refers to two separate intoxicants: yayin, or fermented (alcohol based) wine, and shekar, or highly intoxicating liquor. It is this allowance for the rejoicing of the pilgrims that the “others” of this verse thought was the basis for what was occurring. Hence, they were mocking the pilgrims as would be common at any such gathering when such visitors couldn’t hold their drink.
Life application: This is a descriptive verse. It prescribes nothing. But what it describes is the assumed conduct of pilgrims to Jerusalem by some who saw their speaking in tongues. A miracle was taking place. And yet, they did not perceive it as such. This is what Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians –
“In the law it is written:
‘With men of other tongues and other lips
I will speak to this people;
And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,’
says the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 14:21
Those who mocked heard, but they did not “hear.” It will take explaining to them the magnitude and meaning of what was being done before them. This is what will occur in the verses ahead. Until then, a couple things of interest can be considered from the evaluation of this short verse.
First, it was common and acceptable for the pilgrims to drink alcohol at the pilgrim feasts (when the tithes were eaten). The common teaching that the Jews only drank wine cut by water so that it was highly diluted is not true. Moses’ words in the law concerning the allowances at the pilgrim feasts, when the people came to eat their tithes, is explicit and it is easily understood. They were to enjoy the eating of their tithes in the presence of the Lord and to do so with the blessing of fermented drink. As the psalm says, “Wine that gladdens the heart of man” (Psalm 104:15, BSB).
Secondly, it is quite evident that, for whatever reason, some who saw the miraculous tongues being spoken did not understand. As it was the Pharisees and other leaders that purposefully had Christ crucified, it may be that they were denied understanding the miraculous nature of what occurred in order to cause them to consider the miracle differently than the others. This is speculation, but even after having what occurred openly explained, it is quite apparent throughout the rest of Acts that there were many who did not believe and who continued to work against the early church.
Let us be careful to hear the word when it is spoken, and then let us apply it to our lives. If we hear the word and don’t understand it, let us think on it, search for an answer in a reliable commentary or from a trusted scholar, and then let us continue to consider its meaning. May we never mock the word that is heard but respond to it with care – applying its precepts to our lives.
Lord God, Your word is precious. Thank You for it. Fill us with the desire to read it and contemplate its truths all the days of our lives. Amen.