[Heb., ken, plural, kin·nimʹ; Gr., koʹnops].
Any of a variety of small two-winged insects, many of which are bloodsuckers. The Hebrew word kin·nimʹ (or, kin·namʹ), when used with reference to the third plague visited upon Egypt (Ex 8:16-18; Ps 105:31), has been variously rendered “gnats” (NW, Ro, RS), “mosquitoes” (AT), and “lice” (KJ); “sand flies” and “fleas” have been given as alternate readings.—AS (Ex 8:16, ftn).
At Isaiah 51:6 the Hebrew term ken is translated “gnat” (NW) and “gnats” (RS; AS, ftn). Ken here is evidently the singular form of kin·nimʹ (or, kin·namʹ) and not another Hebrew word of the same form meaning “the right manner, this manner, thus”; the word preceding it in the text, kemohʹ, by itself means “like” or “in like manner.”
The only other reference to the gnat in Scripture is in Jesus’ denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees for straining out the gnat but gulping down the camel. The Jewish religious leaders were sticklers for little things, filtering their beverages so as not to contract ceremonial defilement by swallowing a gnat. (Le 11:21-24) However, their disregarding the weightier matters of the Law was comparable to swallowing a camel, likewise a ceremonially unclean animal.—Le 11:4; Mt 23:23, 24.