Did You Know?
Why did Jesus say that “no one puts new wine into old wineskins”?
▪ It was common in Bible times to store wine in animal skins. (Joshua 9:13) Skin bottles were made of the complete hides of such domestic animals as kids or goats. To make a skin bottle, the dead animal’s head and feet were cut off and the carcass was carefully skinned to avoid opening its belly. The hide was then tanned and all the openings were sewed up except the neck or a leg of the animal, which would be left unsewed to serve as the bottle’s neck. This opening could be closed with a stopper or tied with a string.
In time, the skin would become hard and lose its elasticity. Old wineskins, therefore, were inappropriate for storing new wine, which continues to ferment. Such fermentation would likely burst the hardened leather of old wineskins. New skins, on the other hand, were more supple and could withstand the pressure caused by continued fermentation of new wine. For this reason, Jesus stated a fact that was common knowledge in his day. He spoke of what would happen if anyone does put new wine in old bottles: “Then the new wine will burst the wineskins, and it will be spilled out and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”—Luke 5:37, 38.
Who were the “dagger men” mentioned in connection with Paul’s arrest by the Romans?
▪ According to the Acts account, during a tumult at the temple in Jerusalem, a Roman military commander took the apostle Paul into custody, believing that he was the leader of a seditious band of “four thousand dagger men.” (Acts 21:30-38) What is known about these dagger men?
The Greek word for “dagger men” is derived from the Latin sicarii, which means “users of the sica,” or dagger. First-century historian Flavius Josephus describes the Sicarii as a band of fanatic Jewish patriots, unrelenting enemies of Rome, who engaged in organized political killings.
Josephus recounts that the Sicarii “slew men in the daytime, and in the midst of the city; this they did chiefly at the festivals, when they mingled themselves among the multitude, and concealed daggers under their garments, with which they stabbed those that were their enemies.” When their victims fell down dead, the Sicarii feigned indignation at the killings and escaped detection. Josephus adds that the Sicarii later played a leading role in the Jewish revolt against Rome in 66-70 C.E. Thus, the Roman commander would be anxious to detain the supposed leader of such a group.
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An old wineskin
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An artist’s rendition of a dagger man