Accidental fermentation of new wine prevented by new clean wineskins (Matthew 9:17)

“Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17)

“The common explanation of this custom is erroneous and insufficient (vis., that new skin-bags were used in order to resist the expanding pressure of the carbon dioxide (CO₂) gas made by fermentation). For it cannot have been customary to put wine during fermentation into any kind of bottles, either new or old, because fermentation, when intentional, was continued on in the wine-vat (Greek, hupoleenion; Latin, lacus); and when, by mistake, fermenting wine was poured into skin-bags drawn tight, the destruction of the bag, no matter how new and strong, would certainly be the result. [See Note on Job 32:19.]”

“For I am full of words;
The spirit within me compels me.
Indeed my belly is like wine that has no vent;
It is ready to burst like new wineskins.” (Job 32:18-19)

“The facts stated by [Jesus] the Saviour can only be understood in the light of the efforts used by the ancients to prevent grape-juice from fermenting, by straining the juice in order to free it from much of its glutinous material, and then bottling it with sulphur fumigation; or by boiling the juice, which aborts all incipient fermentation, and then sealing it inside bags or other air-tight containers. Obviously, to make these precautions effective, the wine-bags themselves must have been free from ferment; and there was no other way to ensure the absence of [accidental] fermentation besides using perfectly new skin-bags. If old bags had been used, then some of the decayed albuminous matter adhering to their sides, by the action of air, must have become changed into a leaven or ferment (Hebrew, seor); or, by long wear and heat, thus it began fermenting, would subsequently burst the skin, and be spilled and ‘lost’. But if the wine was poured into bags made of skin never used before, then no tendency for fermentation would be present, and both the wine and the bags would be preserved,—the wine preserved from fermentation, and the bags preserved from bursting. Otherwise these would surely be the results from the expanding pressure of carbon dioxide (CO₂) gas made by fermentation trying to find a vent.”

Temperance Bible-Commentary, p. 265, Matt. 9:17 (The wording is updated to newer English.)

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