Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Matthew 23:24
For centuries the Jews, like their surrounding Semitic neighbors, enjoyed making and hearing puns, or plays on words. …
In his condemnation of the inconsistency of scribes and Pharisees, Jesus charged them with “straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel” (Matt. 23:24).
Since in Aramaic the word for “gnat” or “louse” is qualma’ and the word for “camel” is gamla’, the pun provides added piquancy to the picturesque speech of Jesus: he is describing a Pharisee who, in view of Lev. 11:41 ff., which forbids the eating of things that swarm or crawl on the earth, is careful to strain out a qualma’ that may have fallen into his wine, but is quite unconcerned about gulping down a whole gamla’!
Metzger, Bruce M. 1983. The New Testament: Its Background, Growth, and Content. 2nd ed, enlarged. Nashville,TN: Abingdon Press., pg 138