Acts 2:12-13 (ESV):

12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Why did some of the witnesses make fun of the disciples and compare them to being drunk on new wine? What was so funny? Why "filled with a new wine"? Why not "crazy" or another adjective?

  • Pentecost = new wine festival
    – R. Emery
    Jul 17, 2022 at 21:20

2 Answers 2


The reactions of the people in Acts 2:12, 13 is described using three verbs: "amazed", "perplexed", followed by "mocking". There are at least two possible explanations for this:

  1. At least some of the listeners did not hear the disciples' words in their own language and simply perceived them as babbling in nonsense. This possibility raises all sorts of interpretive and narrative conflicts ("each one heard in his own language", V6) and troubles that it is probably untrue.
  2. The listening crowd heard something too good to be true and dismissed it as rubbish. There is significant precedent for this reaction such as:
  • Gen 6 - I am sure that many many times during Noah's 120 years preparing for the flood that he was roundly mocked as mad by many observes.
  • Gen 18:11, 12 - And Abraham and Sarah were already old and well along in years; Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. So she laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?”
  • Gen 19:14 - So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, "Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!" But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
  • Mark 3:20, 21 - Then Jesus went home,d and once again a crowd gathered, so that He and His disciples could not even eat. When His family heard about this, they went out to take custody of Him, saying, “He is out of His mind.”
  • John 10:19, 20 - Again there was division among the Jews because of Jesus’ message. Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and insane. Why would you listen to Him?”
  • Acts 12:14, 15 - When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that she forgot to open the gate, but ran inside and announced, “Peter is standing at the gate!” “You are out of your mind,” they told her. But when she kept insisting it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”

... and so forth! I am sure there are more examples that could be added to this short list.

Note the consistent pattern that supremely good news creates the same reaction as in Acts 2, namely, amazement, perplexity, mocking, usually in that order!

Therefore, I suggest that what happened at Pentecost in Acts 2 was so astonishing that it provoked amazement, perplexity, mocking, with the always-at-hand explanation of the disciples being drunk.

  • If I heard people talking in multiple languages, I would not think them to be drunk. Feb 2, 2023 at 2:38

Was reading this and I conclude the hearers, being perplexed were confused how they could all be hearing in their own tongues. These hearers in their bewilderment seemed drunk to others.

Peter does not say, ‘we are not drunk’, but ‘these men are not drunk.’ The men were on a pilgrimage feast to Jerusalem. Women were in the upper room, speaking in tongues, and not accused of being drunk. The perplexed, confused, bewildered hearers will be the ones appearing drunk. Once they figure out they are all hearing in their own native tongue, “but so is everyone else that I don’t understand.” They become like babblers to one another, seemingly drunk and incoherent to each other trying to discuss their understanding. The disciples are in unison, coherent, not seeming drunk or babbling to anyone, the supernatural filling of the spirit, and Peter thus uxplains this is what was spoken of in Joel, to straighten out the mockers. And many are brought to faith I think, even the one s mocking at first.

I don’t have a Greek background and could be totally wrong. I Ann just reading from context. I always read it the other way until today. Had to rethink it. This alternate, unusual reading is making more sense to me with understanding I have gleaned of holiday and proximity of dumbfounded hearers to accusation of drunkenness.


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