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American Tract Society Bible Dictionary

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The vine being natural to the soil of Canaan and its vicinity, wine was much used as a beverage, especially at festivals, Esther 1:7 5:6 Daniel 5:1-4 John 2:3 . As one of the staple products of the Holy Land, it was employed for drink-offerings in the temple service, Exodus 20:26 Numbers 15:4-10; it was included among the "first-fruits," Deuteronomy 18:4 , and was used in the celebration of the Passover, and subsequently of the Lord's supper, Matthew 26:27-29 . Together with corn and oil it denoted all temporal supplies, Psalm 4:7 Hosea 2:8 Joel 2:19 .

The word "wine" in our Bible is the translation of as many as ten different Hebrew words and two Greek words, most of which occur in but a few instances. The two most frequently used, Yayin and its Greek equivalent Oinos, are general terms for all sorts of wine, Nehemiah 5:18 . Without minute details on this subject, we may observe that "wine" in Scripture denotes,

1. The pure juice of the grape, fermented, and therefore more or less intoxicating, but free from drugs of any kind, and not strengthened by distilled liquors.

2. Must, the fresh juice of the grape, unfermented or in process of fermentation. For this the Hebrew employs the word tirosh, English version, new wine. Wine, as a product of agriculture, is commonly mentioned by this name along with corn and oil, Genesis 40:11 Exodus 22:29 Deuteronomy 32:14 Luke 5:37-38

3. Honey of wine, made by boiling down must to one-fourth of its bulk. This commonly goes, in the Old Testament, by the name debhash, honey; and only the context can enable us to determine whether honey of grapes or of bees is to be understood, Numbers 18:12 Proverbs 9:2,5

4. Spiced wine, made stronger and more inviting to the taste by the admixture of spices and other drugs, Song of Song of Solomon 8:2 5 . Strong drink, Hebrew shechar. This word sometimes denotes pure strong wine, as Numbers 28:7; or drugged wine, as Isaiah 5:22; but more commonly wine made from dates, honey, etc., and generally made more inebriating by being mingled with drugs.

See also, in connection with this article, FLAGON, MYRRH, and VINEGAR .

The "wine of Helbon" was made in the vicinity of Damascus, and sent from that city to Tyre, Ezekiel 27:19 . It resembled the "wine of Lebanon," famous for its excellence and fragrance, Hosea 14:7 . See HELBON .

Great efforts have been made to distinguish the harmless from the intoxicating wines of Scripture, and to show that inspiration has in all cases approved the former alone, and condemned the latter, directly or indirectly. It is not necessary, however, to do this in order to demonstrate that so far as the use of wine leads to inebriation it is pointedly condemned by the word of God. Son and shame are connected with the first mention of wine in the Bible, and with many subsequent cases, Genesis 9:20 19:31-36 1 Samuel 25:36-37 2 Samuel 13:28 1 Kings 20:12-21 Esther 1:10-11 Daniel 5:23 Revelation 17:2 . It is characterized as a deceitful mocker, Proverbs 21:1; as fruitful in miseries, Proverbs 23:29-35; in woes, Isaiah 5:22; in errors, Isaiah 28:1-7; and in impious folly, Isaiah 5:11,12 56:12 Hosea 4 11 .

The use of it is in some cases expressly forbidden, Leviticus 10:9 Numbers 6:3; and in other cases is alluded to as characteristic of the wicked, Joel 3:3 Amos 6:6 . Numerous cautions to beware of it are given, 1 Samuel 1:14 Proverbs 23:31 31:4-5 1 Timothy 3:3; and to tempt other to use it is in one passage made the occasion of a bitter curse, Habakkuk 2:15 . On the other hand, whatever approval was given in Palestine to the moderate use of wine, can hardly apply to a country where wine is an imported or manufactured article, often containing not a drop of the juice of the grape; or if genuine and not compounded with drugs, still enforced with distilled spirits. The whole state of the case, moreover, is greatly modified by the discovery of the process of distilling alcohol, and by the prevalence of appalling evils now inseparable from the general use of any intoxicating drinks. Daniel and the Rechabites saw good reason for total abstinence from wine, Jeremiah 35:14 Daniel 1:8; and the sentiment of Paul, on a mater involving the same principles, is divinely commended to universal adoption, Romans 14:21 1 Corinthians 8:13 .

For "wine-press," see PRESS , and VINE .

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Wine'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​ats/​w/wine.html. 1859.
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