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Holman Bible Dictionary
Literally, “that which is soured,” related to Hebrew term for “that which is leavened” and referring to a drink that has soured, either wine or beer from barley (Numbers 6:3
). In biblical times vinegar was most commonly produced by pouring water over the skins and stalks of grapes after the juice had been pressed out and allowing the whole to ferment. However, any fruit could be used for making wine or vinegar. Vinegar in two forms was forbidden to the Nazirite because of its association with strong drink (Numbers 6:3
). It irritates the teeth (Proverbs 10:26
) and neutralizes soda (Proverbs 25:20
). It was an unpleasant drink (Psalm 69:21
), though some sopped bread in it (Ruth 2:14
); some see this as the common Near Eastern chick-pea paste called chimmuts
. In the New Testament it is mentioned only in connection with the crucifixion. The first instance, which Jesus refused, was a mixture used to deaden the sense of the victim and nullify the pain. Possibly the vinegar mentioned in the second instance, which Christ accepted, was the customary drink of a peasant or soldier called posca, a mixture of vinegar, water, and eggs.
Vinegar was most commonly used as a seasoning for food or as a condiment on bread (Ruth 2:14 ). Solomon figuratively used vinegar to describe the irritation caused by a lazy man's attitude. See Wine .
C. Dale Hill
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Vinegar'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/v/vinegar.html. 1991.