Click to donate today!
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
The ordinary drink of the Jews was water, which was drawn from the public wells and fountains (John 4:6-7), and which was to be refused to no one (Matthew 25:35). Water also was the usual beverage of the Egyptians. Modern travelers attest that the water of the Nile, after it has been deposited in jars to settle, is particularly wholesome and pleasant, and is drunk in large quantities; while that from the few wells which are to be met with in that country is seldom palatable, being unpleasant and insalubrious. When the modern inhabitants of Egypt depart thence for any time, they speak of nothing but the pleasure they shall find on their return in drinking the water of the Nile. The knowledge of this circumstance gives a peculiar energy to the words of Moses, when he announced to Pharaoh that the waters of the Nile should be turned into blood, even in the very filtering vessels; and that the Egyptians should "loathe to drink of the water of the river" (Exodus 7:17-19); that is, they should loathe to drink of that water which they used to prefer and so eagerly to long for. The common people among the Mohammedans drink water; the rich and noble drink a beverage called sherbet, which was formerly used in Egypt (Genesis 40:11), where something like our ale or beer, termed barley- wine, was also used, though probably not so far back as the time of Moses.
The strong drink, שֵׁכָר, shekar', or σίκερα, of Luke 1:15, mentioned Leviticus 10:9, means any sort of fermented liquors, whether prepared from corn, dates, apples, or any other kind of fruits and seeds. After the settlement of the Israelites in Canaan they drank wine of different sorts, which was preserved in skins. Red wine seems to have been the most esteemed (Proverbs 23:31). In the time of Solomon spiced wines were used, mingled with the juice of the pomegranate (Song of Solomon 8:2), and also with myrrh. Wine was also diluted with water, which was given to the buyer instead of good wine, and was consequently used figuratively for any kind of adulteration (Isaiah 1:22). Wine in the East was frequently diluted after it was bought, as may be inferred from two Arabic verbs, which still remain to indicate its dilution. From the pure wine there was made an artificial drink, חָמֵוֹ, chamets', which was taken at meals with vegetables and bread. It was also a common drink (Numbers 6:3), and was used by the Roman soldiers (Matthew 27:48). Medicated wines, it seems, were given to those who were to be crucified, in order to blunt the edge of pain and lessen the acuteness of sensibility, which may explain the passage in Matthew 27:34. (See WINE).
The vessels used for drinking among the Jews were at first horns; but these were afterward used only for the purpose of performing the ceremony of anointing. The other drinking vessels were cups and bowls. See Cup. The cup was of brass covered with tin, in form resembling a lily, though sometimes circular; it is used by travelers to this day, and may be seen in both shapes on the ruins of Persepolis. The bowl in form generally resembled a lily (Exodus 25:33), although it may have varied, for it had many names. Some had no cover, and were probably of a circular shape, as the Hebrew names seem to indicate. Bowls of this kind which belonged to the rich were, in the time of Moses, made of silver and gold, as appears from Numbers 7:84. The larger vessels from which wine was poured out into cups were called urns, bottles, small bottles, and a bottle of shell, כִּד, kad, with a small orifice. — Jahn, Archeology, § 144. (See DRINK).
These files are public domain.
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Beverage'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/b/beverage.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.