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wine Summary and Overview

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wine in Easton's Bible Dictionary

The common Hebrew word for wine is "yayin", from a root meaning "to boil up," "to be in a ferment." Others derive it from a root meaning "to tread out," and hence the juice of the grape trodden out. The Greek word for wine is "oinos", and the Latin "vinun". But besides this common Hebrew word, there are several others which are thus rendered. (1.) Ashishah (2 Sam. 6:19; 1 Chr. 16:3; Cant. 2:5; Hos. 3:1), which, however, rather denotes a solid cake of pressed grapes, or, as in the Revised Version, a cake of raisins. (2.) 'Asis, "sweet wine," or "new wine," the product of the same year (Cant. 8:2; Isa. 49:26; Joel 1:5; 3:18; Amos 9:13), from a root meaning "to tread," hence juice trodden out or pressed out, thus referring to the method by which the juice is obtained. The power of intoxication is ascribed to it. (3.) Hometz. See VINEGAR T0003771. (4.) Hemer, Deut. 32:14 (rendered "blood of the grape") Isa. 27:2 ("red wine"), Ezra 6:9; 7:22; Dan. 5:1, 2, 4. This word conveys the idea of "foaming," as in the process of fermentation, or when poured out. It is derived from the root "hamar", meaning "to boil up," and also "to be red," from the idea of boiling or becoming inflamed. (5.) 'Enabh, a grape (Deut. 32:14). The last clause of this verse should be rendered as in the Revised Version, "and of the blood of the grape ['enabh] thou drankest wine [hemer]." In Hos. 3:1 the phrase in Authorized Version, "flagons of wine," is in the Revised Version correctly "cakes of raisins." (Compare Gen. 49:11; Num. 6:3; Deut. 23:24, etc., where this Hebrew word is rendered in the plural "grapes.") (6.) Mesekh, properly a mixture of wine and water with spices that increase its stimulating properties (Isa. 5:22). Ps. 75:8, "The wine [yayin] is red; it is full of mixture [mesekh];" Prov. 23:30, "mixed wine;" Isa. 65:11, "drink offering" (R.V., "mingled wine"). (7.) Tirosh, properly "must," translated "wine" (Deut. 28:51); "new wine" (Prov. 3:10); "sweet wine" (Micah 6:15; R.V., "vintage"). This Hebrew word has been traced to a root meaning "to take possession of" and hence it is supposed that tirosh is so designated because in intoxicating it takes possession of the brain. Among the blessings promised to Esau (Gen. 27:28) mention is made of "plenty of corn and tirosh." Israel is called "a land of corn and tirosh" (Deut. 33:28; compare Isa. 36:17). See also Deut. 28:51; 2 Chr. 32:28; Joel 2:19; Hos. 4:11, ("wine [yayin] and new wine [tirosh] take away the heart"). (8.) Sobhe (root meaning "to drink to excess," "to suck up," "absorb"), found only in Isa. 1:22, Hos. 4:18 ("their drink;" Gesen. and marg. of R.V., "their carouse"), and Nah. 1:10 ("drunken as drunkards;" lit., "soaked according to their drink;" R.V., "drenched, as it were, in their drink", i.e., according to their sobhe). (9.) Shekar, "strong drink," any intoxicating liquor; from a root meaning "to drink deeply," "to be drunken", a generic term applied to all fermented liquors, however obtained. Num. 28:7, "strong wine" (R.V., "strong drink"). It is sometimes distinguished from wine, c.g., Lev. 10:9, "Do not drink wine [yayin] nor strong drink [shekar];" Num. 6:3; Judg. 13:4, 7; Isa. 28:7 (in all these places rendered "strong drink"). Translated "strong drink" also in Isa. 5:11; 24:9; 29:9; 56:12; Prov. 20:1; 31:6; Micah 2:11. (10.) Yekebh (Deut. 16:13, but in R.V. correctly "wine-press"), a vat into which the new wine flowed from the press. Joel 2:24, "their vats;" 3:13, "the fats;" Prov. 3:10, "Thy presses shall burst out with new wine [tirosh];" Hag. 2:16; Jer. 48:33, "wine-presses;" 2 Kings 6:27; Job. 24:11. (11.) Shemarim (only in plural), "lees" or "dregs" of wine. In Isa. 25:6 it is rendered "wines on the lees", i.e., wine that has been kept on the lees, and therefore old wine. (12.) Mesek, "a mixture," mixed or spiced wine, not diluted with water, but mixed with drugs and spices to increase its strength, or, as some think, mingled with the lees by being shaken (Ps. 75:8; Prov. 23:30). In Acts 2:13 the word "gleukos", rendered "new wine," denotes properly "sweet wine." It must have been intoxicating. In addition to wine the Hebrews also made use of what they called "debash", which was obtained by boiling down must to one-half or one-third of its original bulk. In Gen. 43:11 this word is rendered "honey." It was a kind of syrup, and is called by the Arabs at the present day dibs. This word occurs in the phrase "a land flowing with milk and honey" (debash), Ex. 3:8, 17; 13:5; 33:3; Lev. 20:24; Num. 13: 27. (See HONEY T0001809.) Our Lord miraculously supplied wine at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11). The Rechabites were forbidden the use of wine (Jer. 35). The Nazarites also were to abstain from its use during the period of their vow (Num. 6:1-4); and those who were dedicated as Nazarites from their birth were perpetually to abstain from it (Judg. 13:4, 5; Luke 1:15; 7:33). The priests, too, were forbidden the use of wine and strong drink when engaged in their sacred functions (Lev. 10:1, 9-11). "Wine is little used now in the East, from the fact that Mohammedans are not allowed to taste it, and very few of other creeds touch it. When it is drunk, water is generally mixed with it, and this was the custom in the days of Christ also. The people indeed are everywhere very sober in hot climates; a drunken person, in fact, is never seen", (Geikie's Life of Christ). The sin of drunkenness, however, must have been not uncommon in the olden times, for it is mentioned either metaphorically or literally more than seventy times in the Bible. A drink-offering of wine was presented with the daily sacrifice (Ex. 29:40, 41), and also with the offering of the first-fruits (Lev. 23:13), and with various other sacrifices (Num. 15:5, 7, 10). Wine was used at the celebration of the Passover. And when the Lord's Supper was instituted, the wine and the unleavened bread then on the paschal table were by our Lord set apart as memorials of his body and blood. Several emphatic warnings are given in the New Testament against excess in the use of wine (Luke 21:34; Rom. 13:13; Eph. 5:18; 1 Tim. 3:8; Titus 1:7).

wine in Smith's Bible Dictionary

The manufacture of wine is carried back in the Bible to the age of Noah, #Ge 9:20,21| to whom the discovery of the process is apparently, though not explicitly, attributed. The natural history and culture of the vine are described under a separate head. [VINE] The only other plant whose fruit is noticed as having been converted into wine was the pomegranate. #So 8:2| In Israel the vintage takes place in September, and is celebrated with great rejoicing. The ripe fruit was gathered in baskets, #Jer 6:9| as represented in Egyptian paintings, and was carried to the wine-press. It was then placed in the upper one of the two vats or receptacles of which the winepress was formed, and was subjected to the process of "treading," which has prevailed in all ages in Oriental and south European countries. #Ne 13:15; Job 24:11; Isa 18:10; Jer 25:30; 48:33; Am 9:13; Re 19:15| A certain amount of juice exuded front the ripe fruit from its own pressure before treading commenced. This appears to have been kept separate from the rest of the juice, and to have formed the "sweet wine" noticed in #Ac 2:13| [See below] The "treading" was effected by one or more men, according to the size of the vat. They encouraged one another by shouts. #Isa 16:9,10; Jer 25:30; 48:33| Their legs and garments were dyed red with the juice. #Ge 40:11; Isa 63:2,3| The expressed juice escaped by an aperture into the lower vat, or was at once collected in vessels. A hand-press was occasionally used in Egypt, but we have no notice of such an instrument in the Bible. As to the subsequent treatment of the wine we have but little information. Sometimes it was preserved in its unfermented state and drunk as must, but more generally it was bottled off after fermentation and if it were designed to be kept for some time a certain amount of lees was added to give it body. #Isa 25:6| The wine consequently required to be "refined" or strained previous to being brought to table. #Isa 25:6| To wine, is attributed the "darkly-flashing eye," #Ge 40:12| Authorized Version "red," the unbridled tongue, #Pr 20:1; Isa 28:7| the excitement of the spirit, #Pr 31:6; Isa 5:11; Zec 9:15; 10:7| the enchained affections of its votaries, #Ho 4:11| the perverted judgment, #Pr 31:5; Isa 28:7| the indecent exposure, #Hab 2:15,16| and the sickness resulting from the heat (chemah, Authorized Version "bottles") of wine. #Ho 7:5| The allusions to the effects of tirosh are confined to a single passage, but this a most decisive one, viz. #Ho 4:11| "Whoredom and wine (yayin) and new wine (tirosh) take away the heart," where tirosh appears as the climax of engrossing influences, in immediate connection with yayin. It has been disputed whether the Hebrew wine was fermented; but the impression produced on the mind by a general review of the above notices is that the Hebrew words indicating wine refer to fermented, intoxicating wine. The notices of fermentation are not very decisive. A certain amount of fermentation is implied in the distension of the leather bottles when new wine was placed in them, and which was liable to burst old bottles. It is very likely that new wine was preserved in the state of must by placing it in jars or bottles and then burying it in the earth. The mingling that we read of in conjunction with wine may have been designed either to increase or to diminish the strength of the wine, according as spices or water formed the ingredient that was added. The notices chiefly favor the former view; for mingled liquor was prepared for high festivals, #Pr 9:2,5| and occasions of excess. #Pr 23:30; Isa 5:22| At the same time strength was not the sole object sought; the wine "mingled with myrrh," given to Jesus, was designed to deaden pain, #Mr 15:23| and the spiced pomegranate wine prepared by the bride, #So 8:2| may well have been of a mild character. In the New Testament the character of the "sweet wine," noticed in #Ac 2:13| calls for some little remark. It could not be new wine in the proper sense of the term, inasmuch as about eight months must have elapsed between the vintage and the feast of Pentecost. The explanations of the ancient lexicographers rather lead us to infer that its luscious qualities were due, not to its being recently made, but to its being produced from the very purest juice of the grape. There can be little doubt that the wines of palestine varied in quality, and were named after the localities in which they were made. The only wines of which we have special notice belonged to Syria these were the wine of Helbon #Eze 27:18| and the wine of Lebanon, famed for its aroma. #Ho 14:7| With regard to the uses of wine in private life there is little to remark. It was produced on occasions of ordinary hospitality, #Ge 14:18| and at festivals, such as marriages. #Joh 2:3| Under the Mosaic law wine formed the usual drink offering that accompanied the daily sacrifice, #Ex 29:40| the presentation of the first-fruits, #Le 23:13| and other offerings. #Nu 15:5| Tithe was to be paid of wine, as of other products. The priest was also to receive first-fruits of wine, as of other articles. #De 18:4| comp. #Ex 22:29| The use of wine at the paschal feast was not enjoined by the law, but had become an established custom, at all events in the post-Babylonian period. The wine was mixed with warm water on these occasions. Hence in the early Christian Church it was usual to mix the sacramental wine with water. (The simple wines of antiquity were incomparably less deadly than the stupefying and ardent beverages of our western nations. The wines of antiquity were more like sirups; many of them were not intoxicant; many more intoxicant in a small degree; and all of them, as a rule, taken only when largely diluted with water. They contained, even undiluted, but 4 or 5 percent of alcohol.--Cannon Farrar.)

wine in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

WINE . There has been some controversy as to the nature and qualities of the liquor which is called wine in our Scriptures. Various words are used in the Hebrew text, and no doubt various products are thus denoted, but the characteristic common to them all seems to be that of an intoxicating drink. Lev 10:9; Num 28:7; Prov 3:10; Dan 5:1. Like all other countries, Canaan had wines of various strength and character. The vine grew luxuriantly in Palestine, bearing immense clusters of grapes, and various kinds of wine produced in Palestine were remarkable both for their power and their flavor, such as the wine of Lebanon and that of Helbon, near Damascus. Eze 27:18; Hos 14:7. Often mentioned in connection with corn and oil as one of the great gifts of Nature to man, it was kept in every household and produced on occasions of hospitality or festivals. Gen 14:18; John 2:3. But by the Jews, as by other people, it was often misused, and its misuse is most severely condemned not only in the N.T., but also in the O.T., Prov 20:1; Prov 23:29-35; Isa 5:22; Isa 28:1-7; Isa 56:12; Hos 4:11, and in some cases it is expressly forbidden. Lev 10:9; Num 6:3. In the Mosaic ritual it formed the usual drink-offering at the daily sacrifices, Ex 29:40, at the presentation of the first-fruits. Lev 23:13, and at other offerings, Num 15:5, and a tithe was paid of it. Deut 18:4. The Nazarite was forbidden to drink wine during the continuance of his vow, Num 6:3, and the priest before performing the services of the temple. Lev 10:9. The "mixed wine" often mentioned by the sacred writers, Ps 75:8; Prov 23:30, was not diluted with water, but, on the contrary, was increased in strength or improved in flavor and color by a mixture of drugs, herbs, and spices. Song 8:2. Some suppose, however, that the phrase "mixed wine" denotes wine rendered stronger by being shaken up and mingled with the lees.

wine in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Tirosh is the most general term for "vintage fruit," put in connection with "corn and oil," necessaries (dagan, yitshar, rather more generally the produce of the field and the orchard) and ordinary articles of diet in Israel. It occurs 38 times, namely, six times by itself, eleven times with dagan, twice with yitshar, nineteen times with both dagan and yitshar. Besides, it is seven times with "firstfruits," ten times with "tithes" or "offerings" of fruits and grain; very rarely with terms expressing the process of preparing fruits or vegetable produce. Yayin is the proper term for "wine." In Micah 6:15, "thou shalt tread ... sweet wine (tirowsh, vintage fruit), but shalt not drink wine," the vintage fruit, that which is trodden, is distinguished from the manufactured "wine" which it yields. Tirowh is never combined with shemen "oil"; nor yitshar, "orchard produce," with "wine" the manufactured article. In Deuteronomy 11:14, "gather in thy grain, wine" (tirosh), it is described as a solid thing, eaten in Deuteronomy 12:7; compare 2 Chronicles 31:5-6. In Isaiah 65:8 "the tirowsh (vintage) is found in the cluster"; Isaiah 62:8-9, "the stranger shall not drink thy tirowsh, but they that have gathered it ... and brought it together (verbs hardly applicable to a liquid) shall drink it." Proverbs 3:10, "presses ... burst out with tirowsh"; and Joel 2:24, "fats shall overflow with tirowsh (vintage fruit) and yitshar." Deuteronomy 14:22-26, "tithe of tirowsh," not merely of wine but of the vintage fruit. Scripture denounces the abuse of yayin, "wine." Hosea 4:11, "whoredom, wine, and tirowsh take away the heart": the tirowsh is denounced not as evil in itself, but as associated with whoredom to which wine and grape cakes were stimulants; compare Hosea 3:1, "love pressed cakes of dried grapes" (not "flagons of wine"): Ezekiel 16:49. Yayin, from a root "boil up," is the extract from the grape, whether simple grape juice unfermented, or intoxicating wine; related to the Greek oinos, Latin vinum. Vinum, vitis, are thought related to Sanskrit we, "weave," viere. Chamar is the Chaldee equivalent to Hebrew yayin, the generic term for grape liquor. It literally, means "to foam" (Deuteronomy 32:14, "the blood of the grape, even wine," not "pure"): Ezra 6:9; Ezra 7:22; Daniel 5:1; Isaiah 27:2. 'asis, from a root to "tread," the grape juice newly expressed (Song of Solomon 8:2); "sweet wine" (Isaiah 49:26; Amos 9:13); "new wine" (Joel 1:5; Joel 3:18). Mesek; Psalm 75:8, translated"the wine is fermenting ('foaming with wine,' Hengstenberg), it is full of mixture," i.e. spiced wine, the more intoxicating, expressing the stupefying effect of God's judgments (Proverbs 9:2; Proverbs 23:30). Mezeg (Song of Solomon 8:2), "spiced ... mixed wine," not as KJV "liquor"; compare Revelation 14:10. Shekar (sikera in Luke 1:15), "strong wine," "strong drink," (Numbers 28:7; Psalm 69:12 drinkers of shekar,") including palm wine, pomegranate wine, apple wine, honey wine; our "sugar" may be a cognate word to shekar, syrup. Sobe', related to Latin sapa, "must boiled down" (Lees), rather from a root "soak" or "drink to excess." Isaiah 1:22, "thy sobe' is circumcised with water," i.e. diluted (implying that strength rather than sweetness characterized sobe'); the prophet glances at their tendency to rely on the outward circumcision without the inward spirit, the true wine of the ordinance. The Latin sapa answers rather to Hebrew debash, Arabic dabs, grape juice boiled down to the consistency of honey (Genesis 43:11; Ezekiel 27:17). Nahum 1:10, Hebrew "soaked" or "drunken as with their own wine." Hosea 4:13, chomets, "vinegar" or sour wine, such as the posca which the Roman soldiers drank, and such as was offered to Jesus on the cross (Psalm 69:22). Instead of "flagons," 'ashishah ought to be translated "grape cakes" (2 Samuel 6:19; Hosea 3:1, etc.). In Hosea 4:18 "their drink is sour," i.e. they are utterly degenerate (Isaiah 1:22); else, they are as licentious as drunkards who smell sour with wine. But Maurer,"(no sooner) is their drinking over (than) they commit whoredoms." The effects of yayin, "red eyes" (Genesis 49:12); producing "mockers" of God and man (Proverbs 20:1); causing error of judgment out of the way (Isaiah 28:7); but a restorative cordial where stimulants are needed (Proverbs 31:6). Judges 9:13, "wine ... cheereth God and man"; the vine represents here the nobler families who promote the nation's prosperity in a way pleasing to God and man (Psalm 103:15). God is well pleased with the sacrificial oblations of wine (Leviticus 15:5; Leviticus 15:7; Leviticus 15:10) offered in faith. Externally applied to wounds (Luke 10:34). 1 Timothy 5:23, "use a little wine for thy stomach's sake." Bringing woe to followers of strong drink, which inflames them from early to late day (Isaiah 5:12; Acts 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:7). Noisy shouting (Zechariah 9:15; Zechariah 10:7), rejoicing, taking away the understanding (Hosea 4:11). Causing indecent exposure of the person, as Noah (Genesis 9:22; Habakkuk 2:15-16). Therefore "woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him." Producing sickness (Hosea 7:5), "princes made him sick with bottles (else owing to the heat) of wine." Scripture condemns the abuse, not the use, of wine. In condemnatory passages no hint is given of there being an unfermented wine to which the condemnation does not apply. The bursting of the leather bottles (Matthew 9:17) implies fermentation of the wine; so also Job 32:19. The wine was drawn off probably before fermentation was complete. In Proverbs 23:31 "when it giveth its eye (i.e. sparkle, Hebrew) in the cup," the reference is to the gas bubble in fermentation. The "sweet wine" (Acts 2:13; Acts 2:15) was evidently intoxicating; not "new wine," for eight months had elapsed since the previous vintage; its sweet quality was due to its being made of the purest grape juice. In Genesis 40:11 the pressing of the grape juice into Pharaoh's cup is no proof that fermented wine was unknown then in Egypt; nay, the monuments represent the fermenting process in the earliest times. Plutarch's statement (Isid. 6) only means that before Psammeticus the priests restricted themselves to the quantity of wine prescribed by their sacerdotal office (Diod. i. 70). Jonadab's prohibition of wine to the Rechabites was in order to keep them as nomads from a settled life such as vine cultivation needed (Jeremiah 35). The wine at the drink offering of the daily sacrifice (Exodus 29:40), the firstfruits (Leviticus 23:13), and other offerings (Numbers 15:5), implies that its use is lawful. The prohibition of wine to officiating priests (Leviticus 10:9) was to guard against such excess as probably caused Nadab to offer the strange fire (Ezekiel 44:21). The Nazarites' Vow against wine was voluntary (Numbers 6:3); it justifies voluntary total abstinence, but does not enjoin it. Wine was used at the Passover. The third cup was called because of the grace "the cup of blessing" (1 Corinthians 10:16), "the fruit of the vine" (Matthew 26:29). Moderation in wine is made a requisite in candidates for the ministry (1 Timothy 3:3; 1 Timothy 3:8; Titus 2:3). The vintage was in September and was celebrated with great joy (Isaiah 16:9-10; Jeremiah 48:33). The ripe fruit was gathered in baskets, and was carried to the winepress, consisting of an upper (Hebrew gath, Greek leenos) and lower vat (yekeb, Greek hupolenion); the juice flowed from the fruit placed in the upper to the lower. The two vats were usually hewn in the solid rock, the upper broad and shallow, the lower smaller and deeper. The first drops ("the tear," dema, margin Exodus 22:29) were consecrated as firstfruits to Jehovah. Wine long settled formed lees at the bottom, which needed straining (Isaiah 25:6). The wine of Helbon near Damascus was especially prized (Ezekiel 27:18), and that of Lebanon for its bouquet (Numbers 14:7). Jesus' miracle (John 2) justifies the use; still love justifies abstinence for the sake of taking away any stumbling-block from a brother; Romans 14:21, "it is good neither to drink wine ... whereby thy brother stumbleth." W. Hepworth Dixon (Israel Exploration Quarterly Statement, May 1878, p. 67) shows that Kefr Kana, not; Kana el Jelil, answers to the Cana of Galilee (so called to distinguish it from the better known Cana of Judaea, John 2), the scene of our Lord's first miracle at the marriage. It is five miles from Nazareth in a N.E. direction, on the main road to Tiberias. Khirbet Kana (Cana) is not on the road from Nazareth to Capernaum; one coming up from Capernaum to Nazareth and Cana as in the Gospel could not have come near Khirbet Kana, which is on the road from Sepphoris to Ptolemais (Acre), not on the road from Sepphoris to Tiberius. (See CANA.) Jesus came up from Capernaum and the lake district to Cana (John 2:2; John 2:12), then went "down" to Capernaum (so John 3:46; John 3:49). Cana evidently stood near the ledge of the hill country over the lake. Moreover at Kefr Kana there are remains of old edifices, but at Khirbet Kana nothing older than later Saracenic times. "Wild grapes" (Isaiah 5:2, beuwshim, from baash "to putrefy") express offensive putrefaction answering to the Jews' corruption; so Jerome. Not, as Rosenmuller; the aconite or nightshade, or as Hasselquist, "the wolf grape."