Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Biblical Study on Wine - Ecclesiastes to Malachi

Here we will finish the Old Testament section of our study on wine in the Bible.

Ecclesiastes 2:3 "I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives."
This is interesting aside from the fact that this is one of the things that Solomon tries to find fulfillment and he found it all vanity - wine included. It says that he was stimulating his body with wine while his mind was guiding him wisely. Was this wise to stimulate his body with wine? Was it just part of his exploration and that's why it was wise? Is exploring things like wine wise? Difficult.
Ecclesiastes 9:7 "Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works."
Solomon seems to be saying that all this stuff is fine because it just doesn't matter. Go ahead and do this stuff. The next verses say to work hard, dress well, put oil in you hair. It doesn't matter. God matters. That's the proper perspective. This puts drinking wine into perspective. Don't want it too much. Don't judge it too much.
Ecclesiastes 10:19 "Men prepare a meal for enjoyment, and wine makes life merry, and money is the answer to everything."
I'm honestly unsure if this is sarcasm or not. I'm not consulting commentaries in this study. I am trying to read the surrounding contexts before I make my comments though. This feels a bit sarcastic, especially with the comment on money, but we do see here that wine makes life merry.
Song of Songs 1:2 "May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine."
The kiss of the lover is compared and contrasted with wine. Almost as if that was the next best thing that they could think of. Wine is a very good thing.
Song of Songs 7:9-10 "And your mouth like the best wine! It goes down smoothly for my beloved, Flowing gently through the lips of those who fall asleep. I am my beloved's, And his desire is for me."
This book is intense. Wine is compared to the mouth of the beloved in such sensual language. Wine is love. Wine is sensual and according to this in a very God-ordained sense of sensuality and desire.
Isaiah 1:22 "Your silver has become dross, Your drink diluted with water."
Watering it down is a negative.
Isaiah 5:1-2 "Let me sing now for my well-beloved A song of my beloved concerning His vineyard. My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill. He dug it all around, removed its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. And He built a tower in the middle of it And also hewed out a wine vat in it; Then He expected it to produce good grapes, But it produced only worthless ones."
This is imagery of Israel as the vineyard.
Isaiah 5:11,22 "Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink, Who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them! Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine And valiant men in mixing strong drink..."
Drunkenness is bad. Longing for wine in the morning and getting wasted late at night is not a good thing. Don't think of yourself as a hero because you can drink a lot. People still do this and think this way. So interesting. Our world isn't much different.
Isaiah 22:12-13 "Therefore in that day the Lord GOD of hosts called you to weeping, to wailing, To shaving the head and to wearing sackcloth. Instead, there is gaiety and gladness, Killing of cattle and slaughtering of sheep, Eating of meat and drinking of wine: "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die."
We need to be focused on God and not on partying. If we knew that tomorrow was the end of days, would we party? Or would be proclaim Christ and pray fervently?
Jeremiah 13:12 "Therefore you are to speak this word to them, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, "Every jug is to be filled with wine.'" And when they say to you, 'Do we not very well know that every jug is to be filled with wine?"
I have to be honest. I have no idea what this means to this discussion.
Daniel 1:5,8,16 "The king appointed for them a daily ration from the king's choice food and from the wine which he drank, and appointed that they should be educated three years, at the end of which they were to enter the king's personal service. But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. So the overseer continued to withhold their choice food and the wine they were to drink, and kept giving them vegetables."
This basically shows that from a health standpoint it is better to not just be drinking wine all the time.
Hosea 4:11 "Harlotry, wine and new wine take away the understanding."
Here we see that new wine is comparable to regular wine. Also, it seems to say that both have this negative effect. This goes in line with the view on drunkenness.
Joel 1:5,10 "Awake, drunkards, and weep; And wail, all you wine drinkers, On account of the sweet wine That is cut off from your mouth. The field is ruined, The land mourns; For the grain is ruined, The new wine dries up, Fresh oil fails."
Judgment comes on those that are focused not on the day of the Lord, but on their wine and pleasures. God must be our focus and first love. Again, being drunk is not good.
Zephaniah 1:13 "Moreover, their wealth will become plunder And their houses desolate; Yes, they will build houses but not inhabit them, And plant vineyards but not drink their wine."
Not being able to drink wine is viewed as a punishment of holding back something good from them.

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