Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A Biblical Study on Wine - Joshua through Proverbs

Now our study continues through the book of Proverbs. We are looking at where passages on wine and the vineyard are discussed throughout the Bible and making objective comments on them.

Judges 13:4-5 "Now therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing. For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines."
This is the first instance of an angel giving a woman advice about not drinking wine during pregnancy. This shows that even in this time it was known that alcohol had negative effects on fetal development. It also seems to show that she would have needed a warning from an angel to curb the normal drinking of wine.
Judges 19:6,19-22 "So both of them sat down and ate and drank together; and the girl's father said to the man, "Please be willing to spend the night, and let your heart be merry. Yet there is both straw and fodder for our donkeys, and also bread and wine for me, your maidservant, and the young man who is with your servants; there is no lack of anything." The old man said, "Peace to you. Only let me {take care of} all your needs; however, do not spend the night in the open square." So he took him into his house and gave the donkeys fodder, and they washed their feet and ate and drank. While they were celebrating..."
Now Judges 19 is a freaky passage, but what is interesting is that the "good guys" in this strange story are the ones who are drinking wine, celebrating, and "being merry."
1 Samuel 16:20 Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread and a jug of wine and a young goat, and sent them to Saul by David his son.
A jug of wine is a normal beverage consumed by these biblical juggernauts.
2 Samuel 13:28 "Absalom commanded his servants, saying, "See now, when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, 'Strike Amnon,' then put him to death. Do not fear; have not I myself commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant."
Amnon is a man who raped his sister and is an overall bad guy. They knew he would be "merry with wine" or drunk and planned to strike against him when he was drunk. This is a pretty negative association with drunkenness.
1 Chronicles 9:29 "Some of them also were appointed over the furniture and over all the utensils of the sanctuary and over the fine flour and the wine and the oil and the frankincense and the spices."
These are some duties of the priest. There is a priest appointed over the wine. Interesting job description.
Nehemiah 13:4-5 "Now prior to this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, being related to Tobiah,had prepared a large room for him, where formerly they put the grain offerings, the frankincense, the utensils and the tithes of grain, wine and oil prescribed for the Levites, the singers and the gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests."
This is just another occurence of wine being part of the tithe given to the Levite priests. Wine is given to God as an offering.
Job 1:13 "Now on the day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house..."
These are children of Job, the righteous man, who are killed while hanging out and eating and drinking wine. There is no negative connotation to the wine.
Psalm 4:7 "You have put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound."
God puts more gladness in our heart than wine, but there is an implication that wine brings gladness to our hearts.
Psalm 60:3 "You have made Your people experience hardship; You have given us wine to drink that makes us stagger."
Wine that makes someone drunk is being used here as a metaphor for judgment from God.
Psalm 75:8 "For a cup is in the hand of the LORD, and the wine foams; It is well mixed, and He pours out of this; Surely all the wicked of the earth must drain {and} drink down its dregs."
Drinking wine from God is being used as a metaphor for judgment again. I'm not sure how this impacts this study.
Psalm 78:65 "Then the Lord awoke as if from sleep, Like a warrior overcome by wine."
God's hiddenness is compared to a man asleep after drinking too much.
Psalm 104:14-15 "He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the labor of man, So that he may bring forth food from the earth, And wine which makes man's heart glad, So that he may make his face glisten with oil, And food which sustains man's heart."
This says that God makes wine and wine makes men's hearts glad. This is a very compelling passage.
Proverbs 20:1 "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise."
This begins a few proverbs that are very clear on the negative aspects of drinking wine. Wine is a mocker in that it will cause you shame and ridicule if you use it poorly and are intoxicated. That is clearly not wise.
Proverbs 21:17 "He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not become rich."
We are not to love wine in such a way that we make it an idol and long for it like any pleasure.
Proverbs 23:29-32 "Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it goes down smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent and stings like a viper."
Wine is dangerous. Longing for wine can cause big time trouble in life. Be cautious with wine.
Proverbs 31:4-7 "It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink, for they will drink and forget what is decreed, And pervert the rights of all the afflicted. Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to him whose life is bitter. Let him drink and forget his poverty And remember his trouble no more."
Drinking wine is not good for those who are making decisions and leading. It seems to say something that surprises me - that it's recommended for those who are bitter or troubled to drink and forget.


Melissa Brosch said...

Comment on Ps. 75:8 - I'm not sure that this has as much to do with wine as it does "the cup" The "cup" is often used as a metaphor for God's wrath. Jesus prayed "take this cup from me" before he went to endure the punishment for sin.

Just a thought.

Melissa Brosch said...

Link me to your blog friend list!!!!