(Heb. shemarim), from a word meaning to keep or preserve. It was applied to "lees" from the custom of allowing wine to stand on the lees that it might thereby be better preserved ( Isaiah 25:6 ). "Men settled on their lees" ( Zephaniah 1:12 ) are men "hardened or crusted." The image is derived from the crust formed at the bottom of wines long left undisturbed ( Jeremiah 48:11 ). The effect of wealthy undisturbed ease on the ungodly is hardening. They become stupidly secure (Compare Psalms 55:19 ; Amos 6:1 ). To drink the lees ( Psalms 75:8 ) denotes severe suffering.
Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his LEES, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will send unto him wanderers, that shall cause him to wander, and shall empty his vessels, and break their bottles. ( Jeremiah 48:11-12 )
the coarser parts of a liquor, its sediment or dregs. "Wine on the lees" means a generous, full-bodied liquor. ( Isaiah 25:6 ) Before the wine was consumed, it was necessary to strain off the lees; such wine was then termed "well refined." ( Isaiah 25:6 ) To drink the lees, or "dregs," was an expression for the endurance of extreme punishment. ( Psalms 75:8 )