Wine

Wine [N] [T] [E] [S]

See Abstain, Abstinence

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Edited by Walter A. Elwell
Copyright © 1996 by Walter A. Elwell. Published by Baker Books, a division of
Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan USA.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

For usage information, please read the Baker Book House Copyright Statement.


[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
[T] indicates this entry was also found in Torrey's Topical Textbook
[E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary
[S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

Bibliography Information

Elwell, Walter A. "Entry for 'Wine'". "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology". . 1997.

Wine [N] [T] [B] [S]

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.

  • Ashishah ( 2 Samuel 6:19 ; 1 Chronicles 16:3 ; Cant 2:5 ; Hosea 3:1 ), which, however, rather denotes a solid cake of pressed grapes, or, as in the Revised Version, a cake of raisins.

  • 'Asis, "sweet wine," or "new wine," the product of the same year (Cant 8:2 ; Isaiah 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.

  • Hometz. See VINEGAR .

  • Hemer, Deuteronomy 32:14 (rendered "blood of the grape") Isaiah 27:2 ("red wine"), Ezra 6:9 ; 7:22 ; Daniel 5:1 Daniel 5:2 Daniel 5:4 . 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.

  • 'Enabh, a grape ( Deuteronomy 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 Hosea 3:1 the phrase in Authorized Version, "flagons of wine," is in the Revised Version correctly "cakes of raisins." (Compare Genesis 49:11 ; Numbers 6:3 ; Deuteronomy 23:24 , etc., where this Hebrew word is rendered in the plural "grapes.")

  • Mesekh, properly a mixture of wine and water with spices that increase its stimulating properties ( Isaiah 5:22 ). Psalms 75:8 , "The wine [yayin] is red; it is full of mixture [mesekh];" Proverbs 23:30 , "mixed wine;" Isaiah 65:11 , "drink offering" (RSV, "mingled wine").

  • Tirosh, properly "must," translated "wine" ( Deuteronomy 28:51 ); "new wine" ( Proverbs 3:10 ); "sweet wine" ( Micah 6:15 ; RSV, "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 ( Genesis 27:28 ) mention is made of "plenty of corn and tirosh." Palestine is called "a land of corn and tirosh" ( Deuteronomy 33:28 ; Compare Isaiah 36:17 ). See also Deuteronomy 28:51 ; 2 Chr 32:28 ; Joel 2:19 ; Hosea 4:11 , ("wine [yayin] and new wine [tirosh] take away the heart").

  • Sobhe (root meaning "to drink to excess," "to suck up," "absorb"), found only in Isaiah 1:22 , Hosea 4:18 ("their drink;" Gesen. and marg. of RSV, "their carouse"), and Nahum 1:10 ("drunken as drunkards;" lit., "soaked according to their drink;" RSV, "drenched, as it were, in their drink", i.e., according to their sobhe).

  • 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. Numbers 28:7 , "strong wine" (RSV, "strong drink"). It is sometimes distinguished from wine, c.g., Leviticus 10:9 , "Do not drink wine [yayin] nor strong drink [shekar];" Numbers 6:3 ; Judges 13:4 Judges 13:7 ; Isaiah 28:7 (in all these places rendered "strong drink"). Translated "strong drink" also in Isaiah 5:11 ; 24:9 ; 29:9 ; 56:12 ; Proverbs 20:1 ; 31:6 ; Micah 2:11 .

  • Yekebh ( Deuteronomy 16:13 , but in RSV correctly "wine-press"), a vat into which the new wine flowed from the press. Joel 2:24 , "their vats;" 3:13 , "the fats;" Proverbs 3:10 , "Thy presses shall burst out with new wine [tirosh];" Haggai 2:16 ; Jeremiah 48:33 , "wine-presses;" 2 Kings 6:27 ; Job 24:11 .

  • Shemarim (only in plural), "lees" or "dregs" of wine. In Isaiah 25:6 it is rendered "wines on the lees", i.e., wine that has been kept on the lees, and therefore old wine.

  • 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 ( Psalms 75:8 ; Proverbs 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 Genesis 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), Exodus 3:8 Exodus 3:17 ; 13:5 ; 33:3 ; Leviticus 20:24 ; Numbers 13: : 27 . (See HONEY .)

    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 ( Jeremiah 35 ). The Nazarites also were to abstain from its use during the period of their vow ( Numbers 6:1-4 ); and those who were dedicated as Nazarites from their birth were perpetually to abstain from it ( Judges 13:4 Judges 13:5 ; Luke 1:15 ; 7:33 ). The priests, too, were forbidden the use of wine and strong drink when engaged in their sacred functions ( Leviticus 10:1 Leviticus 10:9-11 ). "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 ( Exodus 29:40 Exodus 29:41 ), and also with the offering of the first-fruits ( Leviticus 23:13 ), and with various other sacrifices ( Numbers 15:5 Numbers 15:7 Numbers 15:10 ). 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 ; Romans 13:13 ; Ephesians 5:18 ; 1 Timothy 3:8 ; Titus 1:7 ).

    These dictionary topics are from
    M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
    published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [T] indicates this entry was also found in Torrey's Topical Textbook
    [B] indicates this entry was also found in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary
    [S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Wine". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .

  • Wine. [N] [T] [B] [E]

    The manufacture of wine is carried back in the Bible to the age of Noah, ( Genesis 9:20 Genesis 9:21 ) 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. ( Solomon 8:2 ) In Palestine the vintage takes place in September, and is celebrated with great rejoicing. The ripe fruit was gathered in baskets, ( Jeremiah 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. ( Nehemiah 13:15 ; Job 24:11 ; Isaiah 18:10 ; Jeremiah 25:30 ; 48:33 ; Amos 9:13 ; Revelation 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 ( Acts 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. ( Isaiah 16:9 Isaiah 16:10 ; Jeremiah 25:30 ; 48:33 ) Their legs and garments were dyed red with the juice. ( Genesis 40:11 ; Isaiah 63:2 Isaiah 63:3 ) 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. ( Isaiah 25:6 ) The wine consequently required to be "refined" or strained previous to being brought to table. ( Isaiah 25:6 ) To wine, is attributed the "darkly-flashing eye," ( Genesis 40:12 ) Authorized Version "red," the unbridled tongue, ( Proverbs 20:1 ; Isaiah 28:7 ) the excitement of the spirit, ( Proverbs 31:6 ; Isaiah 5:11 ; Zechariah 9:15 ; 10:7 ) the enchained affections of its votaries, ( Hosea 4:11 ) the perverted judgment, ( Proverbs 31:5 ; Isaiah 28:7 ) the indecent exposure, ( Habakkuk 2:15 Habakkuk 2:16 ) and the sickness resulting from the heat (chemah , Authorized Version "bottles") of wine. ( Hosea 7:5 ) The allusions to the effects of tirosh are confined to a single passage, but this a most decisive one, viz. ( Hosea 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, ( Proverbs 9:2 Proverbs 9:5 ) and occasions of excess. ( Proverbs 23:30 ; Isaiah 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, ( Mark 15:23 ) and the spiced pomegranate wine prepared by the bride, ( Solomon 8:2 ) may well have been of a mild character. In the New Testament the character of the "sweet wine," noticed in ( Acts 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 ( Ezekiel 27:18 ) and the wine of Lebanon, famed for its aroma. ( Hosea 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, ( Genesis 14:18 ) and at festivals, such as marriages. ( John 2:3 ) Under the Mosaic law wine formed the usual drink offering that accompanied the daily sacrifice, ( Exodus 29:40 ) the presentation of the first-fruits, ( Leviticus 23:13 ) and other offerings. ( Numbers 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. ( 18:4 ) comp. ( Exodus 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.)


    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [T] indicates this entry was also found in Torrey's Topical Textbook
    [B] indicates this entry was also found in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary
    [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Wine'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.