Doctrine of Strong Drink

July 23, 2010


1.    Definition:  An intoxicant, i.e. intensely alcoholic beverage;  strong, intoxicating drink.  Hebrew- rakeJ,  masculine noun shekar.

2.    “Any intoxicating beverage, in Numbers 28:7 an equivalent to wine.”  Ungers Bible Dictionary, pp.279-280

3.    Beverages known to the Jews:

A.    Beer:  Originally consumed in Egypt under the name zythus.  It was made from barley; certain herbs such as lupin and skirrett, were used as substitutes for hops.

B.    Cider:  Apple wine.

C.    Honey wine:  Two sorts- one being a mixture of wine, honey, and pepper; the other a grape juice decoction called debash (honey) by the Hebrews.

D.    Date wine:  Manufactured also in Egypt, it was made by mashing certain proportions of fruit in water.

E.    Various other fruits and vegetables were used to make homemade wine, such as figs, millet ( a type of grain), the carob fruit and possibly raisins.  Following the simple manner of the Arabians, the raisins were placed in jars of water, then buried in the ground till fermentation took place.

4.    Hebrew shekar- strong drink; could be used as a depressant, analgesic.

Proverbs 31:6
6    Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to him whose life is bitter.  (NAS)

“Strong drink, beer.  Most likely not liquor for there is no evidence of distilled liquor in ancient times.  Denotes not just barley beer but any alcoholic beverage prepared from grain or fruit.”  Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, pp.926-927.