Thursday, September 08, 2011

Wine and God's Law

The law (namely the Torah - the five books of Moses) discusses wine many times.  There are some negative references, for example:

Noah - Negative
Gen 9:21  And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.

Lot's Daughters - Negative
Gen 19:32  Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

Temple Service - Negative
Leviticus 10:9  Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:

Nazarite - Negative
Numbers 6:3 & 20 He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. ... And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine.

These negative references do show us that wine can be abused, and they provide us some negative examples by which we can be warned to avoid abuse of wine.

However, there are numerous passages that positively refer to wine:

Melchizedek - Positive
Gen 14:18  And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.

Isaac's Blessing - Positive

Gen 27:25 & 28 And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine, and he drank. ... Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:

Jacob's Blessing - Positive
Genesis 49:10-12
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: his eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

Drink Offering - Positive
Exodus 29:40  And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering.

Leviticus 23:13  And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.

Numbers 15:5, 7, and 10 And the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering shalt thou prepare with the burnt offering or sacrifice, for one lamb. ... And for a drink offering thou shalt offer the third part of an hin of wine, for a sweet savour unto the LORD. ... And thou shalt bring for a drink offering half an hin of wine, for an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.

Numbers 18:12  All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee.

Numbers 28:7 & 14  And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering. ... And their drink offerings shall be half an hin of wine unto a bullock, and the third part of an hin unto a ram, and a fourth part of an hin unto a lamb: this is the burnt offering of every month throughout the months of the year.

Deuteronomy 12:17  Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, or of thy wine, or of thy oil, or the firstlings of thy herds or of thy flock, nor any of thy vows which thou vowest, nor thy freewill offerings, or heave offering of thine hand:

Deuteronomy 14:23 & 26  And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always. ... And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,

Blessing for Obedience - Positive
Deuteronomy 7:13  And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.

Deuteronomy 11:14  That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.

Slave Release - Positive

Deuteronomy 15:12-14
And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee. And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him.

Feast of Tabernacles - Positive
Deuteronomy 16:13  Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine:

Priest Wages - Positive
Deuteronomy 18:4  The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him.

Curse for Disobedience - Positive
Deuteronomy 28:39  & 51 Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them ... And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee.

Blessing on the Twelve Tribes - PositiveDeuteronomy 33:28  Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.

These positive passages make it practically impossible to demand that somehow consuming wine is sinful or imprudent.  Wine is a blessing from God, and can be received as such.

For the sake of completeness, there are a couple additional references that I have categorized as "hard to say."  I think that some folks might see them as negative, but it is hard to really see them as meaningfully negative with respect to wine itself.

Journey in Wilderness - Hard to Say
Deuteronomy 29:6  Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the LORD your God.

Prophesied Destruction of Israel - Hard to Say
Deuteronomy 32:32-33 & 38

For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps. ... Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.

- TurretinFan


Joshua said...

Thank you, Sir, for the references. I'm reminded of Dr. MacArthur's recent article ( He has a few good things to say in regard to parading a lifestyle that promotes the "party scene," etc. Regrettably, however, he makes a poor if/then connection, I believe. Ultimately, I suppose we must needs submit to the fact that we cannot be holier than God. Thanks again, for the references. God speed!

brigand said...

Take these verses in moderation.