There are eight Hebrew words translated wine. A careful
observation of their use will tell us all that there is to be known on
- Yayin, from the root yayan, to
used of every sort of wine. The word occurs 142 time, and includes
fermented wine of all kinds.
The first occurrence is :
Gen. 9:21. "Noah planted a vineyard and drank yayin and
It is perfectly certain, therefore, from these passages, that yayin
was fermented, and was intoxicating.
Gen. 14:18. "Melchizedek ... brought forth bread and wine."
1Sam. 25:36, 37. Nabal drank yayin and "was very drunken."
Isa. 28:1. "The drunkards of Ephraim ... are overcome (i.e. knocked
down) with yayin."
Jer. 23:9. "I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom yayin
Yayin was also used for sacred purposes and for blessing.
Gen. 49:12. "His (Judah's) eyes shall be red with
and his teeth white with milk."
The Nazarite, at the expiration of his vow, drank yayin.
See Num. 6:13-20. It was used at the Feasts of Jehovah (Deut. 14:24-26),
and was poured out as a drink-offering to Jehovah (Ex. 29:40. Lev.
23:13. Num. 15:5).
Amos 9:13. "I will bring again the captivity of my people, and
they shall plant vineyards and drink the yayin thereof." (v.
14 is No. V.)
Ecc. 9:7. "Drink thy yayin with a merry heart, for God
now accepteth thy works."
- Tirosh, from yarash, to possess
= must, or new wine, so called because it gets possession of the brain.
It occurs thirty-four times in the Old Testament.
Hos. 4:11. "Whoredom and yayin and tirosh take away
the heart" (i.e. they blunt the feelings, derange the intellect).
Some say that tirosh means grapes, and is used as solid
food, because in Gen. 37:28 we read of "tirosh and corn".
We might as well say that when we speak of "bread and water", that water
is also a solid, because bread is a solid. On the contrary, "tirosh
and corn" mean liquids and solids, by the figure of Synecdoche
(of Genus), Ap. 6.
Prov. 3:10. "Thy presses shall burst out with tirosh."
Isa. 62:8. "The sons of the stranger shall not drink thy tirosh."
Joel 2:24. "The fats (vats) shall overflow with
Mic. 6:15. "Thou shalt tread ... tirosh, but shalt not drink yayin."
- Chemer, from chamar, to ripen.
Hence used of strong red wine. It occurs eight times.
Deut. 32:14. "The pure chemer of the grape."
The Rabbins called it neat wine, because, unmixed with water,
it disturbs the head and brain.
Isa. 27:2, 3. "A vineyard of chemer. I the Lord do
Ezra 6:9. Cyrus and Artaxerxes commanded that chemer should
be given to the people of Israel for the service of the God of Heaven.
- Shekar = strong drink (from shakar,
get drunk), a very intoxicating drink made from barley, honey, or dates.
Num. 28:7. "In the holy place shalt thou cause the
(strong wine) to be poured unto the Lord for a drink offering."
Deut. 14:-25, 26. "Thou ... shalt go unto the place which the
Lord thy God shall choose : and thou shalt bestow that money for
whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, of for yayin
(wine), or for shekar (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".
- 'Asis (from 'asas, to tread)
or sweet wine of the vintage year.
Isa. 49:26. "They shall be drunken with their own blood, as with
'asis (sweet wine)".
The drinking of this was held out by God as a blessing conferred by
Him. Joel 3:17, 18. Amos 9:13.
- Sob'e, any kind of strong intoxicating drink
: from sab'a, to drink to excess, become drunk
: occurs twice.
Isa. 1:22. "Thy silver is become dross, thy sob'e (wine)
mixed with water".
Hos. 4:18. "Their sob'e (drinking bout or carouse)
is over" (A.V. their drink is sour (marg. gone). (R.V. marg.
their carouse is over).
- Mimsak, mixed or spiced wine.
Prov. 23:30. "They that tarry long at the yayin; they that
go to seek mimsak (mixed wine)."
Isa. 65:11. "That prepare a table for Fortune, and that fill up
mingled wine (mimsak) unto Destiny" (R.V.).
- Shemarim, from shamar, to keep,
preserve, lay up; hence, old wine, purified from the
lees and racked off.
Ps. 75:8. "but the shemarim (dregs), all the wicked of
the earth shall wring them out, and drink them."
Isa. 25:6. "Wines on the lees."
Zeph. 1:12. "I will ... punish the men that are settled on their
Jer. 48:11. "Moab ... hath settled on his lees."
N.B. The word translated "flagons of wine" is 'ashishah,
from 'ashash, to press; hence a hardened syrup made of grapes, a
sweet cake of dried grapes or pressed raisins. It occurs in 2Sam.
6:19. 1Chron. 16:3. Song 2:5. Hos. 3:1.
With these data it will be seen that the modern expression, "unfermented
wine", is a contradiction of terms. If it is wine, it must
have fermented. If it has not been fermented, it is not wine, but
Leaven is sour dough, and not wine. It is that which
the fermentation. There can be no leaven after the process of fermentation
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