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May 13, 2012 in Chapters

Wine and Alcoholic Beverages

Another consumable that God promised to bless when His people followed Him was their wine.

Psalm 104:13-15a:
He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.  He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; and wine that maketh glad the heart of man…

Grapes were the first crop planted by Noah after the flood. (Genesis 9:20)  Wine “maketh glad the heart of man” to speak of the emotional effect produced by drinking wine.  Interestingly, though, scientific research has shown that the physical heart also benefits from moderate amounts (one to two glasses) of red wine in one’s diet.  This benefit has recently been highly publicized.  Studies show that the phytochemicals, particularly resveratrol, in red grapes and berries help prevent heart disease and stroke.  They actually reduce the constriction of the blood vessels that may result after eating a fatty meal.  Almost every mention of a meal or feast of meat throughout the Old Testament included wine.  Wine was given as a blessing from God.  When Jacob blessed Isaac he said:

Genesis 27:27-28:
…See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed: therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:

There are three categories of alcoholic beverages spoken of in the Scripture: new wine, wine, and strong drink.  The new wine was the first wine of the season made from grapes.  It was naturally fermented and developed carbonation.  Job describes this wine in an analogy.

Job 32:19:
Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.

Jesus uses the differences between the new wine and old wine to illustrate a point to the Pharisees.

Luke 5:37-39:
And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.  But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.  No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.

In Acts 2:13, the disciples were falsely accused of being drunk, “full of new wine”, when the people heard them speaking in tongues.  New wine had a lower alcohol content than modern wines and numerous health benefits.  It was often mixed with water as a health tonic.  It contained lactic acid and beneficial lactobacilli bacteria which are proven to relieve intestinal problems and promote overall well-being and stamina.

This is just an excerpt from "Food in the Bible."  For the full chapter, you may download the book here.