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.
(1.) Ashishah (2 Sam. 6:19; 1 Chr. 16:3; Cant. 2:5; Hos. 3:1),
which, however, rather denotes a solid cake of pressed grapes,
or, as in the Revised Version, a cake of raisins.
(2.) 'Asis, "sweet wine," or "new wine," the product of the
same year (Cant. 8:2; Isa. 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.
(3.) Hometz. See VINEGAR ¯T0003771.
(4.) Hemer, Deut. 32:14 (rendered "blood of the grape") Isa.
27:2 ("red wine"), Ezra 6:9; 7:22; Dan. 5:1, 2, 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.
(5.) 'Enabh, a grape (Deut. 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 Hos.
3:1 the phrase in Authorized Version, "flagons of wine," is in
the Revised Version correctly "cakes of raisins." (Comp. Gen.
49:11; Num. 6:3; Deut. 23:24, etc., where this Hebrew word is
rendered in the plural "grapes.")
(6.) Mesekh, properly a mixture of wine and water with spices
that increase its stimulating properties (Isa. 5:22). Ps. 75:8,
"The wine [yayin] is red; it is full of mixture [mesekh];" Prov.
23:30, "mixed wine;" Isa. 65:11, "drink offering" (R.V.,
(7.) Tirosh, properly "must," translated "wine" (Deut. 28:51);
"new wine" (Prov. 3:10); "sweet wine" (Micah 6:15; R.V.,
"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 (Gen. 27:28) mention
is made of "plenty of corn and tirosh." Israel is called "a
land of corn and tirosh" (Deut. 33:28; comp. Isa. 36:17). See
also Deut. 28:51; 2 Chr. 32:28; Joel 2:19; Hos. 4:11, ("wine
[yayin] and new wine [tirosh] take away the heart").
(8.) Sobhe (root meaning "to drink to excess," "to suck up,"
"absorb"), found only in Isa. 1:22, Hos. 4:18 ("their drink;"
Gesen. and marg. of R.V., "their carouse"), and Nah. 1:10
("drunken as drunkards;" lit., "soaked according to their
drink;" R.V., "drenched, as it were, in their drink", i.e.,
according to their sobhe).
(9.) 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. Num. 28:7,
"strong wine" (R.V., "strong drink"). It is sometimes
distinguished from wine, c.g., Lev. 10:9, "Do not drink wine
[yayin] nor strong drink [shekar];" Num. 6:3; Judg. 13:4, 7;
Isa. 28:7 (in all these places rendered "strong drink").
Translated "strong drink" also in Isa. 5:11; 24:9; 29:9; 56:12;
Prov. 20:1; 31:6; Micah 2:11.
(10.) Yekebh (Deut. 16:13, but in R.V. correctly
"wine-press"), a vat into which the new wine flowed from the
press. Joel 2:24, "their vats;" 3:13, "the fats;" Prov. 3:10,
"Thy presses shall burst out with new wine [tirosh];" Hag. 2:16;
Jer. 48:33, "wine-presses;" 2 Kings 6:27; Job. 24:11.
(11.) Shemarim (only in plural), "lees" or "dregs" of wine. In
Isa. 25:6 it is rendered "wines on the lees", i.e., wine that
has been kept on the lees, and therefore old wine.
(12.) 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 (Ps. 75:8; Prov. 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 Gen. 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), Ex. 3:8,
17; 13:5; 33:3; Lev. 20:24; Num. 13: 27. (See HONEY ¯T0001809.)
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 (Jer. 35). The Nazarites also were to abstain from
its use during the period of their vow (Num. 6:1-4); and those
who were dedicated as Nazarites from their birth were
perpetually to abstain from it (Judg. 13:4, 5; Luke 1:15; 7:33).
The priests, too, were forbidden the use of wine and strong
drink when engaged in their sacred functions (Lev. 10:1, 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
A drink-offering of wine was presented with the daily
sacrifice (Ex. 29:40, 41), and also with the offering of the
first-fruits (Lev. 23:13), and with various other sacrifices
(Num. 15:5, 7, 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; Rom. 13:13; Eph.
5:18; 1 Tim. 3:8; Titus 1:7).