Tag: Drunkenness

Drunkenness and Stupor (Proverbs 20:1, 19-21, 29-35) (Part 2)

Consequences

Proverbs 23:29-35 shows that being continuously drunk (Proverbs 23:35), resulted in experience of:

  • Woe {Grief, Regret, Misfortune, or Grievous Distress};
  • Sorrow {Despised and Rejected}; Contentions {Quarrels, Arguments, Strife};
  • Babbling {Looseness of Tongue, Complainer};
  • Wounds {Falls, Accidents}; and
  • Redness of Eyes {Dimness of Eyes (Amp. Bible), Progressive Lost of Sight}.” Drunkenness may lead to immorality (Proverbs 23:31, 33 (c/f Proverbs 23:27-28).
  • “Habit-forming addiction”“When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?” (Proverbs 23:35b), that destroy families and selves. Being continuously intoxicated, that Person loses his judgement, affects his physical health, like “fatty-liver” which will result in liver-damage, in the long-term; it will also cause stomach inflammation, and the thickening of the stomach lining which reduces the stomach’s ability to absorb nutrients, etc. Usually, the Drunkard is engaged in foolish talk, fighting, loss of self-control (Proverbs 23:29-30). A confused judgement and impaired mental as well as physical vision (Proverbs 23:29), ending being self-deceived as that of being “bitten by the Serpent or Viper.” (Proverbs 23:32).

Examples of Consequences in Old Testament

  • Noah (Genesis 9:21-23) – Noah, being drunk, exposed himself in nakedness (Genesis 9:20-21), resulting in Ham’s Descendants (Canaanites) being cursed, because he (Ham), discussed his father’s (Noah’s) nakedness (Genesis 9:22), instead of covering up his father, “for love covers the multitudes of sins,” (Proverbs 10:12b; 1Peter 4:8b), of which Ham failed (Genesis 9:25). Shem and Japheth were blessed because they covered their father’s (Noah’s) nakedness (Genesis 9:23, 25-27).
  • Lot (Genesis 19:31-36) was drunk and fathered through his daughters, Moab (the father of Moabites) and Benammi (the father of Ammonites) – Enemies of Israel.
  • Isaac had been drinking when he was deceived into blessing Jacob, though God over-ruled in the situation (Genesis 27:25), because Esau sold his First-born Birth-right to Jacob (Genesis 25:29-34). – Hebrews 11:20 “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.”
  • Israel’s Princes – Hosea 7:5 “In the day of our King, Princes have made him sick, inflamed with wine; He stretched out his hand with Scoffers.”
  • Priests and Prophets – Isaiah 28:7 “But they also have erred through wine, and through intoxicating drink……the Priests and the Prophets have erred through intoxicating drink, they are swallowed up by wine, they are out of the way through intoxicating drink they err in vision, they stumble in judgement.”
  • Nabal, whose name means “Fool” was drunk and suffered heart-attack and died 10 days later, smitten of The LORD for his folly against David (1Samuel 25:2-38).
  • Elah, the King of the House of Israel was assassinated while drunk in Tirzah (1Kings 16:8-10).

What is Strong Drink in Biblical Times?

In like manner, “strong drink” (sekar) is raging. Whiskey and wine with high alcoholic content were not discovered until the Middle Ages, it is not appropriate to identify “strong drink” (sekar) as whiskey or similar “strong drink” of today. The “strong drink” in Proverbs 20:1 is “grain wine” or “fruit wine,” prepared from something other than grapes. As with wine (yayin), “strong drink” has the potential to produce drunkenness. When under the influence of “strong drink” (sekar), the Person can become “Raging” (or “Boisterous – Energetic”). The Person who comes under the influence of “strong drink” is “deceived” (who errs) and is not wise, that is the Drunkard fools himself.

Kings & Rulers of the Nation was not allowed to be given to wine or strong drink, lest they drink and forget God’s Law and pervert just judgements – Proverbs 31:4-5 “It is not for Kings, O Lemuel, it is not for Kings to drink wine, nor for Princes intoxicating drink; lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert justice of all the afflicted.”

Priests were Forbidden – Leviticus 10:9 (NIV) “You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the Tent of the Meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.”

Medicinal – Proverbs 31:6-7 “Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to those who are bitter of heart. Let him drink and forget his poverty and remember his misery no more.” Proverbs 31:6-7 is not encouraging drunkenness, or else the whole tenor of the teaching on drunkenness as shown above, from the Bible, would be contradicted. Proverbs 31:6-7 has to be studied contextually. The mother of King Lemuel has just taught his son to refrain from drinking wine and strong drink as it will pervert justice and violate God’s Law (Proverbs 31:4-5). With this context in mind, let us interpret Proverbs 31:6-7 – King Lemuel’s mother was teaching his son how to handle the Afflicted People in his (Lemuel’s) Kingdom:

  • Terminal Sickness – Proverbs 31:6a “Give strong drink to him who is perishing.” – The term “perishing” means to be lost or destroyed – it was understood as dealing with someone in his Kingdom who is suffering greatly with sickness – especially when that sickness is terminal, with great pain. It was a custom of that time to medicate to the dying person, who was in great pain, with strong drink, to help him to overcome his pain – as today, the Doctor administer morphine to the terminal ill Person, in great pain. Thus, it was not an evil act but a merciful act, as it was providing help to the terminal dying Person, in pain, a respite. In most cases, the wine is mixed with gall, which serves as “pain-killing-mixture.”
  • The Bitter Person – Proverbs 31:6b-7 “And wine to those who are bitter of heart, let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.” – The second usage of wine for medicinal purpose is for temporary relief for the Person “who is bitter of heart, who have lost something important (loved one) or something valuable,” – this instruction of King Lemuel’s mother is a bit dicey (risky) – it is easy to see the application for the Person who is suffering pain, at the point of death; whereas, for the “bitterness-of-soul,” the application should be weighted, in term of the context of Proverbs 31, as we are in a Section of the Scripture where King Lemuel’s mother has just warned him to refrain from drinking wine and strong drink, as it could cloud his judgement and the violation of God’s Law, in a moment of drunkenness (Proverbs 31:4-5). Therefore, we can be assured that when it comes to the afflicted Person with “bitterness-of-soul,” King Lemuel’s mother is not advocating drunkenness to alleviate the Afflicted Person’s Problem – thus, “NOT drowning One’s sorrows with wine or strong drink.” Rather, what is taught is that ONE {not continuous) drink could temporarily alleviate the Afflicted Person, as Psalm 104:15a states: “Wine makes man’s heart glad,” in the midst of the listing of things that God Himself provides including oil to make the face shine (Psalm 104:15b), food that sustains a man with strength (Psalm 104:15c).
  • Thus, the one drink of wine or strong drink is for medicinal purpose; to lift the afflicted spirit in the time of “bitterness-of-soul,” making the heart glad for a moment, helping the Afflicted Person in his (Lemuel’s) Kingdom. Whereas, today wine or strong drink, is drinking for partying, with the view of getting drunk.  
  • The teaching is Proverbs 31:6-7 is not an encouragement to get drunk, but at the time before the advance of medicinal science, wine or strong drink was used for the medicinal purposes as taught in Proverbs 31:6-7, and we should not read to much into the other interpretation of encouraging drunkenness, as “God puts gladness in our heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased.” (Psalm 4:7)

Drunkenness and Stupor (Proverbs 20:1, 19-21, 29-35) (Part 1)

The Statement

Most individual Proverbs contain two Parts, the Second contrasting with the First. Also, in the collection as a whole, one Proverb contrasts with another. Wisdom is the balanced discipline; Wisdom tells us what to avoid and what to seek. When we are advised to avoid something, this implies we should seek its opposite. For example, Proverbs 20:22 – “Do not say, I will pay you back for this wrong! Wait for the LORD, and He will deliver you” (NIV), both discourages vindictiveness and encourages patient and faith. So, some of these verses in chapter 20 belong to either or both Sections:

Things to Avoid

Proverbs chapter 20 teaches us 14 things to avoid: (1) Drunkenness (Proverbs 20:1); (2) Quarrelling (Proverbs 20:2); (3) Laziness (Proverbs 20:4); (4) Sleep and Poverty (Proverbs 20:13); (5) Cheating in Business (Proverbs 20:10); (6) Cheating in General (Proverbs 20:23); (7) Boasting in Bargain (Proverbs 20:14); (8) Deceitfulness (Proverbs 20:17); (9) Ill-Gotten-Gain (Proverbs 20:21); (10) Unsecured Loan (Proverbs 20:16); (11) Tale-Bearer (Proverbs 20:19); (12) Disrespect of Parents (Proverbs 20:20); (13) Vindictiveness (Proverbs 20:22); (14) Rash Commitments (Proverbs 20:25).

Important Point to Note

The teaching below on Drunkenness is not meant to be judgemental and critical of the Person who is struggling with “drink-problem,” but rather to create an awareness of “the consequences” of the “drink-problem.” We need to exercise Christ’s Love to understand and to provide help to the Person who is struggling, in this area.

Drunkenness

Proverbs 20:1 (NIV) “Wine is a Mocker and beer a Brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1 (KJV) “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

Justification in the drinking of wine, especially alcoholic wine in the New Testament:

  • Jesus turning the water into wine at the wedding at Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11).
  • The establishment of The Lord’s Supper with bread and wine (Matthew 26:26-29).
  • Paul’s exhortation to Timothy concerning the taking of a little wine, for his stomach’s sake (1Timothy 5:23).
  • The instructions concerning the Elders and Deacons “not being given to much wine” (1Timothy 3:3, 8).

In balance, the Writer, understands that the Bible does not teach total prohibition or total abstinence from wine, as passages shown above. However, intoxication and drunkenness are strongly condemned both in the O.T & N.T.

Warning against Drunkenness in the New Testament

  • Drunkenness is listed among the 17 Works of the Flesh – Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication…..drunkenness, revelries….”
  • Drunkard shall not inherit the Kingdom of God – 1Corinthians 6:10 “Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilvers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God.”
  • Drunkenness is listed alongside with rioting and other evil deeds – Romans 13:13 “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.”
  • Drunkenness is one of the Signs of the Last Day, before Jesus’ Second Coming – Luke 21:34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing (partying), drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly” (Matthew 24:48-51; Luke 12:45; 1Thessalonians 5:7).
  • Drunkenness separates the Believer from the Fellowship of other Believers – 1Corinthians 5:9-13 “I wrote to you in my epistles not to keep company with sexually immoral people…..or a drunkard….”
  • Drunkenness is forbidden to Spirit-filled Believers; and the “Wine of the World” is the counterfeit of the “Wine of the Spirit.” – Ephesians 5:18-19 “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Christian who is controlled by the “spirit of alcoholism” is not controlled by God’s Spirit at the same time, he must make the choice.

Warning against Drunkenness in the Old Testament

  • Drunkenness is associated with Violence – Proverbs 4:17 “For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.”
  • Drunkenness is linked with mocking, raging, and deception and lack of wisdom. The Drunkard is deceived about his condition by his rationalisation – Proverbs 20:1 (KJV) “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”
  • Drunkenness results in Poverty – Proverbs 21:17b “He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.”
  • Drunkenness is linked with Gluttony and will come to Poverty – Proverbs 23:21 “For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness (due to wine) will clothe a man with rags.”
  • Drunkenness leads to Immorality – Proverbs 23:31, 33 “Do not look on the wine when it red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly;…your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things (c/f Proverbs 23:27-28).
  • Drunkenness ends “liken being bitten by a Serpent” and “stung by an Viper” – This could be an indication of something evil about the end result of being Drunken – Proverbs 23:31, 32 “Do not look on the wine when it red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a Serpent, and stings like a Viper.”
  • Drunkenness is Addictive – Proverbs 23:34-35 “Yes, you will be like one, who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: ‘They have struck me, but I was not hurt; they have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?”
  • The Final Verdict of Alcoholic-Addiction is that the Person is stricken, beyond feeling, and when he awakes, he seeks it yet again, to be intoxicated – He is bound by his addiction to alcoholic drinks! – “When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?” (Proverbs 23:35b)
  • Drunkard is warned with the Sixfold Questions: – Proverbs 23:29:
    • Who has Woe?
    • Who has Sorrow?
    • Who has Contentions?
    • Who has Babbling?
    • Who has Wounds without Cause?
    • Who has Redness of Eyes?
    • The Answer: Proverbs 23:30 “Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine.”
    • The Warning: Proverbs 20:31 “Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly.”
    • The Suffering: Proverbs 23:32 “At the last it bites like a Serpent and stings like a Viper.”
    • Separation Required: Proverbs 23:20 “Do not mix with Winebibbers {Drunkards}, or with gluttonous eaters of meat.” – Because “Evil company corrupts good habits.” (1Corinthians 15:33b).

To be continued…. Stay tuned….