Grape juice already called YAYIN (wine) in the press!

יין Yayin did not first become “wine” only if it fermented later, after it was pressed. Both simple grape juice and intoxicating juice were called yayin in the original Hebrew of the Old Testament.

(Both were called οινος oinos in the original Greek of the New Testament.)

See also: Shekhar – meaning sweet drink or strong drink in Bible? (Deut. 14:26)

(And: broad meaning of wine (yayin) – documented.)

Nobody is denying yayin was intoxicating (sometimes anyway). Nobody is denying that “{yayin} wine is a mocker…” (Prov. 20:1) Indeed, Levitical priests who drank at all in God’s house were even threatened with capital punishment.* With clear minds, they could distinguish between the holy and the unholy (Lev. 10:9-10).

*Now unrepentant persons are put away from church membership, that is all. (1 Cor. 5:2,9-13) Unless they repent of “envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these,” they will not inherit the kingdom of God! (Gal. 5:21)

But here see for yourself where YAYIN was NOT always intoxicating…

Jacob described yayin – the blood of grapes (Gen. 49:11)

“Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in {yayin} wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes.” (Gen. 49:11 ESV)

(Greek – Septuagint: oinos.)

Yayin – juice of grapes – squeezed directly from grapes (Mic. 6:15)

“You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread {tirosh} grapes, but not drink {yayin} wine.” (Mic. 6:15 ESV)

(The Septuagint has oinos in Mic. 6:15. In Greek it normally translates tirosh as oinos, and yayin as oinos too. But here the Hebrew had both words: tirosh and yayin.)

Fruits and yayin gathered in harvest during abundance (Jer. 40:10,12)

“As for me, I will dwell at Mizpah, to represent you before the Chaldeans who will come to us. But as for you, gather {yayin} wine and summer fruits and oil, and store them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken…. then all the Judeans returned from all the places to which they had been driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah. And they gathered {yayin} wine and summer fruits in great abundance.” (Jer. 40:10,12 ESV)

(Greek – Septuagint: oinos. Aramaic – Targum Jonathan: khamar.)

No longer yayin – juice of grapes – in the presses during scarcity (Isa. 16:10)

“And joy and gladness are taken away from the fruitful field, and in the vineyards no songs are sung, no cheers are raised; no treader treads out {yayin} wine in the presses; I have put an end to the shouting.” (Isa. 16:10 ESV)

(Greek – Septuagint: oinos.)

No longer yayin – juice of grapes – in the presses during scarcity (Jer. 48:33)

“Gladness and joy have been taken away from the fruitful land of Moab; I have made the {yayin} wine cease from the winepresses; no one treads them with shouts of joy; the shouting is not the shout of joy.” (Jer. 48:33 ESV)

(Greek – Septuagint: oinos.)

Even infants and babies asking for yayin – juice of grapes – during scarcity (Lam. 2:11-12)

“My eyes are spent with weeping; my stomach churns; my bile is poured out to the ground because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, because infants and babies faint in the streets of the city.
They cry to their mothers, ‘Where is bread and {yayin} wine?’ as they faint like a wounded man in the streets of the city, as their life is poured out on their mothers’ bosom.” (Lam. 2:11-12 ESV)

(Greek – Septuagint: oinos.)

Additional sources agree wine sometimes non-intoxicating

Bill Mounce – even though he does not agree that the Bible endorses teetotalism – nonetheless admits about yayin: “… there are some occasions in which this term refers to unfermented juice of grapes. When Isaiah says that ‘no one treads out wine at the presses.’ (Isa. 16:10), the yayin here must refer to juice of grapes before it has become fermented (cf. also Jer. 48:33). In Jer. 40:10,12, yayin is a euphemism for freshly harvested grapes.”

(Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 2006, p. 791)

Grape juice called yayin while still in the winepress

Jewish custom says concerning idol worshiping nations: “When does {yayin} wine belonging to a gentile become forbidden? When the grapes have been crushed and the {yayin} wine begins to flow, even though it has not descended into the cistern and is still in the wine press, it is forbidden. For this reason, we do not crush grapes together with a gentile in a wine press, lest he touch it with his hand and offer it as a libation.”

(Sefer Kedushah, MaAchalot Assurot, Ch. 11, Halacha 11 – A modern English translation and commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.)

Which wine gladdens the heart of man? (Psalm 104:15)

“You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and {yayin} wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.” (Ps. 104:14-15)

Though modern alcohol drinkers want to mistake this psalm’s meaning, Gregory of Nyssa [335-394 AD] and Ambrose [337-397 AD] understood it very differently – certainly not as an excuse to drink alcohol.

Gregory of Nyssa quoted the wine in Ps. 104:15 and he said this wine was not a type of wine that “produces drunkenness, plots against the senses, and destroys the body.”

(Gregory of Nyssa, ‘Funeral Oration on Meletius’ – note: oinos in Greek Septuagint for yayin in Hebrew: Ps. 104:15.)

Ambrose wrote about this psalm and similar passages, certainly not as an excuse to drink alcohol: “But do you wish to eat and drink? Enter into the banquet hall of Wisdom, who invites all men, proclaiming with a loud voice: ‘Come, eat my bread and drink my {yayin} wine which I have mingled for you. [Prov. 9:5] Do you find delight in songs which charm the banqueter? Listen to the voice of the Church, who exhorts us not only in canticles, but in the Canticle of Canticles: ‘Eat, O friends, and drink and be inebriated, my brethren.’ [Song 5:1] But this inebriation makes men sober. This inebriation is one of grace, not of intoxication. It leads to joy, not to befuddlement…. and as He has risen from the dead, you, too, may rise. There you will eat bread which ‘strengthens man’s heart.‘ [Ps. 104:15] You will taste of honey which is a delight to the tongue. You will drink {yayin} wine along with milk [Song 5:1], that is to say, with splendor and purity.”

(Ambrose, ‘Hexameron, Paradise, and Cain and Abel’ – note: vini in Latin Vulgate for yayin in Hebrew: Ps. 104:15; Prov. 9:5; Song 5:1.)

See what else Ambrose said to stop others ever drinking: Early church rules against drinking alcohol.

Hebrew word forms (yayin) יין

H3196: יין ביין היין וביין והיין ויין יינה ייני יינך יינם כיין ליין מיין מיינה מיינו

Hebrew word forms (tirosh) תירושׁ

H8492: תירושׁ ותירשׁ ותירשׁך תירשׁ

Greek word forms (oinos) οἶνος

G3631 οἶνος οἶνον οἴνου οἴνῳ

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