Judges 9:13 grapes “tirosh” cheer God and men

“But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my TIROSH [grapes] that cheers God and men and go hold sway over the trees?’” (Judges 9:13)

Tirosh – Grapes (Micah 6:15)

See the meaning of tirosh, as one “…shall tread grapes (tirosh), but not drink wine (yayin).” (Micah 6:15 ESV) Unfermented grape juice in Isaiah 16:10 was indeed within the meaning of yayin – and in Proverbs 23:29-35 alcoholic wine was also within the meaning of yayin. The vine itself simply has solid grapes, namely tirosh in Hebrew.

But Kenneth Gentry misuses Judges 9:13, which actually says tirosh. This verse does not say yayin, unlike what Gentry claims. Then Gentry attempts to prove this has the effects of alcohol – which he defends drinking. Gentry falsely stated yayin concerning this verse: “… yayin is said to ―’make glad the heart’ in several places (Judg 9:13…)” False!

“The Bible and the Question of Alcoholic Beverages”, Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. Criswell Theological Review, 5.2, Spring 2008, p. 43.

“You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and TIROSH [grapes] abound.” (Psalm 4:7) In CTR, Gentry notes this verse. Yet again he fails to mention Psalm 4:7 likewise says TIROSH (not yayin). He intends to defend alcoholic wine.

Psalm 104:15 – which wine to gladden the heart of man? Gregory of Nyssa (330-395 AD) on different types of wine

Gregory did not say all wines were alcoholic.

‘Moreover console each other with the following words; it is a good medicine that Solomon has for sorrow; for he bids wine be given to the sorrowful; saying this to us, the labourers in the vineyard: “Give,” therefore, “your wine [yayin] to those that are in sorrow,” [Prov. 31:6] not that wine [one type of yayin] which produces drunkenness, plots against the senses, and destroys the body, but such as gladdens the heart, the wine [another type of yayin] which the Prophet recommends when he says: “Wine [yayin] maketh glad the heart of man.” [Ps. 104:15] Pledge each other in that liquor undiluted and with the unstinted goblets of the word, that thus our grief may be turned to joy and gladness, by the grace of the Only-begotten Son of God, through Whom be glory to God, even the Father, for ever and ever. Amen.’

(Gregory of Nyssa, ‘Funeral Oration on Meletius’, citing Proverbs 31:6 and Psalm 104:15. The verses he cited say yayin in Hebrew and oinos in Greek.)

Tirosh – ancient and modern

“During the time of the Mishna, tirosh meant sweet fruits; the term included grapes but not wine.”
(Yoma 76b, Babylonian Talmud (c. 450 – 550 AD), English translation by William Davidson)

Slowly the ancient meaning of tirosh (as in Micah 6:15 etc.) drifted from solid grapes.
In medieval times, it meant both grape juice and still solid grapes too. Now in modern Hebrew, it is grape juice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *