Swarms of locusts make you sober up!

1 Cor. 15:34 instructs : get sober – eknēphō! Likewise Joel 1:5 (Sept.) also says people got sober – eknēphō! This is certainly not “moderate drinking!”

1 Cor 15:32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
1 Cor 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
1 Cor 15:34 {eknēphō} Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

(ESV)

Evidently in Greek: getting sober meant nobody drank at all; no drinks were available! You will never find so-called “moderate drinking” in Joel 1:5! Notice:

  1. Nobody could be drunkards… So get sober!
  2. Nobody could be drinkers… So get sober!
  3. Joel (in Hebrew) indicates nobody could then even taste any of the {ahsis} fresh-juice because none was available after many swarms of locusts had devoured all the vines! Compare Deut. 28:38-39

{Eknēphō in Greek} Awake, ye drunkards, and weep, And howl all drinking {yayin in Hebrew} wine, because of the {ahsis in Hebrew} juice, For it hath been cut off from your mouth.

swarming locusts leave nothing behind
swarming locusts leave nothing behind

(Joel 1:5 Young’s Literal Translation)

Hear this, you elders; give ear, all inhabitants of the land!
Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your fathers?
Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation.
What the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten.
What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten,
and what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten.
Awake, you drunkards, and weep, and wail, all you drinkers of {yayin} wine, because of the {ahsis} sweet wine, for it is cut off from your mouth.
For a nation has come up against my land, powerful and beyond number; its teeth are lions’ teeth, and it has the fangs of a lioness.
It has laid waste my vine and splintered my fig tree; it has stripped off their bark and thrown it down; their branches are made white. (Joel 1:2-7 ESV)

Eknēphō: sober up in Greek Septuagint translation (Joel 1:5).

Ahsis is a Hebrew word meaning ‘fresh-juice’ (sometimes from various fruits, for example ‘fresh-juice’ of pomegranates – Song 8:2b). Elsewhere the Septuagint rendered ahsis as glukasmon for Joel 3:18 and Amos 9:13, though it does not appear to render anything directly for ahsis in Joel 1:5.)

Conclusion: sober up.

Glossary of Bible words defined in Hebrew & Greek: wines, sobriety, getting drunk

Old Testament words (Hebrew, Aramaic)

Yayin: n., juice from grapes, with or without later fermentation. Num. 6:3 distinguishes yayin and fermented yayin. Examples of yayin without fermentation: Isa. 16:10; 40:10,12, Jer. 48:33. Nobody is denying yayin was intoxicating (sometimes anyway). Nobody is denying that “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). Jews have long distinguished between yayin and intoxicating yayin. “The difference between that kind of wine, and … the kind of wine G–d will offer the righteous to drink in the world to come, is that the former is liable to intoxicate (those that drink it), whereas the latter causes pure joy (to those who imbibe it).” – Isaiah HaLevi Horovitz (a Polish rabbi and kabbalist c.1565 – 1630 AD) See also yayin and oinos in the Temperance Bible Commentary, Appendix C.

Shekhar: n., sweet drink, with or without later fermentation. Num. 28:7; Deut. 14:26. Num. 6:3 distinguishes between shekhar and fermented shekhar.

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Neither be “getting drunk” nor be drunk. 1 Thessalonians 5:7

“But you, brothers, are not in darkness, so that the day should overtake you like a thief. For you are all sons of light and sons of day; we are not of night nor of darkness. So then we should not sleep as the others, but we should watch and we should be sober. For those sleeping, sleep by night; and those becoming drunk, get drunk by night. But we being of the day should be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet, the hope of salvation, because God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, the One having died for us, so that whether we might watch or we might sleep, we may live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as also you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-11 Berean Literal Bible)

See the contrasts in 1 Thessalonians 5:7! Since we should be sober: neither are we getting drunk [present participle], nor are we drunk. Neither are we falling asleep [present participle], nor are we asleep.
For those falling-asleep [present participle] – by night they are asleep; And those getting-drunk [present participle], by night they are drunk. (1 Thessalonians 5:7)
Both of their behaviours (to be getting drunk and to be drunk) are contrasted with our sober behaviour in the verses before and after!

Present participle verbs in English have the -ing suffix. The following Bible translations (which are more literal translations) keep the present participle “getting drunk” or “becoming drunk” because these closely match the present participle in the original Greek text of 1 Thessalonians 5:7:

“the ones getting-drunk are-drunk at night”
(Disciples’ Literal New Testament)

“those becoming drunk, get drunk by night”
(Berean Literal Bible)

“those becoming drunk, get drunk by night”
(Apostolic Bible Polyglot Interlinear)

“those making themselves drunk, by night are drunken”
(Young’s Literal Translation)

“those making themselves drunk, are drunken by night”
(Literal Standard Version)

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Babylon ‘Lady of Kingdoms’ was not sober and was overthrown in a moment

Daniel was absent from king Belshazzar’s boozy feast (Daniel 5) until he was summoned to read the writing on the wall. That very night the Chaldean king was killed (Dan. 5:30). The lady of kingdoms did not think it necessary to be sober because she trusted in her own military might, not in the Lord.

Greek historian Xenophon (Cyropaedia 7.5) said Cyrus gave a pep talk to his soldiers shortly before the great Babylonian Chaldean Empire was successfully overthrown (539 B.C.):

“we are now to march are the same men that we have repeatedly defeated, and that, too, when they were all drawn up in battle line with their allies at their side, and when they were all wide awake and {nēphontas} sober and fully armed; whereas now we are going to fall upon them at a time when many of them are asleep, many drunk, and none of them in battle array. And when they find out that we are inside the walls, in their panic fright they will be much more helpless still than they are now.”

Herodotus (Histories, 1.191) said: “But as it was, the Persians took them unawares, and because of the great size of the city (those who dwell there say) those in the outer parts of it were overcome, but the inhabitants of the middle part knew nothing of it; all this time they were dancing and celebrating a holiday which happened to fall then, until they learned the truth only too well.”

Christ coming when you do not expect

Now keep in mind the Son of Man – Christ – is coming at an hour you do not expect (Matthew 24:44; Luke 12:40; 21:34). Unless you believe Him, you will behave like the “Lady of Kingdoms” in complacent self-assurance, instead of sober belief. “… she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’” (Revelation 18:7)

Isaiah and Habakkuk (1:6) and had prophesied the sudden demise of the haughty Chaldean kingdom:

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Grog huge problem, plain as nose on your face, for aboriginal deaths in custody – Noel Pearson

NOEL PEARSON: Well, I think that there’s not been a proper confrontation with the drivers of these problems. There’s been an unwillingness, for example, to make the connection between grog and the abuse. And, you know, these problems go back a long way. I come with a great deal of scepticism about many of the reports because the original Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody, 17 years ago, didn’t – it identified grog as an issue, but it didn’t bring it out in relief. You know, the same as the nose on your face is in relief, it didn’t bring the grog out like the nose on your face.

Noel Pearson, ‘Pearson explains plan to overhaul Aboriginal welfare‘, 19 Jun 2007, 7.30 Report, ABC

Safety of aboriginal kids trumps so-called right to drink – says Cape York Institute

The abuse of grog and violence are epidemics their own right, not merely symptoms of underlying social and psychological problems.

Data shows a lot of violent offending is linked to alcohol … We must continue to improve the effectiveness of our approaches, and the QPC should consider what can be done to reduce alcohol and drug related harms.

the perceived ‘right to drink’ may interact negatively with the right of vulnerable community members, particularly children, to be free from violence and fear, and to grow up safe and healthy, to go to school, to be educated, and to enjoy high standards of physical and mental health.

There must be a clear process and authority by which alcohol restrictions, if relaxed or removed, can also be re-introduced according to the wishes of the community if an increase in the level of harm occurs. Community interests have little ability to successfully influence liquor licensing decisions to limit the availability of alcohol anywhere in Queensland, and more responsive systems must be introduced before it can be said that Indigenous communities are empowered to drive the approach.

To effectively respond to high levels of offending as the leading proximate factor for Indigenous incarceration levels, we must tackle the dense causal pathways involved in all their complexity. Factors include: cyclical and intergenerational disadvantage; low education and employment; overcrowding and homelessness; poor health, including mental health and cognitive impairment, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and disability; alcohol and drug abuse; early contact with the juvenile justice system and intergenerational incarceration; poor parenting, physical and sexual abuse, and the experiences of Indigenous children in out-of-home care. If we don’t tackle these foreground drivers of offending, we have no hope of reducing Indigenous incarceration.

(The Indigenous incarceration crisis: the Queensland Productivity Commission response is inadequate, Cape York Institute submission to Queensland Productivity Commission, Inquiry into imprisonment and recidivism, April 2019)

Gumbuli Wurramara aboriginal elder of Arnhem Land standing against alcohol

The story of the Anglican Aboriginal Churches in the Northern Territory cannot be told without including Gumbuli. He was the first Aboriginal person to be ordained as priest in the NT, and only the 2nd Anglican Aboriginal priest in Australia.

He was respected by many at Ngukurr for standing against alcohol being brought into the community. The community had already experienced what it was like to have alcohol freely available. He was aware of the violence and problems that went with the alcohol and wanted his community spared from the consequences of binge drinking, violence, sleepless nights, and frightened women and children who were unable to sleep because of the noise and fear of the violence.

Gumbuli also played a key role in the use of the local language in church. He preached and taught in Kriol. He was a strong supporter of the Kriol Bible Translation project. He selected the first Aboriginal members of the Kriol team and encouraged the translation work. He strongly advocated for Aboriginal partnership in the translation work and insisted that they needed the whole bible Kriol. In 2007 when the Kriol bible was dedicated and presented to the people he was very proud of what had been achieved and encouraged people to use it. He understood the value of reading the bible and preaching in the language the people spoke.

Extracts from EFAC Australia – Joy Sandefur’s book review “Gumbuli of Ngukurr”.

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