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)

cluster of green grapes
Tirosh – Grapes (Micah 6:15)

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

“You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and TIROSH [grapes] abound.” (Ps. 4:7)

The harvest time itself was a time of joy (Isa. 9:3). Here the sober man’s heart was typically singing and glad while at the very vineyard itself (Isa. 16:10) – very much unlike him who has woe, who has sorrow, who has contentions, who has complaints, who has wounds without cause, who has redness of eyes – all from a drink that bites (Prov. 23:29,32). A drink that bites was called yayin wine too – but its nature differed from the original yayin wine in the presses.

“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 wine [yayin] in the presses; I have put an end to the shouting.” (Isa. 16:10)

[Other passages in the context of joy or its absence: tirosh in Isa. 24:7; tirosh in Hos. 9:2; yayin in Hos. 9:4; tirosh in Joel 2:24; yayin in Zech. 10:7]

Psalm 104:15 – which wine to gladden the heart of man? Which of different types of wine?

Gregory of Nyssa [330-395 AD] 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 Ps. 104:15. The verses he cited say yayin in Hebrew and oinos in Greek.)

Ambrose [337-397 AD] did not say all wines were intoxicating.

Rather, he said the wine of Prov. 9:5 and Song 5:1 was something sober. He said “It leads to joy, not to befuddlement.” So we would expect Ambrose to understand sober wine for Ps. 104:15 – not alcoholic wine that causes befuddlement.
(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.)

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)

“Mishna… oldest authoritative postbiblical collection and codification of Jewish oral laws, systematically compiled … over a period of about two centuries. The codification was given final form early in the 3rd century ad by Judah ha-Nasi.” (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Slowly the ancient meaning of tirosh (as in Mic. 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.

“The Lord saith these things, As if a {tirosh} grape be found in a cluster, and it is said, Destroy thou not it, for it is blessing…” (Isa. 65:8 Wycliffe). Some translations put “new wine” and obviously it was tirosh while the clusters were not even crushed.

Does the Bible give simple grape juice no name at all? Please explain!

Normal grape juice (Isa. 16:10) and fermented grape juice (Prov. 23:30) were both called yayin in the Old Testament. The Greek Septuagint normally translates tirosh as oinos, and yayin as oinos too. (John 2:3, 9, 10 says oinos at the Wedding of Cana.) Will somebody today strongly claim that neither yayin nor tirosh were ever something non-alcoholic anywhere in the entire Old Testament? I ask them: should we really expect simple grape juice to have no name at all? Please explain! Should we really expect the entire Bible to rarely or never mention grape juice – by any name at all – even though the Bible mentions grapes and vineyards very frequently? I think that claim seems very suspicious.

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