Bible Question:

Is it ok to drink mixed wine as a Christian, i.e. spiced wine? My impression of Proverbs 23:29 is that it says obsessing over wine and exotic types such as spiced wine is making wine your religion and will turn you into an alcoholic! Proverbs 9:2 speaks positively about spiced wine, as does Song of Songs 8:2! Lastly Psalm 75:8 says the Lord pours spiced wine out and all the wicked drink it. Is this referring to wine worshippers?

Bible Answer:

Scripture refers to “strong drink,” “wine,” “mixed wine” and “spiced wine.” The article “What does the Bible say about drinking wine?” discusses the use of strong drink and wine in the Bible. The purpose of this article is to discuss “mixed wine”  and “spiced wine” and answer the question, “Can a Christian drink spiced wine or mulled wine?”

Can Christians drink spiced wine?

Can Christians Drink Mixed Wine?

Mixed wine appears in three Old Testament passages: Psalm 75:8; Proverbs 9:2-3 and Proverbs 23:29-30. Psalm 75:7-8 refers to God as the judge who exalts and brings people down. Then it pictures God as holding a foaming cup of wine. The wine in the cup is mixed. He pours the cup on the wicked. That is, the cup is figuratively a cup of judgment.

But God is the Judge;
He puts down one and exalts another.
For a cup is in the hand of the LORD, and the wine foams;
It is well mixed, and He pours out of this;
Surely all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs. Psalm 75:7-8 (NASB)

Here, the foaming wine in the cup of judgment is mixed. We do not know what was mixed with this wine because this is symbolic terminology.

Proverbs 9:2-3 is about a prostitute who prepares to seduce an unsuspecting man.

She has prepared her food, she has mixed her wine;
She has also set her table;
She has sent out her maidens, she calls
From the tops of the heights of the city . . . Proverbs 9:2-3 (NASB)

We are told that she has prepared food and prepared some mixed wine. The Hebrew word mixed is masak. The Hebrew scholars Keil and Delitzch state that masak does not refer to wine mingled “with sweet incense and spices, but with water (warm or cold).[1] That is, this wine was mixed with water and with spices or something else. This type of wine is also mentioned in Isaiah 5:22.

Proverbs 23:29-30 is the third passage in the Old Testament that refers to mixed wine (mimsak).

Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has contentions? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
Those who linger long over wine,
Those who go to taste mixed wine. Proverbs 23:29-30 (NASB)

Keil and Delitzch state this mixed wine was mingled with spices.[2] Barnes states,

Wine flavored with aromatic spices, that increase its stimulating properties (Isa. 5:22).[3]

That is, this wine is more powerful than if we had not mixed it with other items. This type of wine is also mentioned in Isaiah 65:11. Therefore, can Christians drink wine mixed with water? The answer is, “Yes!”

Can Christians Drink Spiced Wine?

Song of Solomon 8:2 is the only Old Testament passage that refers to mixed wine. This wine is mixed with pomegranate juice.

I would lead you and bring you Into the house of my mother, who used to instruct me; I would give you spiced wine to drink from the juice of my pomegranates.  Song of Songs 8:2 (NASB)

M. Jastrow, Jr in his article, “Wine and Strong Drink” writes that this type of wine was pomegranate wine composed of grape juice and pomegranate juice.[4] It was not mixed with opioids. This type of wine is only mentioned here. Therefore, can a Christian drink this type of spiced wine or mulled wine? The answer is, “Yes!”

Conclusion:

In summary, none of the mixed wines in the books of Psalms, Proverbs and Isaiah are spiced wines. The only spiced wine mentioned in Scripture is in Song of Solomon 8:2. It was wine mixed with pomegranate juice.

Scripture only prohibits getting drunk on wine. Getting drunk is a sin. While Scripture teaches that one can buy strong drink (Deuteronomy 14:26; ), it always refers to strong drink negatively (Leviticus 10:9; Judges 13:4, 7, 14; Proverbs 20:1; 31:4, 6; Isaiah 5:11, 22; 28:7). Strong drink was wine mixed 1-to-1 with water.

 

References:

1. Keil and Delitzch. Commentary on the Old Testament. Hendrickson Publishers. 2006. vol. 6., p. 144.
2. Ibid. p. 347.
3. J. M. Fuller. “Proverbs to Ezekiel.” Barnes Notes. Baker Books 1996. p. 65.
4. Tremper Longman III. Song of Songs. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Eerdmans Publishing. 2001. vol. 5, p. 205.

Suggested Links:

What does the Bible say about drinking wine?