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Booze In The Bible

Wine On The Hoof

In a blog article mentioned previously, the blogger attempted to use the phrase “wine in the press” (citing Isaiah 16:10 as an example) to prove that yayin sometimes refers to fresh grape juice. Others have made the same argument for tirosh, which is also sometimes used in an “in the press” context. One author included occurrences of the phrase “wine on the vine” (not in the Bible) to prove that even grapes were included in the meaning of the word wine.

But, consider the English phrase “steak on the hoof” commonly used to refer to cattle. This phrase demonstrates a trope, in which words are used in non-literal ways. In this case, the thing being discussed is replaced by a phrase built on a noun that identifies the ultimate purpose of the thing. Steak is not broad enough in meaning to include live cattle. Instead, the addition of “on the hoof” shows that we are using the word steak in a non-literal way that identifies the ultimate purpose of the cattle under discussion. Steak does not mean cattle – “steak on the hoof” means cattle.

“Wine on the vine” is an exact linguistic parallel to “steak on the hoof.” “Wine in the press” is similar enough for it to be reasonable to interpret it the same way. Wine does not mean must – “wine in the press” means must.

Biblical occurrances of “wine in the press” do not prove that wine is broad enough in meaning to include grape juice any more than “steak on the hoof” proves that steak is broad enough in meaning to include a calf.

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