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English Bible Dictionary

Strong Drink

 

The Hebrew term shecar, in its etymological sense, applies to any beverage that had intoxicating qualities. With regard to the application of the term in later times we have the explicit statement of Jerome, as well as other sources of information, from which we may state the that following beverages were known to the Jews:--

  • Beer, which was largely consumed in Egypt under the name of zythus, and was thence introduced into Palestine. It was made of barley; certain herbs, such as lupine and skirret, were used as substitutes for hops.

  • Cider, which is noticed in the Mishna as apple wine.

  • Honey wine, of which there were two sorts, one consisting of a mixture of wine, honey and pepper; the other a decoction of the juice of the grape, termed debash (honey) by the Hebrews, and dibs by the modern Syrians.

  • Date wine, which was also manufactured in Egypt. It was made by mashing the fruit in water in certain proportions.

  • Various other fruits and vegetables are enumerated by Pliny as supplying materials for factitious or home-made wine, such as figs, millet, the carob fruit, etc. It is not improbable that the Hebrews applied raisins to this purpose in the simple manner followed by the Arabians, viz., by putting them in jars of water and burying them in the ground until fermentation took place.

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