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merry, or yield perfect satisfaction. It is highly probable that the term originally meant what was sweet or delightful either to the body or the mind. We have before stated that the Hebrew shacar, the Arabic saccharon, the Greek shacar, the Latin sacchar, the French sucre, and the English sugar, have all sprung from the same original root, and have all the same primary meaning; for in each language sweetness is the primitive idea. In Arabic, both "honey" and palm wine, which, when first made, or before it becomes acid, is as sweet as honey, were called "saccharon." The Greeks call it axap, a word evidently introduced by Dioscorides and Arrian from the Arabs and Phoenicians: hence the Romans also obtained their saccharum, and we our words saccharine and sugar. The idea of sweetness is also conveyed to us, by the various uses of the verb. It is said that Joseph's brethren did eat and drink with him and were 66 yishacaro, merry with him;" not “were drunk” with him; the wine drunk at that time by Pharaoh himself was the juice squeezed from the grapes into his cup, and consequently could not be fermented or intoxicating drink; and it is therefore a query whether Joseph, at that time, possessed the means of making his brethren drunk with alcoholic wine, even had he wished to do so. Besides, we would not reflect so deeply on Joseph and his brethren as to suppose that the liquor drunk, and not the pleasure of their happy meeting, was the cause of their being merry. Modern tipplers may have neither mind, heart nor soul, except what they get from the wine bottle, but I cannot think that Joseph and his brethren were thus destitute of human feelings. The idea conveyed here is that of sweetness, satisfaction, or pleasure which they realized in the mutual exchange of affection. Shacar often refers to wages, and how "sweet" to the laborer after toiling hard is the hire or reward which he receives. Leah said, " God has given me my hire or wages, and she called his name, Is-sachar, or wages.” Again, nothing so perfectly satisfies or cloys, as sugar, honey or sweets," and hence the idea of perfect satiety, or of being drenched as it were; and accordingly shacar sometimes means to be completely filled with liquor or to be drunk and exactly accords with a very common signification of the word “μetvw,” in Greek which often means to be filled with drink or anything
else, rather than to be drunk or poisoned with liquor. All lexicographers allow that to be filled, satiated, or drenched, is a common acceptation of "shacar, and μɛovw.”
I have made these remarks to show that our translators had no warrant for rendering the word “shacar,” in every text where it refers to liquors, by the terms "strong drink." Had they used the words, "sweet drink" they would have approached much nearer to the truth; for there is not the shadow of a doubt that shacar, meant a sweet, luscious, satisfying liquor. Theodoret and Chrysostom, both Syrians, and therefore good witnesses, assert that shacar was "palm wine," and Dr. Shaw says, that "this li-: quor is of a more luscious sweetness than honey." The Arabs still call "palm wine," and palm juice, saccharon, and also ap-› ply to it the name dispse, dipse, or dibs, terms of the same origin as the Hebrew 27, dabesh or dibs, which is rendered honey in the Scripture, and is the name of the honey, or rather sweet grape, or palm juice, which Jacob sent as a present to Joseph. Honey was no rarity in Egypt, but this sweet juice being far more delicious than honey, was doubtless a luxury, and therefore esteemed a costly present.
It is worthy of remark, that dates, whence palm wine is made, are called by the Arabs, "Dabash, honey or sweet fruit." That sachar in Scripture, was sweet is evident from the contrast expressed in Isaiah, xxiv. 9, “Strong drink shall become bitter;" rather 66 sweet drink shall become bitter;" Lowth translates the verse, "The palm wine shall be bitter;" and paraphrases it, “All enjoyment shall cease, the sweetest wine shall become bitter;" the contrast between shacar, “sweet,” and the term " bitter," is here placed in striking opposition. That shacar or strong drink, means wine is demonstrated from a comparison of Exod. xxix. 40. with Num. xxviii. 7. When the ordinance was instituted, God commanded “that the fourth part of a hin of wine should be the drink offering;" but this yayin or wine is called in Num. xxviii, 7, shacar, “sweet drink" or palm wine; and surely the former text must be allowed to settle the meaning of the latter. As the palm tree abounded in Palestine, there is no doubt but shacar, sweet or palm wine, was just as common as the juice of the grape and the fact that it was undrugged shacar, or sweet
wine, demonstrates that it was not a fermented alcoholic drink. Every chimist knows that a sweet wine, or shacar, in those days, could not be a strong alcoholic beverage. That it is im. proper to call palm wine "strong drink," is evident from the analysis of wines given by Mr. Beaumont in his Essay on Alco. hol. It is there placed as the lowest or weakest of all wines; for while elder wine contains 9 per cent. of alcohol, port 23 per cent. and even ale 8 per cent. palm wine contains only four per cent. of spirit.
According to the modern acceptation of the word "strong," as applied to wines, palm wine or shacar, ought to be called " weak drink ;" and yet we have reason to believe that palm wine in modern times is much stronger than it was in the days of Moses. And this sentiment is confirmed by the fact of its being so remarkably sweet, that the term "dibs, or honey," was applied to it. If grape-juice, which is exceedingly sweet, cannot produce a strong liquor because of an excess of saccharine matter; if sweet wines cannot be strong from their own fermentation, because the sugar is not decomposed and converted into spirit; then the luscious sweetness of palm wine affords a demonstration that it could not have been" a strong drink :" a "sweet drink" it was, but this very fact proves that it was not alcoholic. Its "luscious sweetness" also affords a reason why, if it fermented, it became acid. With no propriety, therefore, can the shacar of the days of Moses be called " strong drink," in the modern acceptation of the term. Having thus shown the character of what is called strong drink" in the word of God; and having proved that it was palm wine, and exceedingly weak; we may conclude by saying, that if the Scriptures any where commanded us to drink shacar, still it must be remembered that it is shacar or palm wine, which is commended to us; and therefore our opponents must bring us palm wine such as was used in the days of Moses, before they attempt to enforce the command. To say that because sweet palm wine was used as a drink offering in the time of Aaron, therefore we ought to drink all the trash which is manufactured out of malt at the present period, is to reason without an argument. How ridiculous the reasoning would appear if placed in the following form:—
If Aaron used sweet and weak palm wine for a drink-offering, then all good Christians ought to drink brewers' strong beer, embittered with hops: Aaron did use a sweet and weak palm wine for a drink-offering: therefore all good Christians ought to drink brewers' strong beer, embittered with hops!!
In making the preceding remarks, I do not deny that shacar might be rendered inebriating by the addition of drugs; or that those who sought inebriation, hesitated to produce such a mixture; and wines thus drugged may constitute the sicera of which Jerome speaks; but still I must maintain, that when shacar is used in Scripture, we are to understand a weak sweet palm wine, unless the context shall intimate the reverse; and, in such cases as the latter, if the drink is spoken of as intoxicating, it is, at the same time, placed under the anathema of Holy Writ. I have shown in a former quotation that the wines of Homer were “pedindɛa, sweet as honey," and yet were rendered very stupefactive by drugs; still, though inebriating, they were not alcoholic, and therefore bore no resemblance to modern port, sherry, or beer.
9., Ashishah, is by our translators rendered "flagons of wine;" but without any reason from the context. The word appears to be derived from ws, ash, fire. Pocock says the term means "cakes of dried grapes." Gesenius tells us that it means
a cake, or hardened sirup, made of grapes." Parkhurst explains it, "Some confectionary ware prepared by fire." The Vulgate calls it "Similam frixam oleo," "fine flour fried with oil." In 2d Sam. vi. 19, David is said to have given the people bread and flesh, and "a flagon;" (of wine). The word wine is added by our translators: in the original, nothing but the term “ ashishah” is used, and which the Septuagint renders by the words, "Mayavov año тпyavov," "a pancake;" and in 1 Chron. xvi. 3, where the same fact is recorded, they have translated ashishah by “ αμοριτην, a sweet cake." In Hosea, iii. 1, the marginal reading " for flagons of wine," is "flagons of grapes ;" the word grapes, not wine, is in the Hebrew: but here the Septuagint uses the words, πέμματα μετα ζαφιδος,” “ sweetmeats
with raisins." Doubtless the word in Cant. ii. 5, has the same signification, and refers to a confection which was to be eaten
with apples. We learn from the Scripture that presents of dried figs, and of dried grapes or raisins, were common, and were evidently placed among the general articles of diet. In 1 Sam. xxv. 18, Abigail is said to have presented to David " a hundred clusters of raisins (or dried grapes), and two hundred cakes of figs. In chap. xxx. 11, it is recorded that David and his men gave to the young Egyptian whom they found in a state of exhaustion, "bread, and he did eat; water, and he did drink; and they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and clusters of raisins, and his spirit came again into him." These philosophers thought that nourishing food and pure water, and the genuine fruit of the vine and fig-tree, were excellent things for one who was exhausted: and we leave physiologists to say, whether alcoholic poison would have done him more good. We will only add, that, in this case, the medicine answered remarkably well.
It is here especially worthy of notice, that they supplied him with water, not wine, to drink—and they gave him the fruit of the vine, or raisins, to eat. Ziba, 2 Sam. xvi. 1, brought to David 66 one hundred bunches of raisins, or dried grapes, a hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of wine." The single bottle of wine, it will be seen, bears no proportion to the food; and David, it is said, put it aside as a medicine, "for such as be faint in the wilderness to drink." We read also of eating of the vine, a plain proof that they did not convert all their grapes into wine. These remarks prove that ashishah does not mean flagons of fermented wines, but rather alludes to a confectionery, of which, perhaps, grapes or raisins formed a part; and it was some luxury of this kind that David gave to his people at the time when he removed the ark. Instead of making them all drunk with flagons of wine, he gave them bread and flesh, and some nourishing and palatable accompaniment; perhaps not unlike our English plum-pudding or plum-cake, which, as every one knows, is made partly of raisins or dried grapes.
From these critical observations, it is evident, that the different terms in the Hebrew Bible, which, in our translation, are rendered by the word wine, afford no countenance to the use of strong alcoholic liquors; but to place this matter beyond the