Or dregs, the refuse and sediment of wine. Wines that have been allowed to stand a long time on the lees, thereby acquire a superior color and flavor. Hence such wines are used as a symbol of gospel blessings, Isa 25:6; also of a nation or community that, from long quiet and prosperity, has become rich and luxurious, and has settled down in carnal security, Jer 48:11; Zep 1:12. To drink the dregs of the cup of God's wrath, Ps 75:8; Isa 51:17, is to drink it to exhaustion; that is, to suffer God's wrath without mitigation or end.
(Heb shemarim), from a word meaning to keep or preserve. It was applied to "lees" from the custom of allowing wine to stand on the lees that it might thereby be better preserved (Isa 25:6). "Men settled on their lees" (Zep 1:12) are men "hardened or crusted." The image is derived from the crust formed at the bottom of wines long left undisturbed (Jer 48:11). The effect of wealthy undisturbed ease on the ungodly is hardening. They become stupidly secure (comp. Ps 55:19; Am 6:1). To drink the lees (Ps 75:8) denotes severe suffering.
Wine was allowed to settle on them, to keep the body and color; especially the choicest wine (Isa 25:6). Hence, such phrases expressing ease and self indulgent prosperity as "Moab ... hath settled on his lees," i.e. has been like wine undisturbed, and not "emptied from vessel to vessel," never having been dislodged from his original settlement, "his scent (i.e. the bouquet of the wine) is not changed," "therefore I will send unto him wanderers that shall empty his vessels (i.e. cities) and break their bottles" (i.e. the men of his cities) (Jer 48:11-12). The effect of undisturbed prosperity on the ungodly is to harden in undisturbed security (Zep 1:12). Ps 75:8, "the dregs (lees) of the Lord's cup ... all the wicked shall wring out and drink," i.e. they must drain out the whole cup to the dregs.
The sediment which settled at the bottom of the wine-jars, composed of morsels of husks, stalks, etc.; in OT only in figures. See Wine and Strong Drink,
Wines on the lees' are wines left undisturbed on their sediment to mature. Isa 25:6. The expression 'settled on the lees' is used figuratively of Moab, which had not been disturbed as other nations. Jer 48:11. Also for those who in Jerusalem remained indifferent and undisturbed amidst the evils upon which punishments were threatened. Zep 1:12. A very significant type of the poor apathetic world, and of the self-satisfied and unconcerned spirit of Christendom.
the coarser parts of a liquor, its sediment or dregs. "Wine on the lees" means a generous, full-bodied liquor.
Before the wine was consumed, it was necessary to strain off the lees; such wine was then termed "well refined."
To drink the lees, or "dregs," was an expression for the endurance of extreme punishment.