Poor or sour wine, the produce of the second or acetous fermentation of vinous liquors. The term sometimes designates a thin, sour wine, much used by laborers and by the Roman soldiers, Nu 6:3; Ru 2:14; 2Ch 2:10; Joh 19:29. See GALL. In other places it denotes the common sharp vinegar, which furnished the wise man with two significant illustrations, Pr 10:26; 25:20.
Heb hometz, Gr. oxos, Fr. vin aigre; i.e., "sour wine." The Hebrew word is rendered vinegar in Ps 69:21, a prophecy fulfilled in the history of the crucifixion (Mt 27:34). This was the common sour wine (posea) daily made use of by the Roman soldiers. They gave it to Christ, not in derision, but from compassion, to assuage his thirst. Pr 10:26 shows that there was also a stronger vinegar, which was not fit for drinking. The comparison, "vinegar upon nitre," probably means "vinegar upon soda" (as in the marg. of the R.V.), which then effervesces.
Hebrew chomets, Greek oxos. Wine soured. Acid and unpalatable (Pr 10:26), yet to thirsty labourors the acid relieved thirst (Ru 2:14). So it was used by Roman soldiers, pure, or mixed with water and called posca. Pourer on nitre or potash it causes effervescence (Pr 25:20). Instead of cordials, Christ's enemies gave Him on the cross first vinegar mixed with gall (Mt 27:34), and myrrh (Mr 15:23); which after tasting He declined, for He would not encounter sufferings in a state of stupefaction by the myrrh; to criminals it would have been a kindness, to the Sinbearer it was meant as an insult (Lu 24:53). Toward the close of His crucifixion, to fulfill Scripture He cried "I thirst," and vinegar was brought which He received (Joh 19:28; Mt 27:48).
The light wine of Bible times, in consequence of the primitive methods of manufacture then in vogue (for which see Wine and Strono Drink), turned sour much more rapidly than modern wines. In this condition it was termed ch
This was a thin sour wine, that might be called either wine or vinegar, there being other words for wine of a better quality. It was the drink of the reapers and of the Roman soldiers. It is represented as intoxicating, and as irritating to the teeth. "As vinegar upon nitre natron, an alkali, so is he that singeth songs to a heavy heart." Pr 25:20. Its acidity is referred to in Pr 10:26.
Vinegar was offered to the Lord mingled with myrrh or gall, and He refused it; but He received the vinegar when He had said, 'I thirst,' according to the prophecy "In my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." Nu 6:3; Ru 2:14; Ps 69:21; Mt 27:34,48, etc.
The Hebrew word translated "vinegar" was applied to a beverage consisting generally of wine or strong drink turned sour, but sometimes artificially made by an admixture of barley and wine, and thus liable to fermentation. It was acid even to a proverb,
and by itself formed an unpleasant draught,
but was used by laborers.
Similar was the acetum of the Romans --a thin, sour wine, consumed by soldiers. This was the beverage of which the Saviour partook in his dying moments.
VINEGAR, ???, Nu 6:3; Ru 2:14; Ps 69:21; Pr 10:26; 25:20; ????, Mt 27:48; Mr 15:36; Joh 19:29-30; an acid produced by a second fermentation of vinous liquors. The law of the Nazarite was that he should "separate himself from wine and strong drink, and should drink no vinegar of wine, nor vinegar of strong drink, nor any liquor of grapes." This is exactly the same prohibition that was given in the case of John the Baptist, Lu 1:15, ????? ??? ?????? ?? ?? ???, wine and sikera he shall not drink. Any inebriating liquor, says Jerom, is called sicera, whether made of corn, apples, honey, dates, or other fruits. One of the four prohibited drinks among the Mohammedans in India is called sakar, which signifies inebriating drink in general, but especially date wine. From the original word, probably, we have our term cider or sider, which among us, exclusively means the fermented juice of apples. Vinegar was used by harvesters for their refreshment. Boaz told Ruth that she might come and dip her bread in vinegar with his people. Pliny says, "Aceto summa vis in refrigerando." [There is the greatest power in vinegar, in cooling.] It made a very cooling beverage. It was generally diluted with water. When very strong it affected the teeth disagreeably, Pr 10:26. In Pr 25:20, the singing of songs to a heavy heart is finely compared to the contrariety or colluctation between vinegar and nitre; untimely mirth to one in anxiety serves only to exasperate, and as it were put into a ferment by the intrusion.
The Emperor Pescennius Niger gave orders that his soldiers should drink nothing but vinegar on their marches. That which the Roman soldiers offered to our Saviour at his crucifixion, was, probably, the vinegar they made use of for their own drinking. Constantine the Great allowed them wine and vinegar alternately, every day. This vinegar was not of that sort which we use for salads and sauces, but it was a tart wine called pesca, or sera. They make great use of it in Spain and Italy, in harvest time. They use it also in Holland and on shipboard, to correct the ill taste of the water.