Proverbs 31:6-7 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
Wine in this verse is: yayin, pronounced yah’-yin from an unused root meaning to effervesce; wine (as fermented); by implication, intoxication:–banqueting, wine, wine(-bibber).
The Book of Proverbs in Hebrew: מִשְלֵי Mish’ley, most commonly referred to simply as Proverbs, is one of the 13 Writings of the Tanakh of the Hebrew Bible. The original Hebrew title of theWriting of Proverbs is “Míshlê Shlomoh” meaning “Proverbs of Solomon” whom was the son of King David crowned King of Israel after his father died. The Writings of Proverbs is a compilation written in his early years. Just as a side note, King Solomon also wrote the Writing called Lamentations, also found in the Tanakh of the Hebrew Bible.
The Writings of the Proverbs vary in the literary form of poems, brief parables, pointed questions to arouse ones mind to ponder on its implication and hopefully inspire or prompt its application. The Writings of the Proverbs also include couplets that usually consist of two lines that rhyme and have the same meter. (beat or measure)
Yet, The Writings of Proverbs author also used devices such as antithesis, (an opposition or contrast of right and wrong) comparison thoughts and personification being ones tendency or possible arrangement of human characteristics to things or abstract ideas for consideration or at the very least acknowledgement’s sake.
Proverb 31:6-7 is part of Solomons 5th collection. Solomon is pointing out ‘Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish’.
The word ‘strong drink’ here is shekar, pronounced shay-kawr’ from 7937 the Strongs; an intoxicant, i.e. intensely alcoholic liquor:–strong drink, + drunkard, strong wine.
One can suppose that a strong drink might ease one’s suffering in approaching death. Although I would be remiss if I did not point out that in this collection, Solomon also reminds us that it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes to desire strong drink lest they drink and forget the decree and pervert the judgement of any of the aflicted.
Drunkedness may be acceptable among the dying who are in great pain. I would think the reason it being inexcusable for kings, princes or even national leaders is because alchohol clearly does cloud the mind leading to the evident possibility to poor decision making which leads to injustice. Alchol may also compromise ones principles while contimplating a decision or coming to a conclusion or concept of moral rightness.
By giving a dying man a strong drink, Solomon writes that he will forget his poverty and will no longer remember his misery. Giving wine to to those who are heavy of heart will produce the same effect according to this prophecy that his mother taught him from The Words of King Lemuuel.
The Words of King Lemuel: What , my son? And what, the son of my womb? And what, the son of my vows? Do not give your strength to women, or your ways to that which destroys kings! It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes to desire strong drink, lest they drink and forget the decree and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink to the one who is ready to perish and wine to those who are of heavy hearts. He will drink and he will forget his poverty and he will no longer remember his misery. Open your mouth for the mute in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open your mouth, judge righteously and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
In case one might be curious who King Lemuel was, he has been thought by interpreters to be imaginary, to be King Solomon himself, possibly Hezekiah, a king of Massa (a play on the Hebrew words), or just some petty Arabian prince. In other words, no one really knows.
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