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in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even; and the fourth part of a hin of yayin for a drink-offering."
On the Sabbath Jehovah demanded that the quantity of yayin be doubled.-Num. 28.9.
But Jehovah was not content with yayin at these early sacrifices-he demanded yayin also with the occasional offerings: "When ye... will make an offering by fire unto Jehovah, a burntoffering, or a sacrifice to accomplish a vow, or as a free-will offering, or in your set feasts... then shall he that offereth his oblation offer unto Jehovah... yayin for the drink offering, the fourth part of a hin ... the third part of a hin... half a hin (the quantity depending on whether a lamb or a ram or a bullock was offered) . . . and thou shalt offer for the drink-offering half a hin of yayin."
When the sheaf of the firstfruits was waived by the priest, Jehovah required yayin: "the drink offering thereof shall be of yayin, the fourth part of a hin." (Lev.23.13).
Evidenty, if yayin was forbidden to God's people, it was not forbidden to God himself. He demanded daily three quarts of it, and on the sabbath (Num. 28.9-10) six quarts; and the least amount that he would accept at a special sacrifice was a pint and a half. In fact, it is not going too far to say that without yayin was no formal approach to Jehovah. Now, if yayin was forbidden to the chosen people because it was evil, what did Jehovah wish with it? And was it not exposing his people to extreme danger to require them to make it in large quantities and have it on hand all the time for use in God's worship? Would they not reason that if yayin was good enough for God it was good enough for them? A man may be undone by the example of even a fellow-man. How much more by the example of God! Besides, the altar sanctifies the gift. This is the way those churches reason to-day that exclude yayin from the Holy Communion; and, from their point of view, they are right. What is right in church cannot be wrong out of church. If yayin had been forbidden in the people's houses, it would never have been approved in God's house. If it was good there, it was good everywhere. There is no gainsaying the fact that Jehovah ordered his people to make and offer to him continually an alcoholic beverage, a beverage that, in excess, would intoxicate. This beverage could not have been an accursed thing, for God's offerings must be of the best, without blemish, perfect. Nothing imperfect, let alone evil, could be offered him (except the broken and contrite heart).
It is true that there was a prohibition of yayin-to priests on service, "And Jehovah spake unto Aaron, saying, Drink no wine nor strong drink, thou nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tent of meeting" (Lev. 10.8). The reason for this prohibition is obvious; yayin being intoxicating in excess, there was danger that a priest might create a scandal by being under its influence while officiating If God had meant to forbid the priest ever to drink, he would not have added, "when ye go into the tent of meeting." How terse and unmistakable would have been, "Drink no wine, nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, forever." That is the way the laws would read to-day in a denomination committed to total abstinence. It would not add, "just before and during service."
Another thing. In that Levitical prohibition the words, "Jehovah spake unto Aaron," are significant. Why are they not, "Jehovah spake unto the children of Israel?" If wine had been forbidden to everyone, no special prohibition would have been needed for the priests. But the law of Moses has no such general prohibition.
It is true, too, that the Nazirite was required to abstain from wine and strong drink. But let us give the whole of this part of his obligation: "And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall make a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself unto Jehovah, he shall separate himself from yayin and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any juice of grapes, nor eat fresh grapes or dried. All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the grape-vine, from the kernels, even to the husk” (Num. 6.1-5).
Why the grape and its products were inhibited to the Nazirite does not concern us. But it does concern us that the prohibition of yayin is associated with these other indulgences clearly lawful, as well as, in addition, with hair-cutting. Yayin was forbidden, but so was unfermented grape juice. And the release from the vow carried the allowance of yayin, as well as of the rest: when the days of his separation are fulfilled, "after that the Nazirite may drink yayin" (Num. 6.20).
Later, the Rechabites were total abstainers. Their story is in Jer. 35. The reason they gave for their cause was as follows: "We will drink no yayin; for Jonadab, the son of Rechab, our
father (father stands for a remote ancestor) commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no yayin, neither ye, nor your sons, forever; neither shall ye build houses, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any; but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land wherein ye sojourn.'
In the days of Jonadab, "The Rechabites," of whom he was doubtless chief, were a nomad tribe . . . and zealous worshippers of Jehovah. In the natural course of events they would have followed the example of the Israelites, once their fellow-nomads, and settled down as farmers and townsmen. Probably the process was beginning in the time of Jonadab; but that chief nipped it in in the bud, and induced his followers to make their ancient nomadic habits of religious obligation. He had no leanings to asceticism, and his ordinances were not intended to make his followers ascetics. He forbade wine, but the term wine is to be understood strictly; there is no prohibition of any other intoxicant. His motives would be two-fold. First, the nomad regards agriculture and city life as meaner, less manly, less spiritual than his own. Jonadab wished to keep his clan to the higher life. Moreover, when the Israelites surrendered nomad life to settle on the farms and in towns, they corrupted their worship of Jehovah by combining it with the superstitions and immoral rites of the Canaanite baals, to whom, as they thought, they owed their corn and wine and oil ("for she did not know that I gave her the grain and the new wine and the oil . . . which they used for Baal."-Hos. 28). Recently, under Ahab and Jezebel, the worship of Baal had greatly developed. The cultivation of corn and of the wine seemed to lead directly to Baalworship; and it would seem to Jonadab that by cutting off his people from any connection with agriculture he would preserve the purity and simplicity of their ancient worship of Jehovah."
The above is the account given by the Rev. William Henry Bennett, M.A., Litt.D., D.D., Professor of Old Testament Exegesis in Hackney and New Colleges, London; and it is the account that virtually all students of the subject concur in. Therefore, any persons who today feel like becoming Rechabites, if they wish to be genuine, must vacate their houses and set up tents to live in; and they must not sow seed; in addition to abstaining from wine. The whole body of farmers are debarred by their occupation from the privilege of membership in this great order.
Note, too, an inference from the words of Jeremiah, “in the
house of Jehovah"-"And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites bowls full of yayin, and cups; and I said unto them, Drink ye yayin."
What are those bowls of yayin and cups doing "in the house of Jehovah," if yayin was an evil and forbidden thing? Evidently a large supply (there must have been a considerable number of Rechabites to be served) of yayin was kept in God's house.
In Deuteronomy, 14.24-26, we have all the proof needed of the hospitable attitude of the Old Testament toward both wine (yayin) and strong drink.
[From the Crown, Newark, N. J.]
"THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE SALOON."
Misleading Article by an Anti-Saloon League Leader.
HEN an unusually discriminating monthly like the Review
WH of Reviews lends its prestige to an article on a vital social
problem, the uninformed reader is entitled to a correct statement of facts and to an interpretation of them that does not mislead directly or by inference. Measured by this simple standard, the article by the New York district superintendent of the AntiSaloon League, published in the July number, 1913, of the Review of Reviews, under the title "The Campaign against the Saloon," fails utterly.
The very first paragraph of the article contains the surprising news that the United States "is first as a beer-drinking nation and second as a consumer of distilled liquors among the nations of the world." No authority is cited. We are asked to take the word of an unknown. In regard to the actual consumption of liquors, the truth-seeking reader will be more inclined to accept the statements of the British Board of Trade, made under date 1911, in response to an order of the House of Commons. It is the latest available publication containing official comparative data of the consumption of beer and distilled liquors for the different principal countries using these beverages. These are the figures: Per Capita Consumption of Beer in 1909.
Thus our country ranks fifth and not first in the consumption of beer per head of population. According to the work of Grosjahn and Kaupp, it really occupies the sixth place, as Italy is given as outstripping the United States in the use of beer.