"Strong Drink"

Updated: Oct 29, 2021


Someone who read my last article asked a few questions.

"Hey Brent. I haven’t seen you in years. I hope you are doing well.

Would you mind answering a few questions for me?

I read your article and noticed you didn’t deal with Strong Drink or Shekar? What do you do with Deuteronomy 14:26?

Why did Nazarites give up wine and strong drink for a period of time if they did not drink when not under the vow? (Numbers 6:3)

Why were priests forbidden to drink when on service in the temple if it was not their practice to drink when off duty? (Leviticus 10:9)

Thank you. I’m not looking for a fight. I believe these questions have to be dealt with if we are to be honest scholars who submit fully to Scripture."

Before we deal with some of this, I want you to read II Peter 3:16.

2 Peter 3:16

As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

There is a spiritual movement in our country that seeks to upend what has historically been considered truth. We see it on every level. Political, Medical, Legal....even Spiritual.

The spiritual is what I am particularly concerned with right now. Christian people (Many of them young) who have grown up being taught certain things are finding themselves questioning those things they have been taught. One of those things is the use of alcohol as a beverage. This is a BIG discussion among church folk these days.

We should not mind people asking questions. There is much to learn and questions lead to answers. Also, we may not always be right on what we have been taught. Questions can lead us to confirm or deny our previously held beliefs.


What should be of concern though is this modern desire to question and upend seemingly everything that has anything to do with the doctrine of separation. Although there have been excesses in the past, the doctrine of separation is a biblical doctrine. It seems to me that many of these modern questioners (some bordering on sophistry) are always seeking to justify things that most Christians a generation ago would have considered "worldly." The more modern, contemporary, emergent forms of Christianity are the cauldron where, for the most part, this anti-separation brew boils, although it spills over into other persuasions as well.

What should also be of concern is this argumentative / debating spirit so prevalent today. I have seen this close up many times. This spirit is generally not wholesome and many times can cloud judgment. This spirit can be very deceptive. When a person is attempting only to defend himself and what he believes, it becomes more difficult to see the potential weaknesses and errors in what one is defending. The Bible teaches in 2 Timothy 2:24 that...."the servant of the Lord must not strive (to fight verbally); but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,"


I have had friends in my life, in the past, that loved to fight verbally. This spirit is not consistent with being the "servant of the Lord." A "servant" should have an altogether different spirit....perhaps one of humility!

Let us continue.

The Hebrew word (Lemma) for "strong drink" is written like this....


It could be transliterated and pronounced thusly - "shay khar"

This word, in its various forms is found 23 times, all in the Old Testament. The locations for this word are

Leviticus 10:9

Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:

Numbers 6:3

He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.

Numbers 28:7

And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the Lord for a drink offering.

Deuteronomy 14:26

And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,

Deuteronomy 29:6

Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: th