How did Joseph, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, think God thought about wine?
Josephus, the ancient Jewish historian, answers this question in the middle of his telling the story of Joseph. According to Josephus, Joseph told one of his fellow prisoners that:
- God gives wine to men to do good.
- The sharing of wine is a pledge of faithfulness and mutual confidence among people.
- Wine puts an end to quarrels.
- Wine takes passion and grief out of the minds of the drinkers.
- Wine makes people cheerful.
This at least is what I make of the following paragraph in the writings of Josephus. “God bestows the fruit of the vine upon men for good; which wine is poured out to him, and is the pledge of fidelity and mutual confidence among men; and puts an end to their quarrels, takes away passion and grief out of the minds of them that use it, and makes them cheerful.” (ebook location 2569)
Apparently Joseph felt it necessary to tell the cupbearer this information before he interpreted the cupbearer’s dream. If you are familiar with the story in Genesis 40, the cupbearer would soon forget Joseph’s kindness, leaving him in prison for two years before Joseph would be brought before Pharaoh to interpret the king’s dream and then made ruler of Egypt.
Today I want to encourage us to enjoy the good things God has given us and to always use them for good. Today and throughout this holiday season, may you enjoy an abundance of the good of the fruit of the vine and all other blessings which the earth produces!
In doing so, may we always keep in mind that Solomon warns us:
Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. Proverbs 20:1 NIV
Or in the version in which I first learned it:
Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. Proverbs 20:1 KJV
(As a side note: I continue to make a choice to abstain from all alcoholic drink, yet I recognize that there are truly righteous uses for alcohol. My story is not your story. Nor is my calling yours. They are mine. You have your own. Live out your story and calling well.)
The book quoted is The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged, which can be purchased on Amazon.