Do not drink wine poured in service to idols

The Literal Commandment

For the LORD will vindicate His people, 
 And will have compassion on His servants,
 When He sees that their strength is gone,
 And there is none remaining, bond or free.
And He will say, ‘Where are their gods,
 The rock in which they sought refuge?
Who ate the fat of their sacrifices,
 And drank the wine of their drink offering
 Let them rise up and help you,
 Let them be your hiding place!
 ‘See now that I, I am He, 
 And there is no god besides Me; 
 It is I who put to death and give life. 
 I have wounded and it is I who heal, 
 And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.(Deuteronomy 32:36-38)

 

In declaring that He alone is G-d, the Most High provides two examples of forbidden behavior that His people will have performed while wandering from Him: eating the fat of meat sacrificed to idols and drinking wine offered to idols.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

He explicitly admonishes those in Pergamum who violate this commandment:

But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.  (Revelation 2:14)

 

 

Pictures of Messiah

Messiah had unity with the Father:

I and the Father are one. (John 10:30)

 

In order to have that unity, He could not have ever entertained the thought of another god or the thought of an idol as god.  Such an idea is contrary to the Person of G-d.

Do not tremble and do not be afraid; 
Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it?
And you are My witnesses.
Is there any God besides Me,
Or is there any other Rock?
I know of none. (Isaiah 44:8)

 

Declare and set forth your case;
Indeed, let them consult together.
Who has announced this from of old?
Who has long since declared it?
Is it not I, the LORD?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A righteous God and a Savior;
There is none except Me. (Isaiah 45:21)

  

This commandment pictures the unity Messiah has with the Father.  He has no involvement with idols or idolatry.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

We know that Messiah did not sin (Hebrews 4:15) and so we know Messiah fulfilled this commandment by not drinking wine poured in service to idols.

 

Traditional Observance

The traditional observance of this commandment is found in its literal meaning: not drinking wine poured in service to idols.  If a winery or restaurant offers a portion of its wine to an idol, it would make that wine non-kosher and unsuitable for consumption by those who know G-d.

The Sefer HaChinuch offers this insight:

At the root of the precept lies the purpose to remove and eradicate the whole matter of idolatry and everything related to it, from between our eyes and our thoughts.1

  

In the Apostolic Writings

We find this commandment affirmed at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15:

For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. (Acts 15:28-29)

 

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today and should not drink wine poured out to idols.

 

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Footnotes

1. Charles Wengrove, trans., Sefer HaChinuch (Jerusalem:Feldheim Publishers, 1984), vol 1, p411 [back]


Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 203
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 5
  • Mishneh Torah Book Holiness
  • Mishneh Torah Category 26- Forbidden Foods
  • Reference Deuteronomy 32:38
  • Scripture Book Deuteronomy
  • Chapter 32
  • Verse 38
  • English Who ate the fat of their sacrifices, And drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise up and help you, Let them be your hiding place!
  • Hebrew לח אֲשֶׁר חֵלֶב זְבָחֵימוֹ יֹאכֵלוּ, {ר} יִשְׁתּוּ יֵין נְסִיכָם; {ס} יָקוּמוּ, וְיַעְזְרֻכֶם-- {ר} יְהִי עֲלֵיכֶם, סִתְרָה. {ס}
  • Greek 38 ὧν τὸ στέαρ τῶν θυσιῶν αὐτῶν ἠσθίετε καὶ ἐπίνετε τὸν οἶνον τῶν σπονδῶν αὐτῶν; ἀναστήτωσαν καὶ βοηθησάτωσαν ὑμῖν καὶ γενηθήτωσαν ὑμῖν σκεπασταί.
  • Parashah 52- Vayelech
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 111
  • Sef. Hach. Reference Exodus 34:12, 15
  • Sef. Hach. Command The ban on eating or drinking anything from an offering to an idol
  • Category Idolatry
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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