Does Deuteronomy 14:26 Justify Social Drinking?
We must be honest and fair with this text. There are many verses such as Isaiah 28:7 and Micah 2:11 that prohibit the use of alcoholic beverages since they destroy the influential example of a Christian (Matthew 5:16; Romans 14:21; 1 Timothy 5:23), impair the mind (Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-35), and would prevent a soul from entering into God's everlasting kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21).
In the context, Moses is giving commands on the tithes (Deuteronomy 14:22-29). For example, if a Jew had 100 bushels of wheat, he would have given 10% - 10 bushels of wheat. It was God's design to give to the Levites and priests the tithes for their religious service since they had not inherited a land inheritance (Leviticus 27:30-32; Numbers 18:26). The crops were taken to the tabernacle at Shiloh and later on taken to the physical temple in Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 12:5-7). God allowed a concession if they were not able to take their tithes because it was too far away - then they were to exchange it for money (Deuteronomy 14:24,25). They would buy oxen, grain, or vintage. They were not to consume the strong drink though. Hence, it was not for oneself, but for the Levite who purchased these items. They were to let the Levite offer the strong drink as a drink offering. The drink offering was to be poured out completely (Numbers 28:7). Additionally, the priests (Levites) were not to be drinkers when carrying out their spiritual duty (Leviticus 10:9). Thus, there must have been another purpose to the strong drink. Clearly, it was to be “poured out” totally with the offering (Deuteronomy 29:6).
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