Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-29:27 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. Proverbs 30-31 were added and preserved by the Holy Spirit. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 31:4-7: “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink; 5 Lest they drink and forget the law, And pervert the justice of all the afflicted. 6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to those who are bitter of heart. 7 Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his misery no more.”
Verses 4-5: The difference between “wine” and “intoxicating drink” was often what was added to increase its chemical strength, or the process by which it had been made. There is little, if any, difference between the two as to its dangerous effect: “forget the law, And pervert the justice of all the afflicted.” The regular practice of using alcoholic beverages dulls ones judgment and blurs both the lines created by “law,” and fair and balanced judgment of “the afflicted.” NOT ONLY ALCOHOL, but other things have the same effect, that is, being drunk with: authority; control; popularity; fame; beauty; pride; supremacy! Government officials and agents who refuse (or neglect) to obey the laws, and consider themselves above the justice they should provide (either by bribes or reputation) are openly showing they do not serve the public, but themselves, as though they were intoxicated by something.
Verses 6-7: Show proper, limited uses of alcohol: “strong drink” (more alcoholic than “wine”) to a dying patient or “wine,” (a milder level of alcohol than “strong drink”) to a depressed person. There is nothing wrong with administering pain-relieving drugs to someone dying in pain! There IS everything wrong with administering death-causing drugs to hasten someone’s death! Relieving pain leaves the door open for God to heal, causing the death is “playing God” by making that decision for Him!
Those who “are bitter of heart” have boxed themselves in with their emotions, and a mild form of alcohol (“wine”) can bring an easing of tension, thus allowing patients to re-think their problem(s).
A spiritual alternative to alcohol is seen in Hannah, who “in bitterness of soul…prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish” (1 Samuel 1:10). The New Testament tells Christians to: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Opening the Holy Spirit’s Bible is always better than opening the “spirits” in a long-necked bottle!
Truly, Wisdom still says, “do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.