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Vinegar, from the French vin aigre, meaning sour wine, is used to translate the Hebrew word of the Old Testament, pronounced koe-metz, meaning pungent or fermented, and the Greek word of the New Testament, pronounced ox-os, meaning sour wine. During Bible History, vinegar was usually produced from grapes, however it can be made from any liquid which is capable of being converted into alcohol; the sugar in the liquid (such as fruit juice) when combined with the suitable yeast produces alcohol and carbon dioxide gas i.e. wine. When exposed to the air, the alcohol in the wine, by means of certain bacteria, combines with oxygen to form acetic acid and water i.e. vinegar.

Grapes Vinegar In The Bible

Nazirites were prohibited from consuming vinegar:

"And The Lord said to Moses, "Say to the people of Israel, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to The Lord, he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink, and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, not even the seeds or the skins" (Numbers 6:1-4 RSV)

Vinegar was also used as a condiment:

"And at mealtime Boaz said to her, "Come here, and eat some bread, and dip your morsel in the wine [the original Hebrew word was for vinegar]" So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her parched grain; and she ate until she was satisfied" (Ruth 2:14 RSV)

Vinegar was offered to Jesus Christ, twice, as He was crucified. The first, which He refused, was a mixture of vinegar and a narcotic herb which had pain-killing effects, while the second, which He accepted, was likely the common drink of workers and soldiers known as posca, which was a mixture of vinegar, water and eggs:

The first:

"As they went out, they came upon a man of Cyrene, Simon by name; this man they compelled to carry His cross [see Stauros]. And when they came to a place called Golgotha [see Where Was Jesus Crucified?], which means the place of a skull, they offered Him wine to drink, mingled with gall; but when He tasted it, He would not drink it. And when they had crucified Him, they divided His garments among them by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over Him there." (Matthew 27:32-36 RSV)

The second:

"When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took His garments and made four parts, one for each soldier; also His tunic [see Clothing In Bible Times]. But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom; so they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be." This was to fulfil the Scripture, "They parted My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots." So the soldiers did this."

"But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother [see Mary], and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene [see Mary of Magdala]. When Jesus saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing near, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home." [see Aunt Mary?]

"After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said, to fulfil the Scripture, "I thirst." A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to His mouth. When Jesus had received the vinegar, He said, "It is finished"; and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit." (John 19:23-30 RSV)

Fact Finder: What was the name of the man who buried the body of Jesus Christ in his own tomb?
See Joseph Of Arimathea

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