The Bible, at least sometimes, recommends the use of intoxicating liquor. If this is not the case, what is meant by the verses in Proverbs 31:6, 7?
Here is how the text in question reads:
"Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy heart. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more" (Proverbs 31:6, 7, KJV).
Should someone desire to use this text as a pretext to drink alcoholic beverages, he would have to meet one of two conditions in order to qualify:
1. He would have to be in the last stages of a terminal illness, with no modern medical help, and no medication to relieve the pain.
2. He would have to be a manic depressive with no psychiatric help, no medication, and no Christian counselling.
The entire section from verses 1 to 9 is a protest against kings and persons in responsibility using strong drink. The warning is:
. . . it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. (Verses 4, 5)
The chapter urges the king's attention to the cause of the poor and needy. Instead of encouraging the use of alcohol, the inspired writer is saying that it should be renounced by people in health and strength. The strong drink was to be reserved only for use as a medicine, for someone who is terminally ill, "ready to perish," especially in Bible times when there were no pain-killing drugs. It was also used for the manic depressive. The Bible teaches that it should be renounced by people in health and strength and prosperity.
Henry Feyerabend is the speaker of the "It is Written" telecast for Canada and evangelist for the North American Division working in connection with the Media Center evangelistic program.