Alcoholic Drinks / Beer / Bible / Wine

“…while ‘strong drink’ remains the most frequent English translation of שֵׁכָר, confusion about its identity persists”

Today, while ‘strong drink’ remains the most frequent English translation of שֵׁכָר, confusion about its identity persists. The problem of rendering שֵׁכָר into English is best exemplified by the JPS translation of the Hebrew Bible, which uses ten terms for the single Hebrew word: “liquor”, “fermented drink” (with footnote ‘i.e. wine’), “other liquor”, “drink”, “strong drink”, “any strong drink”, “other intoxicant”, “any other intoxicant”, and “drunkards” (for drinkers of שֵׁכָר).

Michael M. Homan, “Beer, Barley, and שֵׁכָר in the Hebrew Bible” in Le David Maskil: A Birthday Tribute for David Noel Freedman, eds. Richard Elliott Friedman and William H.C. Propp (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2004), 26.