Thoughts on Proverbs 31:6–7

“Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;
let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.”

—Proverbs 31:6–7

Someone recently asked me about this passage—specifically whether it condones the consumption of alcohol as a remedy for depression. I spent a few hours last Sunday afternoon compiling some information. The document (WordPDF) doesn’t contain my conclusions yet. I had to set it aside for the time being. (My dissertation continues to call!) But it does have a lot of helpful discussion from a number of commentaries. (All the links are to Libronix resources.) I thought I’d pass it along for anyone who might find it helpful.

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6 Responses to Thoughts on Proverbs 31:6–7

  1. Linda May 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    I think this means that if someone is dying, give them something to take away physicial or emotional pain. Today, that could mean strong pain medicine, or even perhaps assisted death. To “remember their misery no more”…………sounds permanent to me.

  2. mark August 12, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    Aggree with the above. My wife is in a Catholic Hospice waiting for death to carry her forward onto her next journeywith the Lord. St John’s Hospice of Denver, Colorado has a Happy-Trolly that comes round once a day, 3pm’ish, with Wine, Spirits and some nibbles. (Maximum is a small-double per patient and guest.) I cannot think of a more appropiate time to embibe, if for no other reason than to ease the fear that some patients are obviously feeling. Thats just the begining and YES, nowadays, it could and should be seen as a collective statement to include strong pain meds.

  3. Bob Kraft December 19, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    I am not any means a bible scholar or authorty but the word perish could imply a condition where one was not at peace with his/her soul and needing an escape from the looming doom. Denying God’s power has been a subject of study to me. Faith witout works is dead, works without faith is dead. Our work is the belief in our faith. God’s blessing is a peace that is not understood by this world and therefore a dependance on an alternate relief is needed. Paul said,”I have run the race and I have finished the race.” Spiritual comfort is what is sought in all forms of worldly manifestations. This world is driven by the flesh and man’s attempt to became God through the form of technology. Trust in man’s technology is denying God. There is no place in the bible for medical training to become a doctor, or a “miracle medicine” manufacturer. Man made physicians, God made man. He also made a Son that has opened a way to Heaven for whosoever will believe: without drugs.

  4. Andrew April 8, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    To the people who think this refers to death only there is a part that says “to forget their poverty”…poverty is not caused by being near death, this was simply refering to those people whose lives have turned out less than favorable…as wishful as it is to think that the bible would never condone “drinking your sorrows away” that is exactly what it is saying to do, and quite frankly it works quite well for me

  5. Benjamin April 20, 2013 at 4:07 am #

    I agree with Andrew, it seems fairly obvious to me that in this passage that is what it is implying. Of course everything in moderation but it helps. Matthew 7:1 Judge not lest you be so judged. I would think that people omitting proverbs 31:7 are being somewhat prejudice about their fellow man, I would be more concerned about you thinking poorly of another person based soley on them drinking to forget stress and tension possibly due to overwork in work and such.

  6. Scott Backle July 4, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

    I know from personal experience that alcohol used in a manner to escape life and numb or passions is a sin. It is a disorder of worship and becomes the slave master called addiction. From the responses above I would recommend rehab and addiction support groups. THIS IS NO LIGHT MATTER. Read Pro. 9:13-18 drug and alcohol addiction is utter folly. Keep on getting high and drunk and be sure you will wake up one day in an institution, jail or dead. Addiction is modern idolatry don’t kid yourselves. Our trust and all our anxieties belong to Christ who are you O man to say this evening I will not rely on the Lord but rather on Jack Daniels. Do you seek God and wisdom in your drunkenness. Your just playing the fool and need to repent