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What Does the Bible Say About..Getting Drunk?

The Bible says we shouldn’t get drunk because it’s not wise. How then can we understand proverbs 31:6-7?


As with any other passage we should look at the entire context, not just a couple of verses. Maybe then we will get the full meaning.

“Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. [It is] not for kings, O Lemuel, [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. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:3-9)

The whole paragraph is advice to rulers not to do anything that might cause them to pervert justice. Drunkenness clouds the judgement, so people in authority should avoid it. Then come the verses you asked about. In the context it is not a command to get someone drunk. It is more like saying that if someone must get drunk it would be better that it be those who are not in authority. Then it continues the main idea, that those in authority must do nothing to interfere with justice.

One interpretation of the verses you ask about, then, would be that the only person who can really afford to get drunk is the man who is about to die anyway. Others may choose to get drunk to forget their misery. (The problem with that is that it doesn’t work.)