Tirosh and Gleukos

The Bible has a lot to say on the subject of “wine,” but unfortunately it does not specify what kind of ”wine” it is talking about. There are several words from different languages that get translated into the word ”wine.”  Yayin and tirosh from the Hebrew, oinos and gleukos from the Greek, and vinum from the Latin are all words that were translated into “wine” in the Bible. The word tirosh and gleukos refers to the grape itself, a newly finished product of grape such as grape juice, boiled grape juice (which is called must), or a cluster of grapes. The other three words have a dual meaning. They can refer to grape juice or to fermented grape juice whereas tirosh and gleukos never refer to an alcoholic substance. Even though by definition tirosh and gleukos cannot mean an alcoholic wine, we are going to look at some verses translated “wine” and prove that they cannot possibly be referring to an alcoholic beverage .


Since the word tirosh has no alcoholic meaning behind it, yet is translated “wine,” it should be pretty easy to see why the verses we are about to look at do not refer to alcoholic “wine.”

The first mention of tirosh is in Genesis 27:28. The verse is talking about Isaac’s blessing to Jacob and says, “Therefore may God give you … plenty of grain and wine.” The typical person who does not want to see that this is clearly grapes or grape juice would jump to the conclusion that God wants us to have plenty of food and alcohol. Besides, God wants us to be happy and alcohol makes me happy, right? If we look at the context of the verse Isaac is blessing Jacob with natural blessings such as grain, dew, and the fatness of the earth. Besides the fact that tirosh doesn’t refer to alcoholic beverages anyway, we can see that Isaac is blessing Jacob with the bounty of the earth which God provides; not something that is fermented and manmade.

Another great example of the word tirosh is found in Isaiah 65:8. It says, “Thus says the LORD: ‘As the new wine is found in the cluster … ‘” How can there be alcoholic “wine” in the cluster of a grape while still on the vine? Once again it is very evident that tirosh, though translated ”wine” does not refer to an alcoholic beverage.

One last look at the word tirosh is found in Deut. 11:13, 14 which talks about gathering ” … in your grain, your new wine, and your oil.” The verse is once again referring to natural God given blessings of rain, grain, oil and grape juice or grapes. It is important to note that grapes and grape juice were a very large part of the Old Testament economy. Wealth was determined by how well your crops and animals did each year. Certainly, it would be a great blessing of the Lord’s to be given plenty of rain which in turn bears grain, grapes, and oil.

Other verses that have the word tirosh in them are Deut. 33 :28; Hos. 2:8; Joel 1:10; 2: 18, 19, Jer. 31:10-12; Micah 6:15; Num. 18:12; and Psalm 4:7. It is important to note that tirosh is never given a negative connotation [as being fermented] or is frowned upon in scriptures. This shows God’s approval and blessing in grapes and grape juice.


Gleukos is the Greek equivalent to the word tirosh. Unfortunately, it is very rare to find the word gleukos in the New Testament. When the Old Testament was being translated into Greek (known as the Septuagint) they did not translate the Hebrew word tirosh into the equivalent word of gleukos. Instead they translated several uses of the word tirosh into oinos. This fact alone is evidence that you cannot believe the word “wine” in the Bible is always referring to an alcoholic beverage. You need to look at the context of the verse and apply common sense to determine the meaning of the word “wine.”

One example of the Hebrew word tirosh being translated into the Greek word oinos is in Proverbs 3:10 ” … And your vats will overflow with new wine.” The King James Version translates vats into presses. Clearly, we can see that tirosh was the correct word to be used for this verse, and should have been translated gleukos in the Septuagint, since it is referring to a freshly pressed grape.

Other verses that translate the Hebrew word tirosh into the Greek word oinos are Psalms 4:7; Is. 65:8; and Joel 1:10; 2:24.

As mentioned earlier, it is hard to find the Hebrew word tirosh translated into the Greek word gleukos, but it is even harder to find the Hebrew word yayin translated into the Greek word gleukos. One such rare occurrence is in Job 32:19 which reads, “Indeed my belly is like wine that has no vent; it is ready to burst like new wineskins.” The word gleukos is fittingly used here since it is referring to grape juice that has not yet fermented.

Our last look at the word gleukos comes from Acts 2:13, which reads from the NKN as “Others mocking said, ‘They are full of new wine. ‘” It is Pentecost, and the Holy Spirit had been poured out on Peter and other devout men from several places. They were all given a variation of the gift of tongues which allowed them to speak to several men all with different languages and they all heard each other in their own language. Some other men who were there began to mock the group that had received the Holy Spirit saying that they were filled with gleukos? We have previously established that gleukos is the equivalent to tirosh, both which mean grape juice. It is safe to assume that these devout men were well known, and not partakers of alcoholic beverages. The mocking men knew that these devout men did not drink alcoholic beverages, yet these devout men were acting strange to them. So what better sarcastic insult is there but that these devout men were drunk on grape juice? I suppose this argument may not be the best, but one thing is sure, the mocking men accused the devout men of being drunk on grape juice (gleukos).

By Jason Hamilton

4 thoughts on “Tirosh and Gleukos

  1. I really think you need to study Hosea 4:11 if you think tirosh is never given a negative connotation in the bible.

    • The article says, “the word tirosh has no alcoholic meaning behind it, yet is translated “wine.”’ That phrase alone gives the word tirosh a negative connotation since it relates it to an alcoholic substance. However, tirosh never refers to an alcoholic substance. So how is it connected to whoredom (fornication) and wine (alcoholic) in Hosea 4:11?
      “(1) By ‘whoredom’ is here to be understood, as throughout the prophecy, illicit worship rendered by the chosen people to heathen gods. This worship was spiritual fornication, and by it their hearts were captivated – literally, ‘taken away’ from that exclusive trust and allegiance which they owed to God as Jehovah of hosts and their covenant King. (2) By yayin, wine – the type of sensual gratification, – their hearts had also been captivated – ‘drawn away’ from that supreme affection which they owed to God as their Divine Redeemer and Benefactor. (3) By tirosh, the fruit of the vine – the type of natural, earthly good, – their hearts had been captivated – ‘taken away’ from God as the infinite Goodness and the Fountain of spiritual joy. This was the threefold apostasy of which the children of Abraham had been guilty; they went after strange gods instead of the true God; their best affections centered in sensual pleasures instead of being fixed upon the Divine love; and their estimate of good was limited to earthly things (represented by tirosh, one of the most delicious of natural elements) instead of embracing Him ‘from whom all blessings flow.’” (Dr. Frederic Richard Lees, F.S.A., The Temperance Bible-Commentary, National Temperance Society and Publication House, 1870, p. 220)

  2. There is an epidemic of wine consumption in the church today. When is enibreation ok, after one drink, two? Because Gods word says wine makes the heart merry, is not a license to be merry, its starting what the effects are. I know plenty of lost people that have said, I thought Christian’s dont drink, this was the way it was once but now Christians would rather fulfill themselves rather than die to self to win the lost.

  3. It seems to me that an anti-alcohol bias is applied to the understanding of ‘gluekos’.

    The post above says, “One such rare occurrence is in Job 32:19 which reads, “Indeed my belly is like wine that has no vent; it is ready to burst like new wineskins.”

    “New” wine, that is, “grape juice” does not cause a new wineskin to be ready to burst. Rather, the readiness to burst is a result of grape juice having fermented, causing gasses which blow up the wineskins like a helium bottle filling up a balloon. New wineskins have the capacity to stretch (which is why you don’t put new win into old wineskins – Mark 2:22); the only reason they would be ready to burst is because they have stretched to their limits, because of the gasses created by the fermentation process. Job’s belly is ready to burst; it’s full of gas; it’s not in the beginning stages of fermentation, but in the later stages.

    Peter plainly says the mockers suspected the disciples of being drunk; he does not treat their mocking as a sarcastic insult; he treats the mocking as a legitimate accusation, and his response is appropriate: drunks tend to drink into the night, and then sleep it off in the morning. Yes, there could be exceptions to that, when a group of people are drunk at 9am, but regardless, Peter plainly says they are not drunk; he responded to the charge as if it were a serious charge.

    I believe the confusion arises because “new wine” indeed appears to be non-fermented; you put new wine into new winebottles so that it can ferment safely, and no one who drinks alcoholic (“old”) wine then wants grape juice (“new wine” – Luke 5:39).

    The problem is that many of our translations mistranslate “gleukos” as “new wine”; it would be better translated as “sweet (as in ‘glucose’) wine”.

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