Isaiah 1:23 and the sin of diluting wine

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Puritan Board Graduate
Isaiah 1:

The Unfaithful City

21How the faithful city
has become a whore,[d]
she who was full of justice!
Righteousness lodged in her,
but now murderers.
22Your silver has become dross,
your best wine mixed with water.
23Your princes are rebels
and companions of thieves.
Everyone loves a bribe
and runs after gifts.
They do not bring justice to the fatherless,
and the widow's cause does not come to them.

Does this verse alone negate the oft alleged dilution of wine with water that was common in the OT? Even if we grant the practice is that a sign of a city's "whoredom"? If God gave us pure wine, why would we want to dilute it other than saying that He didn't know what He was doing?

Does this text support said conclusion?


Puritan Board Sophomore
Interesting, for sure.

I don't know if this can be used in rebutting the oft alleged dilution of wine with water. The passage does not conemen the mixing water with all wine. The passage mentions them doing it with their best wine. It may not even matter and just be semantics, but I noticed the distinction. I believe God wants us to enjoy wine but just to not get drunk.


Staff member
I think the verse is pointing out the sin of misrepresenting something by adulterating it.

Even so, I think it is a sin to dilute wine, at least the wine that I am drinking.



Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member

22. Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water. Isaiah speaks metaphorically, and by two comparisons shows here, that though the outward appearance of affairs was not openly overturned, yet their condition was changed and corrupted, so as to be widely different from what it had formerly been: for he says that dross now shines instead of gold, and that the wine, though it retains its color, has lost its flavour. "Though thou still make an empty show," saith the Prophet, "yet nothing pure will be found in thee: that wine which was wont to be Stare in thee is corrupted; and though its color deceive the eye, its taste shows that it has been mixed."

All this means nothing more than that the Jews should lay aside hypocrisy, and should begin to confess their sins, and no longer flatter themselves after the manner of hypocrites. The comparisons here employed are exceedingly well adapted to this end, for dross bears some resemblance to gold; and in like manner, the color of wine mixed with water resembles that of pure wine; and yet both are very far from having that purity of which they make an outward show. In like manner hypocrites, by their hypocrisy, may be said to assume a false color of silver, though they are of no more value than dross, and indeed are the more detestable on this account, that, though they are exceedingly wicked, yet, with not less treachery than baseness, they present to God and to men those hollow pretensions by which they cloak their malice.
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