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DRINK. The most common beverage of the Jews was water. This was procured chiefly in two ways: by means of cisterns, which were possessed by every well-appointed house (2Sam.17.18; Jer.38.6), and by means of wells, which were rare and were usually the possession of a clan or community.

Wine was also widely used, both in the form of new wine, called must, and fermented wine. In the heat of harvest, frequent use was made of a sour drink mixture of water and wine, and of a strong drink, called shekhar. How the latter was prepared is unknown. Wine was sometimes spiced to improve its taste. Wine was also made from pomegranates and possibly also from ripe dates and barley. The Mishna also speaks of honey-wine and cider.

Next to bread and vegetables, the most important food was milk, both of larger and smaller cattle, especially goat’s milk. This was usually kept in skins. Because of the hot climate, fresh milk soon became sour, but it was very effective for quenching thirst.——SB

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

See Food; Strong Drink.