Let Him Drink and Forget His Poverty

The idea of drowning one’s sorrows in a bottle of booze is common in our culture, but who would actually encourage this behavior? Surely you would never find such advice in the Bible, or would you?

“Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.” – Bible or Not?

Believe it or not, today’s quote is advice found in the Bible. Shocking? Well, maybe, but only if you take it out of context. Let’s look at the entire passage from Proverbs 31, where King Lemuel is rehearsing the advice given to him by his mother.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Nor for princes intoxicating drink;
Lest they drink and forget the law,
And pervert the justice of all the afflicted.
Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
And wine to those who are bitter of heart.
Let him drink and forget his poverty,
And remember his misery no more.

– Proverbs 31:4-7 NKJV

So, in context, we see that the mother of Lemuel was giving her son advice on how to be a good king.She was setting the bar higher for him, that he would not forget the law of God and that he would not impair his judgment with drink. If he was to be a righteous king, he should lay off the booze. Then she contrasts this desired behavior against those of a lower estate, those not worthy in her eyes to be king.

So the Bible in fact is not giving advice to drink in order to forget misery, but rather giving advice to do the opposite. And the bar continues to be higher for us today as well, seeing that God describes His people as kings.

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

– Rev 5:9-10

Be a king (and queen) for God, and stay sober minded.

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