Friday, May 6, 2016

How Beer ties into the Promise of Salvation

For eons mainstream historians have tried to make us believe that humanity made the transition from being hunter-gatherers to living in agricultural and urban societies, because of such mundane considerations as religion or people's desire to huddle up and be safe. A recent revolution has changed all that. Now we know the real reason for the agricultural revolution: beer!

Yes folks, people domesticated barley and brew beer millennia before they baked bread, and beer has saved humanity more than once since (watch the riveting and wonderfully entertaining documentary below if you don't believe it).

But if beer was such an important catalyst in human development, why is beer not mentioned in the Bible? It's generally accepted that the agricultural revolution is described in the late Patriarchal cycle, specifically when Jacob began to build booths for his cattle (Genesis 33:17). But where's the beer (not counting the names He-Brew and Beer-sheba for argument sake)?

The answer may very well lie in the word nazid, which comes from the verb zud, meaning to boil. Our word occurs six times in the Bible, divided over a mere three scenes:

(1) The prophet Haggai describes a complete meal in Haggai 2:12, which contains our word but no beer (which in antiquity would be a part of any well balanced meal).

(2) The prophet Elisha was called to the rescue when during a famine some prophets had concocted a brew (nazid) from unknown ingredients, and it was awful. Elisha ordered the men to add some qemah, and what that is we don't know but it has to do with a grain product, usually translated with meal or flour but that's just a guess. And the brew was fine! Could qemah have been hop?

(3) But most revealing is the use of our word nazid in the story of Esau (the hunter and man of the field) and Jacob (the home boy). One day Esau came home from hunting and found Jacob stirring some nazid (Genesis 25:27-34). Esau famously traded his birth right for some of it, and when father Isaac was about to dispense his blessings, he blessed Jacob who brought him a dish made from domesticated goat-kid and had little blessing left for Esau and his fresh kill (Genesis 27).

And as a footnote: it's generally assumed that Jacob tricked Isaac into blessing him, but that's patently untrue. Isaac was blind and Jacob's visual disguise would hardly have made much difference to Isaac. In his letter to the Hebrews, Paul wrote that Isaac knew very well what he was doing, and blessed his sons according to his understanding of the things to come (Hebrews 11:20).

And beer? Besides securing Jacob's blessing and Israel's future, beer brought people together and caused society.

Beer kept the ancients healthy by producing the 20th century wonder of antibiotics naturally. Beer caused the American Revolution and was responsible for a pre-computer Internet.

Because of beer, people invented refrigeration and machines that replaced child labor.

So next time you pop a cold one, proclaim of the immortal words of John Nash: I have respect for beer!


Oh, and watch this cheerful and most excellent documentary on How Beer Saved The World:

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