The jar of sour wine (Jn 19:29-19:29)

“A jar

Full of sour wine

Was standing there.

Thus,

They put a sponge

Full of the sour wine

On a branch

Of hyssop.

They held it

To his mouth.”

σκεῦος ἔκειτο ὄξους μεστόν· σπόγγον οὖν μεστὸν τοῦ ὄξους ὑσσώπῳ περιθέντες προσήνεγκαν αὐτοῦ τῷ στόματι.

John indicated that a jar full of sour wine was standing there (σκεῦος ἔκειτο ὄξους μεστόν).  Thus, the Roman soldiers placed (περιθέντες) a sponge full of the sour wine (οὖν μεστὸν τοῦ ὄξους) on a branch of hyssop (ὑσσώπῳ).  They held it to his mouth (προσήνεγκαν αὐτοῦ τῷ στόματι).  John was the only canonical gospel writer who used this term ὑσσώπῳ that means hyssop or a stalk or stem of hyssop.  This might have been a connection to the original Passover, where the Israelites used hyssop branches to smear blood on their doorposts.  All the synoptics agreed with John that the people around the cross tried to give Jesus some kind of sour wine to drink.  Mathew, chapter 27:48, said that one of the bystanders ran to get a sponge (καὶ εὐθέως δραμὼν εἷς ἐξ αὐτῶν καὶ λαβὼν σπόγγον).  He filled it with sour wine or vinegar (πλήσας τε ὄξους).  Then he put it on a stick or reed (καὶ περιθεὶς καλάμῳ) to give Jesus something to drink (ἐπότιζεν αὐτόν).  Mark, chapter 15:36,said that someone ran to get a sponge (δραμὼν δέ τις).  He filled this sponge with sour wine or vinegar (καὶ γεμίσας σπόγγον ὄξους).  Then he put it on a stick or reed (περιθεὶς καλάμῳ) to give Jesus something to drink (ἐπότιζεν αὐτόν).  Luke, chapter 23:36, said that the soldiers (καὶ οἱ στρατιῶται) also mocked Jesus (ἐνέπαιξαν δὲ αὐτῷ).  They came near to Jesus (προσερχόμενοι,) and offered him some sour wine (ὄξος προσφέροντες αὐτῷ).  In all the four canonical gospels, people offered Jesus this sour wine (ὄξους), a common Roman soldier drink of vinegar mixed with water.  This might also have been an anesthetic to ease the pain.  Thus, this action might have been an act of compassion for Jesus hanging on the cross.  This sour wine or vinegar might also have been a reference to Psalm 69:21, where the psalmist complained that they gave him vinegar to drink.  Have you tasted sour wine?

17 thoughts on “The jar of sour wine (Jn 19:29-19:29)

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