Bread Corn Wine
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Bread Corn Wine (Revelation 6.6)

"Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, 'Two pounds [or "about 1 kilogram"] of wheat for a day's wages, [Greek "a denarius"] and six pounds [or "about 3 kilograms"] of barley for a day's wages, [Greek "a denarius"] and do not damage the oil and the wine!'" (Revelation 6.6)✞

Day's Wages

Wheat in fieldInstead of buying bread by the loaf which would have been the norm, bread in the Roman Empire in times of famine was sold in pieces by weight. It was a staple baked from a dough of flour, salt and water. In Leviticus 26.26, it is the threat of God that if the people are disobedient, "When I cut off your supply of bread, ten women will be able to bake your bread in one oven, and they will dole out the bread by weight. You will eat, but you will not be satisfied." It is also the warning in Ezekiel 4.16, "He then said to me: 'Son of man, I am about to cut off the food supply in Jerusalem. The people will eat rationed food in anxiety and drink rationed water in despair.'" Starvation and lack of adequate bread was a great threat in those times.✞

Deeply Rooted

Olive OilPeople could however buy wine from the Latin "vinum" and oil obtained from the fruit of the olive tree even when there was no corn. The olive tree and the grape vine were much more deeply-rooted than corn and able to find water that corn could not. We need to note that, "Corn is intended to mean a cereal crop and not the maize of North America." Olive trees and grape vines could therefore stand a much greater drought than the corn crop. When Jacob in Genesis 43.11 had to send down to Egypt with a plea for corn in the days of the famine in the time of Joseph, he was still able to send delicacies with his sons. "Then their father Israel said to them, 'If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift — a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds.'" This was a situation in which wine and oil and other delicacies were plentiful and corn prohibitively expensive. It was the equivalent of a time when luxuries were plentiful and the necessities of life scarce.

"Bread Corn Wine"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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