vin'-e-ger (chomets; oxos): Vinegar, whose use as a condiment (Ru 2:14) needs no comment, is formed when a saccharine fluid passes through a fermentation that produces acetic acid. In the ancient world vinegar was usually made of wine, although any fruit juice can be utilized in its manufacture, and "vinegar of strong drink" (palm juice?) is mentioned in Nu 6:3. Undiluted vinegar is of course undrinkable, and to offer it to a thirsty man is mockery (Ps 69:21), but a mixture of water and vinegar makes a beverage that was very popular among the poor (Greek oxos, oxukraton, Latin posca--names applied also to diluted sour wine). It is mentioned in Nu 6:3 (forbidden to the Nazirite) and again in the Gospels in the account of the Crucifixion. The executioners had brought it in a vessel (Joh 19:29) for their own use and at first "offered" it to Christ, while keeping it out of reach (Lu 23:36). But at the end the drink was given Him on a sponge (Mr 15:36; Mt 27:48; Joh 19:29-30). In addition, the King James Version, following Textus Receptus of the New Testament, has "vinegar .... mingled with gall" in Mt 27:34, but this rests on a false reading, probably due to Ps 69:21, and the Revised Version (British and American) rightly has "wine." Vinegar, like all acids, is injurious to the teeth (Pr 10:26); and when it is combined with niter an effervescence is produced (Pr 25:20). The appropriateness of the last figure, however, is obscure, and Septuagint reads "as vinegar on a wound," causing pain.
Burton Scott Easton