Hosea 4:11 reads (NKJV, emphasis added):

“Harlotry, wine, and new wine enslave the heart.

What's the difference between "wine" and "new wine"? Is it that "wine" is alcoholic while "new wine" is not, or is there a different distinction?

  • Unfermented liqour is not 'wine' : it is grape juice. 'New wine' is fermented but not aged. It is non-vintage.
    – Nigel J
    May 11 at 17:51

2 Answers 2


New wine is Strong's Heb. 8492, tirosh. (1) It means the must,or freshly pressed grape juice. It is not yet fermented.

Wine is Strong's Heb. 3196, yayin. (2) It is the fermented grape juice. It is the cause of intoxication which taken in excess leads to loss of control.

The sense of Hosea 4:11 is the connection between whordom and intoxication. It is a condition of compounding sins. Taken together it is the darkening of the heart and the senses which leads to lack of judgment, perverting the will, debasing actions.

Both of them together takes away understanding, and compounds the sins. The fresh wine adds the sense of newly committed sins.

Excerpt from Barnes' Notes on Hos. 4:11:

"Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart - (Literally, "takes away"). Wine and fleshly sin are pictured as blended in one, to deprive man of his affections and reason and understanding, and to leave him brutish and irrational." Source: here


  1. Strong's Heb. 8492 tirosh - Biblehub

  2. Strong's Heb. 3196 yayin - Biblehub

  • 3
    Note that "new wine" would be available only during harvest. How Long Does It Take for Grapes to Ferment? says: "In general, primary fermentation usually lasts about three to seven days. … yeast cells multiply, after which they consume sugars … and turn them into wine. Approximately 70 percent of the total alcohol content is created during primary fermentation.". That is, freshly crushed grapes will become noticeably alcoholic within a few days. I suspect that sweet new wine would have been a seasonal treat. May 11 at 19:55
  • Interesting point, Ray.
    – Gina
    May 11 at 21:13
  • +1. Good answer.
    – Dottard
    May 11 at 22:15
  • Thank you for your reply, Gina. To make sure I understand, how does new wine enslave the heart? Is it that unfermented must represent new sins, or is there more to the meaning?
    – The Editor
    May 13 at 13:03
  • The conjunction "and" links all three together, so best not to try to make "new wine" stand on its own. It is part of a combination as Barnes' Notes pointed out. Mixing the old with the new and acting a whore or harlot is all 3 together a part of the darkening of the heart.
    – Gina
    May 13 at 13:25

According to Rashi, wine refers to [old] wine. NIV translation include this understanding

10 “They will eat but not have enough; they will engage in prostitution but not flourish, because they have deserted the Lord to give themselves

11 to prostitution; old wine and new wine take away their understanding.

A reference may help to understand why mentioned 'old wine' then 'new wine'.

and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” (John 2:10 NIV)

Old wine was the best wine, when it was gone, then the new wine was served, as by then the people were so drunk that they lost their consciousness, couldn't tell what was good. Hosea 4:11 mentioned old wine and new wine implied that the Israelite drank heavily.

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