Mark 15:23, What was Jesus Offered to Drink?

Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.

//In Mark, the first Gospel written, Jesus is offered a drink of wine mixed with an expensive incense. Myrrh was sometimes added to food to enhance the aroma and taste, and it’s likely the soldiers crucifying Jesus carried a portion of this wine mixture for themselves. Amos 2:8 refers to the “wine of the condemned,” as if its provision were a final kindness. Perhaps in a refusal to lighten the suffering, Jesus refuses their gift.

Matthew, in copying Mark’s story, dramatically changes the atmosphere of the scene. He changes the word myrrh to gall, which generically means just about any bitter substance. Perhaps Matthew doesn’t want any confusion with a “good” gift (he has already explained that the wise men came bringing myrrh to the baby Jesus), but more likely, Matthew is taking liberties with the passage to quote from Psalms 69:21: They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst. In Matthew’s version, Jesus takes a sip, and apparently refuses to drink because of its taste.

The confusion between these two accounts actually regards the first of two drinks. Later, in both Matthew and Mark, Jesus is offered another drink from a sponge, this time a wine vinegar, which jibes with John’s account. Jesus is twice offered wine; first, he refuses, then he accepts.

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