The Hebrew Bible specifically praises the mood-altering effects of alcohol. A parable in Judges has the trees asking the grape vine to be their king. The vine is not interested in the job, saying “Have I stopped yielding my new wine, which gladdens God and men, that I should go and wave above the trees?” Psalm 104 cites “wine that cheers the hearts of men” as a blessing from God. Proverbs speaks approvingly of alcohol as a comfort to the downtrodden: “Give strong drink to the hapless and wine to the embittered. Let them drink and forget their poverty, and put their troubles out of mind.” Wine figures prominently in the poetry of the Bible, perhaps most tellingly in the Song of Songs, where the lovers repeatedly declare that their mutual affection is better even than wine.
Jacob Sullum, Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use (58)