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Mark 15:23

ESV And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.
NIV Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.
NASB And they tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh; but He did not take it.
CSB They tried to give him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.
NLT They offered him wine drugged with myrrh, but he refused it.
KJV And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.
NKJV Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it.

What does Mark 15:23 mean?

During the Passover dinner, as Jesus established the first Lord's Supper, He told the disciples, "I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God" (Mark 14:25). In Jesus' day, people are not allowed to openly publicly mourn for a crucifixion victim. Jewish women find a way around this. Tradition states that the women offer crucifixion victims wine mixed with myrrh in the spirit of Proverbs 31:6–7: "Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more." Myrrh is a weak narcotic, and the women mean to dull the pain a little, but the pain relief can also lengthen the life of the victim.

Jesus has two reasons to reject the offering. He has already established that He will not drink wine until He can drink it in celebration of the fruition of His sacrifice, when the church joins with Him in heaven (Matthew 26:29). The second reason Jesus rejects the drink is that He is not there to be comfortable. He is there to feel the weight of pain and humiliation that sin stains humanity with.

Proverbs 31:1–9 is a short dissertation given by a king's mother to her son, possibly Solomon. As a king, the son has responsibilities that require more discipline than normal men. He must not be distracted from sound judgment by indulging in many women. He must enforce justice for the disadvantaged. And he must not dull his wits with alcohol. Before her possibly tongue-in-cheek order to give the perishing wine to ease their distress, she says,
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted. Proverbs 31:4–5
Jesus is not a helpless victim who needs to find chemical solace in His condition. He is the King who must now soberly rule, even if His throne is temporarily a cross.
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