17 Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain. (emphasis added)
Can someone please tell me what these “mild drinks” made from barley are, that we are supposed to drink?
I’m wondering, because to my eye, this looks awfully like a scriptural injunction to drink beer. We are forbidden from drinking “strong drinks” and “wine,” yes. But those prohibitions don’t necessarily include beer, do they? After all, applying some basic interpretation principles, if “strong drink” means “any alcohol,” there is no need to break out wine as a separate category. So “strong drink” must mean some subset of alcoholic beverages, rather than “any alcohol.” Is that subset likely to include beers (the least alcoholic of the major alcoholic drinks)? That seems like an unusual read. And when you combine the two specific prohibitions (“strong drink” and wine) with verse 17’s commandment to drink “mild drinks” made from barley, well, it starts to look like a commandment to avoid hard liquor and wine, and instead drink beer. (Perhaps Nate or Aaron can help me out here, but I think I’ve read somewhere that young Joseph Smith sold mild beers for a time, to help his family’s financial situation).
Is there another way to read this verse? (Other than the obvious — perhaps the commandment has changed since it was written). Are we supposed to be making barley tea or barley-water like they do in Korea? What mild barley drinks exactly are we supposed to be drinking? And has someone explained this — I never noticed that part of the verse till now.