A Glutton and a Drunkard

Why did the Master's critics and opponents call Him "a glutton and a drunkard"?

Drunk man sitting in a rich setting with a drink. (Image: Bigstock)

Ki Tetze

Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Ki Tetze (כי תצא | When you go forth)
  • Torah: Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19
  • Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1-10
  • Gospel: Matthew 24:29-42

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Deuteronomy 21:10 | Female Captives
    • Deuteronomy 21:15 | The Right of the Firstborn
    • Deuteronomy 21:18 | Rebellious Children
    • Deuteronomy 21:22 | Miscellaneous Laws
    • Deuteronomy 22:13 | Laws concerning Sexual Relations
    • Deuteronomy 23:1 | Those Excluded from the Assembly
    • Deuteronomy 23:9 | Sanitary, Ritual, and Humanitarian Precepts
    • Deuteronomy 24:1 | Laws concerning Marriage and Divorce
    • Deuteronomy 24:5 | Miscellaneous Laws
    • Deuteronomy 25:5 | Levirate Marriage
    • Deuteronomy 25:11 | Various Commands
  • Prophets
    • Isaiah 54:1 | The Eternal Covenant of Peace

Portion Summary

Rabbi Meir said, There is a parable about this matter. To what can it be compared? It can be compared to two identical twin brothers. Both lived in a certain city. One was appointed king, and the other became a bandit. At the king's command they hanged the bandit. But everyone who saw him hanging there said, The king has been hung! Therefore the king issued a command and he was taken down. (b.Sanhedrin 46b)


The Torah says that if a son refuses to heed his parents and if he indulges in a life of lasciviousness, the parents should bring him to the elders of the city and have him tried and stoned.

They shall say to the elders of his city, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.”(Deuteronomy 21:20)

The Torah lists five qualifications. The son must be stubborn, rebellious, disobedient, a glutton, and a drunkard. In Luke 7:34, the Master alludes to this passage when He says, “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard …’”

Gluttony and drunkeness are two of the criteria the Torah requires for putting a rebellious son to death. In reality, our Master was neither a drunkard nor a glutton. In that passage, Yeshua contrasted His approach to piety against the austere asceticism of John the Immerser. John ate only locusts and honey and other things he found in their wild, natural state. The Master ate bread and drank wine as a normal person. Ironically, the same people who criticized Yeshua for eating and drinking freely regarded John’s behavior as demonic. Yeshua remarked, “For John the Immerser has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’” (Luke 7:33).

In other words, the opponents of the message of repentance dismissed John on the basis of his severe asceticism, but they also dismissed Yeshua because He did not practice John’s severe asceticism. Accusing Yeshua of being a glutton and drunkard, the enemies of His message attempted to associate Him with the rebellious son of Deuteronomy 21.

The commandment to stone a stubborn and rebellious son has a reputation of being one of the harshest commands of Torah. The sages teach that this commandment was never actually carried out. Instead it represented an extreme standard to warn parents about the grave responsibility of raising their children in an upright manner.

This commandment also reminds us that before God, all human beings are “stubborn and rebellious” sons and daughters. We are wayward at heart and disobedient to our Father in Heaven. We have all merited a death sentence before the heavenly court, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

To save us from the due punishment assigned to the wayward son, God gave His own obedient Son to face that death penalty on our behalf. Paul says that, “the free gift of God is eternal life in the Messiah Yeshua our Lord” (Romans 6:23). The only Son of God, utterly obedient to the Father, received the penalty due to many rebellious sons.

Adapted From: Torah Club Commentary Set: Shadows of the Messiah. Learn more about Torah Club and how you can start a Club of your own, or join a Torah Club in your area. Visit TORAHCLUB.ORG

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This coming year Torah Clubs are studying the Gospels from a Messianic Jewish perspective. Club members will encounter Yeshua of Nazareth in his Jewish context. Discover the historical and cultural backdrops of the gospels and be amazed as the teachings of Yeshua snap into focus and clarity. Unravel his difficult words and parables; study Jewish parallels to his teachings; and ultimately know Jesus better.

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