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Bible Q

How did the Jeroboam wine bottle get its name?

The Jeroboam is a large wine bottle, four times the size of a standard bottle. It is the most famous of a number of wine bottles with biblical names. The following table is adapted from Wikipedia’s entry on “Wine bottle

Bottle Name Name’s Origin Volume in Litres
Jeroboam First king of Northern Kingdom of Israel 3.0/4.5
Rehoboam First king of Southern Kingdom of Judea 4.5
Methuselah Oldest Man 6.0
Mordechai Uncle of Esther, Queen of Persia 9.0
Salmanazar King of Assyria 9.0
Balthazar Traditional name for one of the wise men 12.0
Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon 15.0
Melchior Traditional name for one of the wise men 18.0
Solomon King of Israel, Son of David 20.0
Melchizedek Early priest and king of Salem (Jerusalem) 30.0

Curiously, no-one knows why biblical names are used for wine bottles. The term Jeroboam appears to have been used in Bordeaux from as early as 1725. Perhaps it was because Jeroboam is described as a “mighty man of valour” (1 Kings 11:28 KJV) “who made Israel to sin” (1 Kings 14:16 KJV). Other names are likely to have been used by analogy.

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