Why is There a Difference in the Accounts of What They Gave Jesus to Drink on the Cross?


Supposed contradiction and verses:

What did they give him to drink? (Note the underlined words) Also, what were they mixed with gall or myrrh?

Matthew 27:34

They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

Mark 15:23

And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.


   A Greek word for wine is ozos which is a mixture of sour wine or vinegar and water.  This is the derivative that Matthew gives. Vinegar, if you look it up, simply put IS sour wine. Another Greek word for wine is oinos which just means, wine. This is what Mark used. As you can see from this point, both vinegar and wine are correct. Matthew was calling it a sour wine, and Mark simply calling it wine. This is no contradiction. It is no different than someone saying, "He drank a coke.", and someone else saying, "He drank a soda." Both are true statements because Coke is a soda, just as vinegar is sour wine, and sour wine is….wine.

   So what about the mixture? Looking back in time, myrrh was used to give flavoring and fragrance to wine, and it was also used in embalming. In Matthew's account, this is simply taken as fact and does not note the myrrh. Mark decided to note that the wine had myrrh in it. So what about the gall? We see that Matthew called it out. As a writer, he felt it was important to bring it up. Mark, on the other hand, does not note it. Does this mean that it was not in there? No! He simply did not note it. This is no different that asking what somebody looks like and one person giving more detail than the other. Think of this. I drink my coffee with sugar and French vanilla creamer. I have walked by people and they have noted how good it smells and asked what is in it. I have simply answered, "It's coffee with French vanilla creamer." Just because I didn't tell them I put sugar…nor even how many spoons of it, in there, does not mean it was not in there. It is just what I focused on at the time.

   The point here is this. You see Jesus refused the mixture. Why? Because of what was in it. Gall was used to desensitize pain, like a drug. Jesus knew this and refused. That's the point. As you read on in both books, you see they later brought a sponge dipped in just vinegar (sour wine), and He accepted it. Our Lord had to bear the full weight of the pain and suffering on the Cross for us, and refused to be drugged to ease the pain or stupefy Him.  No contradiction!

In His Grace,

            Mike Harris


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