I'm having a hard time trying to understand how this is Godly. I know we do not live in the Old Testament days, so I can sort of see how this will not apply. Maybe they did not see the damaging affects of alcohol in those days. I don't know. What is this trying to say. Is it just saying to help people who hurt in any way? -- Derick Schleuning (Jacksonville, Florida)

No. The traditional view is that this verse justifies medication for those in pain... and strong medication for those in extreme pain. But the real point of the passage is that it is dangerous for kings--and for that matter, for anyone in a position of influence and responsibility--to impair his judgment. Not that this means it's fine for others to do so, of course! The passage is referring to the king.

As for understanding the dangerous effects of alcohol, I believe they were reasonably well understood. (See, for example, Proverbs 23.) Two final qualifications, in case anyone needs them. I am not saying that drunkenness is acceptable in the sight of God, nor am I saying that it is a sin to drink at all. (See Galatians 5, Romans 14, and also the example of Jesus himself.)