I would think that Artaxerxes probably would have drunk alcoholic
wine. Whether he had several cupbearers or not, I don't know. Whether
Nehemiah had to taste all the wine the King drank, I don't know. Should we dismiss that Nehemiah chose only to taste "a cup" that was non-alcoholic? I think not
given scripture's strong condemnation for strong drink. He was a man of firm conviction without compromise,
it would seemingly go against his character to compromise drink when Daniel's character is
praised as one who would not even compromise the Old Testament food diet:
"But Daniel purposed in his
heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank;
therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself" (Dan.
Obviously, there was a lot of wine that was consumed which was not alcoholic and the scriptures pronounce such drink as a blessing (Deut. 7:13; 11:14; Prov. 3:10; Eccl. 9:7; Jn. 2).
When intoxicating it is relentlessly condemned (Gen. 9:21; 19:32; Prov. 20:1; 21:17; 23:30ff; 31:4; Is. 5:11, 22; 28:7; Hos.
4:11; Eph. 5:18; 1 Pet. 4:3). Nehemiah could have only tasted
the "blessed cup" rather than the "intoxicating" one for the king. However, Nehemiah was not God and even if he did
taste "intoxicating drink," it doesn't mean that we can do so today or choose an occupation that compromises biblical values
any more than David and Solomon's multiplication of wives allows us to be polygamists today (note: violation Deut. 17:17).
See the New Testament's exhortation to work what is good:
"Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor,
working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need" (Eph. 4:28)
Noah was a man who is noted as being righteous but he failed at one occassion
in his life in leaving us an example of planting a vineyard and getting drunk (Gen. 9:19, 20). Such would not permit
us emulate it. Likewise, Isaac's favoritism for Esau over Jacob doesn't give us permission to show partiality for one
child over another; etc. The Bible doesn't hesitate to show us the sins of men, even of its own heroes.