Though the idea of being a part of one of the contests makes me feel a little queasy, I’m not bothered by it any more than I am waste and gratuitous overindulgence in general. It may be important in a plentiful society to celebrate the feast time when things are good, and there are traditions for doing so going back to the beginning of history.
The actual biblical term for gluttony is the vaguely onomatopoeic word gluttire meaning “to gulp down,” and only appears to indicate the kind of overindulgence that leads to waste and brings one to poverty and laziness (Prov 23:20-21). Other verses warn of the self-harm caused by overeating without using the word specifically: “If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it.” (Prov 25:16).
Considering the time that the bible was written, it’s easy to see why it was considered a sin. If you eat the limited food the tribe has without being able to use it fully, your neighbor can’t get his needed daily intake, and it makes you lazy and craving more, it’s obvious how this sin can hurt our neighbor and us.
Most of us laugh off gluttony as a sin, but I think we’d see the wisdom of the warning if we were stranded in the desert with limited food and water to keep our group alive. If one member is eating more than their reasonable share, they endanger the rest of the group.
In a community with minimal resources, gluttony literally starves your friends to death while you choke on your own vomit.