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Vine


Vine, the well-known valuable plant (Vitis vinifera) very frequently referred to in the Old and New Testaments, and cultivated from the earliest times. The first mention of this plant occurs in Gen. 9:20, 21. That it was abundantly cultivated in Egypt is evident from the frequent representations on the monuments, as well as from the scriptural allusions. Gen. 40:9-11; Ps. 78:47. The vines of Palestine were celebrated both for luxuriant growth and for the immense clusters of grapes which they produced, which were sometimes carried on a staff between two men, as in the case of the spies, Num. 13:23, and as has been done in some instances in modern times. Special mention is made in the Bible of the vines of Esheol, Num. 13:24; 32:9, of Sibmah, Heshbon, and Elealeh, Isa. 16:8, 9, 10; Jer. 48:32, and of Engedi. Song 1:14. From the abundance and excellence of the vines, it may readily be understood how frequently this plant is the subject of metaphor in the Holy Scriptures. To dwell under the vine and fig tree is an emblem of domestic happiness and peace, 1 Kings 4:25; Ps. 128:3; Micah 4:4; the rebellious people of Israel are compared to “wild grapes,” “an empty vine,” “the degenerate plant of a strange vine,” etc. Isa. 5:2, 4; Jer. 2:21; Hos. 10:1. It is a vine which our Lord selects to show the spiritual union which subsists between himself and his members. John 15:1-6. The ancient Hebrews probably allowed the vine to go trailing on the ground or upon supports. This latter mode of cultivation appears to be alluded to by Ezekiel. Ezek. 19:11, 12. The vintage, which formerly was a season of general festivity, began in September. The towns were deserted; the people lived among the vineyards in the lodges and tents. Comp. Judges 9:27; Isa. 16:10; Jer. 25:30. The grapes were gathered with shouts of joy by the “grape gatherers,” Jer. 25:30, and put into baskets. See Jer. 6:9. They were then carried on the head and shoulders, or slung upon a yoke, to the “wine-press.” Those intended for eating were perhaps put into flat open baskets of wickerwork, as was the custom in Egypt. In Palestine, at present, the finest grapes, says Dr. Robinson, are dried as raisins, and the juice of the remainder, after having been trodden and pressed, “is boiled down to a sirup, which, under the name of dibs, is much used by all classes, wherever vineyards are found, as a condiment with their food.” The vineyard, which was generally on a hill, Isa. 5:1; Jer. 31:5; Amos 9:13, was surrounded by a wall or hedge in order to keep out the wild boars, Ps. 80:13, jackals and foxes. Num. 22:24; Neh. 4:3; Song 2:15; Ezek. 13:4, 5; Matt. 21:33. Within the vineyard was one or more towers of stone in which the vine-dressers lived. Isa. 1:8; 5:2; Matt. 21:33. The vat, which was dug, Matt. 21:33, or hewn out of the rocky soil, and the press, were part of the vineyard furniture. Isa. 5:2.

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Vine.

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Gathering Grapes.