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VINE Summary and Overview

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VINE in Easton's Bible Dictionary

one of the most important products of Israel. The first mention of it is in the history of Noah (Gen. 9:20). It is afterwards frequently noticed both in the Old and New Testaments, and in the ruins of terraced vineyards there are evidences that it was extensively cultivated by the Jews. It was cultivated in Israel before the Israelites took possession of it. The men sent out by Moses brought with them from the Valley of Eshcol a cluster of grapes so large that "they bare it between two upon a staff" (Num. 13: 23). The vineyards of En-gedi (Cant. 1:14), Heshbon, Sibmah, Jazer, Elealeh (Isa. 16:8-10; Jer. 48:32, 34), and Helbon (Ezek. 27:18), as well as of Eshcol, were celebrated. The Church is compared to a vine (Ps. 80:8), and Christ says of himself, "I am the vine" (John 15:1). In one of his parables also (Matt. 21:33) our Lord compares his Church to a vineyard which "a certain householder planted, and hedged round about," etc. Hos. 10:1 is rendered in the Revised Version, "Israel is a luxuriant vine, which putteth forth his fruit," instead of "Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself," of the Authorized Version.

VINE in Smith's Bible Dictionary

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 #Ge 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. #Ge 40:9-11; Ps 78:47| The vines of Israel 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, #Nu 13:23| and as has been done in some instances in modern times. Special mention is made in the Bible of the vines of Eshcol, #Nu 13:24; 32:9| of Sibmah, Heshbon and Elealeh #Isa 16:8,9,10; Jer 48:32| and of Engedi. #So 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 tree is an emblem of domestic happiness and peace, #1Ki 4:25; Ps 128:3; Mic 4:4| the rebellious people of Israel are compared to "wild grapes," "an empty vine," "the degenerate plant of a strange vine," etc. #Isa 6:2,4; Jer 2:21; Ho 10:1| It is a vine which our Lord selects to show the spiritual union which subsists between himself and his members. #Joh 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. #Eze 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. #Jud 8:27; 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 Israel, 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; Am 9:13| was surrounded by a wall or hedge in order to keep out the wild boars, #Ps 80:13| jackals and foxes. #Nu 22:24; Ne 4:3; So 2:15; Eze 13:4,5; Mt 21:33| Within the vineyard was one or more towers of stone in which the vine-dressers lived. #Isa 1:8; 5:2; Mt 21:33| The vat, which was dug, #Mt 21:33| or hewn out of the rocky soil, and the press, were part of the vineyard furniture. #Isa 5:2|

VINE in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

VINE , VINEYARD. We first read of a vineyard in the history of Noah. Gen 9:20. The cultivation of the vine had attained to some perfection in very early times. In the accounts of Melchizedek, who set bread and wine before Abraham, of Lot, who was drunken, of aged Isaac, when regaled by his sons, in the prophecy of dying Jacob, and in the book of Job, we have the earliest accounts of wine as a common drink. Gen 14:18; Gen 19:32; Gen 27:25; Gen 49:12; Job 1:18; Prov 23:30-31; Isa 5:11. The original home of the Eastern grape-vine (Vitis vinifera) was Armenia and neighboring countries. But Palestine seems scarcely second to any country in the world in adaptation of soil and climate for its culture. Especially is this true of its southern districts. "Here, more than elsewhere in Palestine, are to be seen on the sides of the hills the vineyards, marked by their watch-towers and walls, seated on their ancient terraces, the earliest and latest symbol of Judah. The elevation of the hills and table-lands of Judah is the true climate of the vine. 'He bound his foal to the vine, and his ass's colt to the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.' It was from the Judaean valley of Eshcol, 'the torrent of the cluster,' that the spies cut down the gigantic cluster of grapes. 'A vineyard on a hill of olives,' with the 'fence.' and 'the stones gathered out,' and 'the tower in the midst of it,' is the natural figure which, both in the prophetical and evangelical records, represents the kingdom of Judah." - Stanley. Grapevines were usually propagated by layers. They were sometimes planted beside ridges of stones, upon which they crept, and which afforded a dry and warm exposure for ripening the fruit. Miles of such stone-heaps remain in regions now utterly desert about Beersheba and east of the Jordan. At other times vines were annually trimmed down to a permanent stock, which was fastened to a stake, or a post was erected with a crosspiece, or upon four or more pillars a trellis or arbor was supported, upon which the boughs spread. Very often, however, the Syrian vines are trained upon a perpendicular trellis or framework in straight rows; sometimes upon trees, and particularly the fig tree, whence the proverbial expression, "To repose under one's own vine and fig tree," as an emblem of peace and security. Mic 4:4; Zech 3:10. Vines are found at Hebron trained in this manner, and bearing clusters of ten pounds' weight, or even more. Sometimes they were trained upon the side of the house. Ps 128:3. Vineyards were enclosed with a hedge or a wall, to defend them from the ravages of beasts, to which they were often exposed. A tower was also built as the station of a watchman. Num 22:24; Ps 80:8-13; Prov 24:31; Song 2:15; Matt 21:33. See Tower. The Hebrews devoted as much care to their vineyards as to their agriculture. When Isaiah predicts the invasion of the Assyrians, he declares that the vineyard where there were a thousand vines for a thousand pieces of silver shall be even for briers and thorns. Isa 7:23. When he would represent sorrow, he says, "The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, and all the merry-hearted do sigh." Isa 24:7. So Zechariah, Zech 8:12, foretells future prosperity thus: "The seed shall be prosperous, the vine shall give her fruit." See also Hab 3:17; Mal 3:11. The pruning of the vine is a familiar operation, which we all know to be necessary in order to its fruitfulness. The law which forbade the Israelites to gather the grapes of the first three years, Lev 19:23, gave occasion to the more careful and unsparing use of the pruning-knife; hence the 3'oung stock came to much greater strength. A traveller mentions a custom of the vine-dressers to prune their vines thrice in the year; the first time, in March. When clusters begin to form, they again lop off those twigs which have no fruit; the stock puts out new twigs in April, some of which form clusters, and those which have none are again cut off in May. The vine shoots a third time, and the new branches have a third set of clusters. See John 15:2, in which passage the word "purgeth" may be rendered "pruneth." What remains of the culture of the vine is very simple. Once or twice in the season the plough was run through the vineyard to loosen the earth and free it from weeds; the stones were gathered out, and a proper direction was given to the growing branches. Isa 5:2. The vine-dressers, or keepers of the vineyard, formed a distinct branch of laborers. 2 Kgs 25:12. The regular vintage begins in Syria about the middle of September, and lasts about two months. Lev 26:5; Am 9:13. Ripe clusters, however, are found in Palestine as early as June and July, although the regular vintage begins in September. This difference may arise from the threefold growth of the vine, already mentioned. The first gathered in Canaan is probably meant in Num 13:20. The vintage was celebrated by the Hebrews with still more festivity than the harvest, Isa 16:9, and was sometimes a season of wicked mirth. Jud 9:27. See Grapes.

VINE in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Noah appears as its first cultivator (Genesis 9:20-21); he probably preserved the knowledge of its cultivation from the antediluvian world. Pharaoh's dream (Genesis 40:9-11, see Speaker's Commentary) implies its prevalence in Egypt; this is confirmed by the oldest Egyptian monuments. So also Psalm 78:47. Osiris the Egyptian god is represented as first introducing the vine. Wine in Egypt was the beverage of the rich people; beer was the drink of the poor people. The very early monuments represent the process of fermenting wine. The spies bore a branch with one cluster of grapes between two on a staff from the brook Eshcol. Bunches are found in Israel of ten pounds weight (Reland Palest., 351). Kitto (Phys. Hist. Palest., p. 330) says a bunch from a Syrian vine was sent as a present from the Duke of Portland to the Marquis of Rockingham, weighing 19 pounds, and was carried on a staff by four, two bearing it in rotation. Sibmah, Heshbon, and Elealeh (Isaiah 16:8-10; Jeremiah 48:31) and Engedi (Song of Solomon 1:14) were famous for their vines. Judah with its hills and tablelands was especially suited for vine cultivation; "binding his foal unto the vine and his ass' colt unto the choice vine he washed his garments in wine and his clothes in the blood of grapes, his eyes shall be red with wine" (Genesis 49:11-12). Both Isaiah (Isaiah 5) and the Lord Jesus make a vineyard with fence and tower, the stones being gathered out, the image of Judah (Matthew 21:33). Israel is the vine brought out of Egypt, and planted by Jehovah in the land of promise (Psalm 80:8; compare Isaiah 27:2-3). The "gathering out of the stones" answers to God's dislodging the original inhabitants before Israel, and the "fencing" to God's protection of Israel from surrounding enemies. "The choicest vine" (sowreq, still in Morocco called serki, the grapes have scarcely perceptible stones; Judges 16:4 mentions a town called from this choice vine Sorek) is the line of holy patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, etc. The square "tower" was to watch against depredations, and for the owner's use; the "fence" to keep out wild boars, foxes, jackals, etc. (Psalm 80:13; Song of Solomon 2:15). The "fence" may represent the law, the "stones" gathered out Jerome thinks are the idols; the "tower" the temple "in the midst" of Judaea; the "winepress," generally hewn out of the rocky soil, the altar. The vine stem is sometimes more than a foot in diameter, and 30 ft. in height. "To dwell under the vine and fig tree" symbolizes peace and prosperity (1 Kings 4:25). When apostate, Israel was "an empty vine," "the degenerate plant of a strange vine," "bringing forth fruit unto himself" not unto God (Jeremiah 2:21; Hosea 10:1). In Ezekiel 15:2-4 God asks "what is the vine wood more than any tree?" i.e., what is its preeminence? None. Nay the reverse. Other trees yield good timber; but vine wood is soft, brittle, crooked, and seldom large; "will men take a pin of it, to hang any vessel thereon?" not even a "pin" or wooden peg can be made of it. Its sole excellence above all trees is its fruit; when not fruit bearing it is inferior to other trees. So, if God's people lose their distinctive excellency by not bearing fruits of righteousness, they are more unprofitable than the worldly, for they are the vine, the sole end of their being is to bear fruit to His glory. In all respects, except in bearing fruit unto God, Israel was inferior to other nations, as Egypt, Nineveh, Babylon, in antiquity, extent, resources, military power, arts and sciences. Its only use when fruitless is to be "cast into the fire for fuel." Gephen is a general term for the vine, from whence the town Gophna, now Jifna, is named. Nazir is "the undressed vine," one every seventh and 50th year left unpruned. The vine is usually planted on the side of a terraced hill, the old branches trailing along the ground and the fruit bearing shoots being raised on forked sticks. Robinson saw the vine trained near Hebron in rows eight or ten feet apart; when the stock is six or eight feet high, it is fastened in a sloping direction to a stake, and the shoots extend front one plant to another, forming a line of festoons; sometimes two rows slant toward each other and form an arch. Sometimes the vine is trained over a rough wall three feet high, sometimes over a wooden framework so that the foliage affords a pleasant shade (1 Kings 4:25). The vintage is in September. The people leave the towns and live in lodges and tents among the vineyards (Judges 9:27); sometimes even before the vintage (Song of Solomon 7:11-12). The grape gatherers plied their work with shouts of joy (Jeremiah 25:30). The finest grapes in Israel are now dried as raisins, tsimuq. The juice of the rest, is boiled down to a syrup, called fibs, much used as an accompaniment of foods. The vine was Judaea's emblem on Maccabean coins, and in the golden cluster over the porch of the second temple. It is still to be seen on their oldest tombstones in Europe. The Lord Jesus is the antitypical vine (John 15). Every branch in Jesus He "pruneth," with afflictions, that it may bring forth more fruit. So each believer becomes "pure" ("pruned," katharoi, answering to kathairei, "He purgeth" or pruneth). The printing is first in March, when the clusters begin to form. The twig formed subsequently has time to shoot by April, when, if giving no promise, it is again lopped off; so again in May, if fruitless; at last it is thrown into the fire. On the road from Akka to Jerusalem, Robinson saw an upper ledge of rock scooped into a shallow trough, in which the grapes were trodden, and by a hole in the bottom the juice passed into a lower vat three feet deep, four square (Bib. Res. 3:137). Other winepresses were of wood; thus the stone ones became permanent landmarks (Judges 7:25). The vine is the emblem, as of Christ, so of the church and each believer. Vine of Sodom. Deuteronomy 32:32; Isaiah 1:10; Jeremiah 23:14. frontAPPLES OF SODOM.) J.D. Hooper objects to the Calotropis or Asclepias procera, the osher of the Arabs, that the term "vine" would scarcely be given to any but a trailing or other plant of the habit of a vine, and that its beautiful silky cotton within would never suggest the idea of anything but what is exquisitely lovely. He therefore prefers the Cucumis colocynthis. Tacitus writes, "all herbs growing along the Dead Sea are blackened by its exhalations, and so blasted as to vanish into ashes" (Hist. 5:7). Josephus (B. J. 4:8, section 4) says" the ashes of the five cities still grow in their fruits, which have a color as if they were fit to be eaten, but if you pluck them they dissolve into smoke and ashes." The Asclepius gigantea or Calotropis has a trunk six or eight inches in diameter, and from ten to 15 ft. high, the bark cork-like and grey. The yellow apple-like fruit is yellow and soft and tempting to the eye, but when pressed explodes with a puff, leaving in the hand only shreds and fibres. The acrid juice suggests the gall in Deuteronomy 32:32, "their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter."