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 (Genesis 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. (Genesis 40:9-11; Psalms 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, (Numbers 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, (Numbers 13:24; 32:9) of Sibmah, Heshbon and Elealeh (Isaiah 16:8,9,10; Jeremiah 48:32) and of Engedi. (Song of Solomon 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, (1 Kings 4:25; Psalms 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. (Isaiah 6:2,4; Jeremiah 2:21; Hosea 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. (Ezekiel 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 8:27; Isaiah 16:10; Jeremiah 25:30) The grapes were gathered with shouts of joy by the "grape gatherers," (Jeremiah 25:30) and put into baskets. See (Jeremiah 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, (Isaiah 5:1; Jeremiah 31:5; Amos 9:13) was surrounded by a wall or hedge in order to keep out the wild boars, (Psalms 80:13) jackals and foxes. (Numbers 22:24; Nehemiah 4:3; Song of Solomon 2:15; Ezekiel 13:4,5; Matthew 21:33) Within the vineyard was one or more towers of stone in which the vine-dressers lived. (Isaiah 1:8; 5:2; Matthew 21:33) The vat, which was dug, (Matthew 21:33) or hewn out of the rocky soil, and the press, were part of the vineyard furniture. (Isaiah 5:2)
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