From BiblePortal Wikipedia

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [1]

Of this valuable and familiar plant there are several varieties, the natural products of warm climates, where also it has been cultivated from the earliest times. Hence the early and frequent mention of its products in Scripture,  Genesis 9:20   14:18   19:22   Job 1:18 . The grape-vine grew plentifully in Palestine,  Deuteronomy 8:8 , and was particularly excellent in some of the districts. The Scriptures celebrate the vines of Sibmah and Eshcol; and profane authors mention the excellent wines of Gaza, Sarepta, Lebanon, Sharon, Ascalon, and Tyre. See Sorek .

The grapes of Egypt,  Genesis 40:11 , being small, we may easily conceive of the surprise which was occasioned to the Israelites by witnessing the bunch of grapes brought by the spies to the camp, from the valley of Eshcol,  Numbers 13:23 . The account of Moses, however, is confirmed by the testimony of several travelers; and even in England a bunch of Syrian grapes has been produced which weighed nineteen pounds, was twenty-three inches in length, and nineteen and a half in its greatest diameter. At the present day, although the Mohammedan religion does not favor the cultivation of the vine, there is no want of vineyards in Palestine. Besides the large quantities of grapes and raisins which are daily sent to the markets of Jerusalem and other neighboring places, Hebron alone in the first half of the eighteenth century, annually sent three hundred camel loads, or nearly three hundred thousand pounds weight of grape juice, or honey of raisins, to Egypt.

In the East, grapes enter very largely into the provisions at an entertainment, and in various forms contribute largely to the sustenance of the people. See Grapes . To show the abundance of vines which should fall to the lot of Judah in the partition of the promised land, Jacob, in his prophetic benediction, says of this tribe, he shall be found

Binding his colt to the vine,

And to the choice vine the foal of his ass;

Washing his garments in wine,

His clothes in the blood of the grape.

  Genesis 49:11 .

In many places the vines spread over the ground and rocks unsupported. Often, however, they are trained upon trellis-work, over walls, trees, arbors, the porches and walls of houses, and at times within the house on the side of the central court. Thus growing, the vine became a beautiful emblem of domestic love, peace, and plenty,  Psalm 128:3   Micah 4:4 .

The law enjoined that he who planted a vine should not eat of the produce of it before the fifth year,  Leviticus 19:23-25 . Nor did they gather their grapes on the sabbatical year; the fruit was then left for the poor, the orphan, and the stranger,  Exodus 23:11   Leviticus 25:4,5,11 . See also  Leviticus 19:10   Deuteronomy 24:21 . At any time a traveler was permitted to gather and eat grapes in a vineyard, as he passed along, but was not permitted to carry any away,  Deuteronomy 23:24 . Another generous provision of the Mosaic code exempted from liability to serve in war a man who, after four years of labor and of patience, was about to gather the first returns from his vineyard,  Deuteronomy 20:6 .

Josephus describes a magnificent and costly vine of pure gold, with precious stones for grapes, which adorned the lofty eastern gate of the Holy Place. It was perhaps in view of this that our Savior said, "I am the true Vine;" and illustrated the precious truth of his oneness with his people,  John 15:1-8 .

In the expression, "The vine of Sodom,"  Deuteronomy 32:32 , there does not seem to be an allusion to any then existing degenerate species of vine. The writer means rather to say that their vine, that is figuratively their corrupt character, instead of yielding good grapes, bears only poisonous fruit, like that for which the shores of the Dead Sea have always been famed- such as "the apples of Sodom," for example, said to be beautiful without, but nothing but shreds or ashes within.

For the "wild grapes" in  Isaiah 5:2,4 , see under Grapes .

The Jews planted their VINEYARDS most commonly on the side of a hill or mountain,  Jeremiah 31:5 , (See Mountain the stones being gathered out, and the space hedged round with thorns, or walled,  Isaiah 5:1-6   Psalm 80:1-19   Matthew 21:33 . Vineyards were sometimes rented for a share of their produce,  Matthew 28:20; and from other passages we may perhaps infer that a good vineyard consisted of a thousand vines, and produced a rent of a thousand silverlings, or shekels of silver,  Isaiah 7:23 , and that it required two hundred more to pay the dressers, Song of  Song of Solomon 8:11-12 . In these vineyards the keepers and vinedressers labored, digging, planting, propping, and pruning or purging the vines,  John 15:2 , gathering the grapes, and making wine. They formed a distinct class among cultivators of the ground, and their task was sometimes laborious and regarded as menial,  2 Kings 25:12   2 Chronicles 26:10 Song of   Song of Solomon 1:6   Isaiah 61:5 . Scripture alludes to the fragrance of the "vines with the tender grapes," Song of  Song of Solomon 2:13 , and draws from the vineyard many illustrations and parables,  Judges 9:12   Matthew 20:1   21:28 .

The vineyard of Naboth,  1 Kings 21:1-29 , has become a perpetual emblem of whatever is violently taken from the poor by the rich or the powerful. The deserted hut or tower, in which a watchman kept guard during, the season of ripe grapes,  Psalm 80:12-13 Song of   Song of Solomon 2:15 , becomes, when all are gathered, an apt image of desolation,  Isaiah 1:8 . A beautiful allegory in  Psalm 80:1-19 represents the church as a vineyard, planted, defended, cultivated, and watered by God.

The Vintage followed the wheat harvest and the threshing,  Leviticus 26:5   Amos 9:13 . The "first ripe grapes" were gathered in June, or later on elevated ground,  Numbers 13:20; and grapes continued to be gathered for four months afterwards. The general vintage, however, was in September, when the clusters of grapes were gathered with a sickle, and put into baskets,  Jeremiah 6:9 , carried and thrown into the wine-vat or wine-press, where they were probably first trodden by men, and then pressed,  Revelation 14:18-20 . It was a laborious task, lightened with songs, jests, and shouts of mirth,  Jeremiah 25:30   48:33 . It is mentioned as a mark of the great work and power of the Messiah, that he had trodden the figurative wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with him,  Isaiah 63:1-3   Revelation 19:15 . The vintage was a season of great mirth,  Isaiah 16:9,10 , and often of excesses and idolatry,  Judges 9:27; while the mourning and languishing of the vine was a symbol of general distress,  Isaiah 24:7   Habakkuk 3:17   Malachi 3:11 . Of the juice of the squeezed grapes were formed wine and vinegar. See Press .

Grapes were also dried into raisins. A part of Abigail's present to David was one hundred clusters of raisins,  1 Samuel 25:18; and when Zibah met David, his present contained the same quantity,  2 Samuel 16:1   1 Samuel 30:12   1 Chronicles 12:40 . Respecting other uses of the fruits of the vine, see Grapes, Honey, Vinegar and Wine .

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

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  Psalms 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 Palestine 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 ( Psalms 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. ( Psalms 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. Νazir 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 Palestine 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. (See Apples Of Sodom.) JD Hooper objects to the Calotropis or Αsclepias 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."

Holman Bible Dictionary [3]

 Numbers 11:5 Isaiah 1:8 vine   Deuteronomy 6:11 Joshua 24:13 1 Samuel 8:14 2 Kings 5:26 Jeremiah 5:17 Jeremiah 40:10 Hosea 2:12

The origin of viticulture lies in the antiquity of the unknown past. The Bible traces the origin of caring for vineyards to the time of Noah ( Genesis 9:20-21 ). Such knowledge seems to have been an indigenous undertaking known in many regions of the ancient world. References to vineyards appear from the time of Gudea (a ruler in ancient Sumer before 2100 B.C.). A wall painting found in a tomb at Thebes in Egypt, dating from before 1400 B.C., depicts the entire process of wine making from the gathering and treading of the grapes to the storing of the wine in jars.

The planting and care of a vineyard required constant and intensive care. The most detailed description of the work involved is found in  Isaiah 5:1-6 . Hillsides are frequently mentioned as the most desirable locations for the vines, especially since they were less suitable for other forms of agriculture (compare  Psalm 80:8-10;  Jeremiah 31:5;  Amos 9:13 ). However, vineyards were also grown in the plains and valleys; the Hebron area was particularly noted for its grapes ( Numbers 13:22-24 ).

Stone walls and/or hedges were usually built around the vineyard to protect the grapes from thirsty animals and from thieves (Song of  Song of Solomon 2:15;  Jeremiah 49:9 ). Watchtowers were also built to provide further protection. The hewing out of a winepress or vat completed the vineyard installation ( Isaiah 5:2 ). During the harvesting season, the owner of the vineyard might live in a booth to stay close to his valuable crop ( Isaiah 1:8 ).

After the grapes had set on the branches, the vines were pruned ( Leviticus 25:4;  Isaiah 18:5;  John 15:1-2 ). This process produced stronger branches and a greater fruit yield. The pruned branches were useless except to be used as fuel ( Ezekiel 15:2-8 ). The vines for the most past were allowed to run on the ground, though occasionally they might climb a nearby tree (compare  Psalm 80:8-10;  Ezekiel 15:2;  Ezekiel 19:11 ). Perhaps it was this latter occurrence that made it possible for a man to “sit under” his vine ( 1 Kings 4:25 ). Only in the Roman period were artificial trellises introduced.

The harvest of the grapes took place in August or September. How many grapes an average vineyard produced is unknown (compare  Isaiah 5:10 ), but a vineyard was considered so important that a man who had planted one was exempt from military service ( Deuteronomy 20:6 ). Some of the harvested grapes were eaten fresh ( Jeremiah 31:29 ), and others dried into raisins ( 1 Samuel 25:18 ). Most were squeezed for their juice to make wine.

Several laws governed the use of vineyards in Old Testament times. Vineyards could not be stripped totally of their grapes; the owner was to allow gleanings for the poor and the sojourner ( Leviticus 19:10 ), and the fatherless and the widow ( Deuteronomy 24:21 ). See  Exodus 23:10-11;  Leviticus 25:3-5 ), and other plants could not be sown in them ( Deuteronomy 22:9 ). This latter law apparently was not followed by New Testament times (compare  Luke 13:6 ). Vineyards were cultivated by their owners, hired laborers ( Matthew 20:1-16 ), or rented out to others (Song of  Song of Solomon 8:11;  Matthew 21:33-43 ).

The Bible frequently uses vine or vineyard as symbols. Vine is often used in speaking of Israel. Thus Israel is said to have been brought out of Egypt and planted as a vine on the land but was forsaken (  Psalm 80:8-13; compare  Isaiah 5:1-7 ). Israel was planted a “choice vine” but became a “wild vine” ( Jeremiah 2:21; compare  Hosea 10:1 ). As the dead wood of a vine is good for nothing but fuel, so the inhabitants of Jerusalem would be consumed ( Ezekiel 15:1-8;  Ezekiel 19:10-14 ).

On the other hand, the abundance of vines and vineyards were seen as expressions of God's favor. The fruit of the vine gladdens the heart of humankind ( Psalm 104:15;  Ecclesiastes 10:19 ) and suppresses pain and misery ( Proverbs 31:6-7 ). Israel was “like grapes in the wilderness” when God found them ( Hosea 9:10 ), and the remnant surviving the Exile is compared to a cluster of grapes ( Isaiah 65:8 ). Finally, an abundance of the vine symbolizes the glorious age to come when the treader of the grapes will overtake the one who sows the seed ( Amos 9:13-15; compare  Genesis 49:10-12 )

In the New Testament, Jesus often used the vineyard as an analogy for the kingdom of God ( Matthew 20:1-16 ). Those who hope to enter the kingdom must be like the son who at first refused to work in his father's vineyard but later repented and went ( Matthew 21:28-32 and parallels). Ultimately, Jesus Himself is described as the “true vine” and His disciples (Christians) as the branches (  John 15:1-11 ). See Agriculture; Eschatology; Israel; Wine, Winepress.

John C. H. Laughlin

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [4]

גפן ,  Genesis 40:9; αμπελος ,  Matthew 26:29;  Mark 14:25;  Luke 22:18;  John 15:4-5;  James 3:12;  Revelation 14:19; a noble plant of the creeping kind, famous for its fruit, or grapes, and the liquor they afford. The vine is a common name or genus, including several species under it; and Moses, to distinguish the true vine, or that from which wine is mode, from the rest, calls it, the wine vine,  Numbers 6:4 . Some of the other sorts were of a poisonous quality, as appears from the story related among the miraculous acts of Elisha,  2 Kings 4:39;  2 Kings 4:41 . ( See Grapes . ) The expression of "sitting every man under his own vine," probably alludes to the delightful eastern arbours, which were partly composed of vines. Capt. Norden, in like manner, speaks of vine arbours as common in the Egyptian gardens; and the Praenestine pavement in Dr. Shaw gives us the figure of an ancient one. Plantations of trees about houses are found very useful in hot countries, to give them an agreeable coolness. The ancient Israelites seem to have made use of the same means, and probably planted fruit trees, rather than other kinds, to produce that effect. "It is their manner in many places," says Sir Thomas Rowe's chaplain, speaking of the country of the Great Mogul, "to plant about and among their buildings, trees which grow high and broad, the shadow whereof keeps their houses by far more cool: this I observed in a special manner, when we were ready to enter Amadavar; for it appeared to us as if we had been entering a wood rather than a city." "Immediately on entering," says Turner, "I was ushered into the court yard of the aga, whom I found smoking under a vine, surrounded by horses, servants, and dogs, among which I distinguished an English pointer."

There were in Palestine many excellent vineyards. Scripture celebrates the vines of Sorek, of Sebamah, of Jazer, of Abel. Profane authors mention the excellent wines of Gaza, Sarepta, Libanus, Saron, Ascalon, and Tyre. Jacob, in the blessing which he gave Judah, "Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine, he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes,"  Genesis 49:11; he showed the abundance of vines that should fall to his lot. "Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches hang over the wall,"

 Genesis 49:22 . "To the northward and westward," says Morier, "are several villages, interspersed with extensive orchards and vineyards, the latter of which are generally enclosed by high walls. The Persian vine dressers do all in their power to make the vine run up the wall, and curl over on the other side, which they do by tying stones to the extremity of the tendril. The vine, particularly in Turkey and Greece, is frequently made to entwine on trellises around a well, where, in the heat of the day, whole families collect themselves, and sit under the shade."

Noah planted the vine after the deluge, and is supposed to have been the first who cultivated it,  Genesis 9:20 . Many are of opinion that wine was not unknown before the deluge; and that this patriarch only continued to cultivate the vine after that event, as he had done before it: but the fathers think that he knew not the force of wine, having never used it before, nor having ever seen any one use it. He was the first that gathered the juice of the grape, and preserved it till by fermentation it became a potable liquor. Before him men only ate the grapes like other fruit. The law of Moses did not allow the planters of vineyards to eat the fruit before the fifth year,  Leviticus 19:24-25 . The Israelites were also required to indulge the poor, the orphan, and the stranger, with the use of the grapes on the seventh year. A traveller was allowed to gather and eat the grapes in a vineyard as he passed along, but he was not permitted to carry any away,  Deuteronomy 23:24 . The scarcity of fuel, especially wood, in most parts of the east, is so great, that they supply it with every thing capable of burning; cow dung dried, roots, parings of fruits, withered stalks of herbs and flowers,  Matthew 6:30 . Vine twigs are particularly mentioned as used for fuel in dressing their food, by D'Arvieux, La Roque, and others: Ezekiel says, in his parable of the vine, used figuratively for the people of God, "Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? Or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon? Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel,"  Ezekiel 15:3-4 . "If a man abide not in me," saith our Lord, "he is cast forth as a branch" of the vine, "and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned,"  John 15:6 .

Smith's Bible Dictionary [5]

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  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;  Numbers 32:9, of Sibmah, Heshbon and Elealeh,  Isaiah 16:8-10;  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;  Isaiah 6:4;  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. Compare  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;  Isaiah 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.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [6]

(ἄμπελος, βότρυς, ἀμπελών)

Apart from the Gospels, the only books in the NT containing a reference to the vine or to grapes are the Epistle of St. James ( James 3:12) and the Apocalypse ( Revelation 14:18). In  1 Corinthians 9:7 a vineyard supplies the subject for one of St. Paul’s rhetorical questions. Wine is frequently alluded to, chiefly in apostolic exhortations against excess in this direction (see articleAbstinence).

In the apocalyptic vision, as elsewhere in the NT, the work of judgment is compared to the vintage. In the OT both the vintage and the wheat-harvest are used as similes of the overthrow of the enemies of Jahweh, but here the wheat-harvest represents the ingathering of the faithful (see articleHarvest).

In Palestine the vintage is the latest crop gathered in the autumn. In the warmer parts of the country it commences at the beginning of September. There are few countries so well adapted for the cultivation of the vine, and the extensiveness of the industry in ancient times is attested by the numerous presses and vats found all over the country. From the Mishna we learn that vine-culture was still flourishing about a.d. 200, but with the coming of the Arabs it almost entirely disappeared. Within the last century, however, it has revived under European influence, and large numbers of imported vines have been planted by German and Jewish colonists.

The mode of their cultivation depends on the natural characteristics of the particular district. In very stony soils parallel ridges are made of the loose stones, and the vines are planted near the side of one or other of these ridges. The shoots are trained up these primitively constructed walls, carried over the top, and brought down to the other sides by stones attached to them. Where, however, the conditions permit, and the vineyards are extensive, the plants are arranged at a considerable distance apart, and are allowed to grow to a height of about 6 or 8 ft.; the bearing shoots supported by poles are carried horizontally across to the adjoining row. In ancient times they were carefully fenced in to protect them from human spoliators, on the one hand, and from the trespasses of sheep and cattle, whose partiality for vine-leaves is well known, on the other (cf.  Psalms 80:12-13, Ca 2:15,  Isaiah 5:2). Apparently every vineyard had its own wine-press. In many cases it is difficult to say whether the fruit-press under consideration was an olive-press or a wine-press. Those which are deep and well adapted for treading were probably wine-presses.

No doubt many of the large quantities of grapes produced in olden days were used for dibs , a thick sweet juice which is still made in Syria, and which was probably used to a much greater extent in ancient times when cane-sugar was unknown.

See, further, articles Abstinence, Harvest.

Literature.-H. B. Tristram, The Natural History of the Bible 10, London, 1911, pp. 402-413; W. M. Thomson, The Land and the Book , 3 vols., ed. do., 1881-86, passim  ; J. C. Geikie, The Holy Land and the Bible , do., 1903, pp. 50-52, 74; H. B. Swete, The Apocalypse of St. John 2 , do., 1907, p. 254 f.: J. B. Mayor, The Epistle of St. James 3 , do., 1910, p. 125 C. Bigg, International Critical Commentary , ‘The Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude,’ Edinburgh, 1901, p. 168; The Speaker’s Commentary , iii. [London, 1881] 776; R. A. S. Macalister, The Excavation of Gezer , 3 vols., do., 1912, passim  ; Dict. of Christ and the Gospels ii. 800 f., 824; Hastings’ Single-vol. Dictionary of the Bible , pp. 959, 973 f.; Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) iv. 868-870.

P. S. P. Handcock.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Vine. The first mention of the vine occurs in  Genesis 9:20-21. It was cultivated in Egypt.  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. Special mention is made in the Bible of the vines of Eshcol,  Numbers 13:24;  Numbers 32:9, of Sibmah, Heshbon, and Elealeh,  Isaiah 16:8-10;  Jeremiah 48:32, and of Engedi.  Song of Solomon 1:14. To dwell under the vine and fig 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 5:2;  Isaiah 5:4;  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 vine trailed 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 9:27;  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." The vineyard, which was generally on a bill,  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 80:1-19;  Psalms 13:1-6, 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;  Isaiah 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 6:2.

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [8]

This plant is used as a type of the nation of Israel, and of other nations. Sometimes it is spoken of as a good vine, and in other passages as a vine that was unprofitable and that brought forth evil fruit. GOD speaks of this vine as His own planting, when it refers to Israel. He expected it to bring forth good fruit that would be for His glory, and would bring joy to His heart. Instead of doing so, it brought forth evil fruit in most of the cases where it refers to Israel.

 Genesis 49:11 (b) This vine is Israel. Judah was tied to Israel by blood bonds, and his children also bore the same relationship.

 Deuteronomy 32:32 (a) The vine in this case refers to the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is in contrast with what they should be, the vine of Israel. GOD is telling us that Israel had become so corrupt that they were more like those two wicked cities than like His city, and their works were as evil as those of Sodom.

 Judges 9:12 (b) Jotham is telling the people of Israel that they have invited a weak, helpless person to be their king, because he considered that Abimelech was an incompetent man.

 Psalm 80:8 (a) The nation of Israel is compared to the vine. GOD brought them from Egypt and placed them in the land of Palestine. They replaced the heathen nations whom GOD enabled Joshua to conquer.

 Psalm 128:3 (a) In this case the wife is compared to a vine because she would be beautiful in her life, and fruitful in her conduct. Children would be born into the family, and they would be a blessing to the mother, to the father, and to the nation.

 Jeremiah 2:21 (a) Here we read the sad lament of the Lord because of the evil conduct of His people. The vine is Israel. They did not act like a good vine bearing grapes, but as an evil vine, bearing useless fruit, or poisonous fruit.

 Ezekiel 17:6 (b) This vine is probably the apostate Kingdom of Israel. The first great eagle, the King of Babylon, invaded Israel and took some of the people away as captives to his own land. The second eagle was the King of Egypt. Israel sent messengers to Egypt to obtain help, but Egypt failed and Israel was destroyed. It is a wonderful allegory which is described in verses  Ezekiel 17:12- 18. (See also  Isaiah 5:2;  Jeremiah 2:21;  Ezekiel 15:2).

 Hosea 10:1 (a) GOD expected fruit from His people Israel. He received none. Israel turned to idolatry and to wicked practices learned from the people of the land. They served themselves, and satisfied their own lusts, while GOD's Word was neglected, and His service ignored.

 John 15:1 (a) In this case the Lord Jesus Himself is the vine. Those who are saved by His grace are the branches. GOD sees the believer as a very part of Christ Jesus Himself. The branch bears the likeness of the vine, and has the same living sap flowing through it constantly. It bears the kind of fruit that characterizes the vine. All the fruit on the vine is found on the branches. Let us be bearing fruit for Him.

 Revelation 14:18 (a) This vine refers to the people of the earth of every kindred and nation who are enemies of GOD, enemies of Israel, and reject the authority of Jesus Christ

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [9]

Vine, Vineyard

The holy Scriptures abound with the most lovely representations of Christ and his church under these similitude's; and it is not to be wondered at. The hill-country of Judea abounded with the richest and most luxurious vines. Therefore when the church would speak of her beloved, she called him, "a cluster of cypress in the vineyards of Engedi." ( Song of Song of Solomon 1:14) And evidently on this account, because Jesus is not one blessing, but every one and all. In his person, blood, and righteousness, the church finds an Eshcol, a cluster of all divine perfections, all suited grace, all glory. Hence some read the words of the church in this lovely song, Esh col copher, that is, the man that hath atoned, and is all things of blessing.

And as the church, taught by the Holy Ghost, sings her Epithalamium, or nuptial song, to the praise of Jesus, under the similitude, the Lord Jesus sings his love-song to the same figure: "I am the vine, saith Jesus, and ye are the branches." ( John 15:1, etc.) But I must not enlarge on those topics, how sweet soever they are. The reader will find numberless clusters of them in the sacred word. ( Genesis 49:11;  Psalms 80:1 etc.  Song of Song of Solomon 7:8-12, etc.)

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 Genesis 9:20 Numbers 13 23 Song of Solomon 1:14 Isaiah 16:8-10 Jeremiah 48:32,34 Ezekiel 27:18

The Church is compared to a vine ( Psalm 80:8 ), and Christ says of himself, "I am the vine" ( John 15:1 ). In one of his parables also ( Matthew 21:33 ) our Lord compares his Church to a vineyard which "a certain householder planted, and hedged round about," etc.

 Hosea 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.

Webster's Dictionary [11]

(1): ( n.) Any woody climbing plant which bears grapes.

(2): ( n.) Hence, a climbing or trailing plant; the long, slender stem of any plant that trails on the ground, or climbs by winding round a fixed object, or by seizing anything with its tendrils, or claspers; a creeper; as, the hop vine; the bean vine; the vines of melons, squashes, pumpkins, and other cucurbitaceous plants.

King James Dictionary [12]

VINE, n. L. vinca. See Wine.

1. A plant that produces grapes, of the genus Vitis, and of a great number of varieties. 2. The long slender stem of any plant, that trails on the ground, or climbs and supports itself by winding round a fixed object, or by seizing any fixed thing with its tendrils or claspers. Thus we speak of the hop vine, the bean vine, the vines of melons, squashes, pumpkins, and other encurbitaceous plants.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [13]

See Grapes .

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [14]

Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. Bibliography InformationMcClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Vine'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [15]

vı̄n  :

1. Hebrew Words:

(1) גּפן , gephen , usually the cultivated grape vine. In   Numbers 6:4;  Judges 13:14 we have היּין גּפן , gephen ha - yayı̄n , literally, "vine of wine," translated "grape vine" (Numbers) and "vine," margin "grape vine" (Jgs);  2 Kings 4:39 , שׂדה גּפן , gephen sādheh English Versions of the Bible "wild vine";  Deuteronomy 32:32 , סדם גּפן , gephen ṣedhōm , "vine of Sodom."

(2) שרק , sōrēḳ , in   Isaiah 5:2 , "choicest vine"; שׂורק , sōrēḳ , in  Jeremiah 2:21 , "noble vine"; שרקה , sōrēḳāh , in  Genesis 49:11 , "choice vine"; compare Valley Of Sorek (which see). The Hebrew is supposed to indicate dark grapes and, according to rabbinical tradition, they were unusually sweet and almost, if not quite, stoneless.

(3) נזיר , nāzı̄r , in   Leviticus 25:5 ,  Leviticus 25:11 , "undressed vine," the King James Version "vine undressed," margin "separation." This may mean an unpruned vine and be a reference to the uncut locks of a Nazirite, but it is equally probable that נזיר , nāzı̄r should be בּציר , bācı̄r , "vintage."

For the blossom we have פּרח , peraḥ (  Isaiah 18:5 ), "blossom"; נצּה , niccāh , either the blossom or half-formed clusters of grapes ( Genesis 40:10;  Isaiah 18:5 ); סמדר , ṣemādhar , "sweet-scented blossom" ( Song of Solomon 2:13 ,  Song of Solomon 2:15;  Song of Solomon 7:12 ).

For grapes we have commonly: ענב , ‛ēnābh (a word common to all Semitic languages) (  Genesis 40:10;  Deuteronomy 32:14;  Isaiah 5:2 , etc.); ענבים דּם , dam ‛ănābhı̄m , literally, "blood of grapes," i.e. wine ( Genesis 49:11 ); בּסר , bōṣer , "the unripe grape" ( Isaiah 18:5 , "ripening grape," the King James Version "sour grape";  Job 15:33 , "unripe grapes";  Jeremiah 31:29 f;   Ezekiel 18:2 , "sour grapes"); בּאשׁים , be'ushı̄m "wild grapes" ( Isaiah 5:2 ,  Isaiah 5:4; see Grapes , Wild ); אשׁכּל , 'eshkōl , a "cluster" of ripe grapes ( Genesis 40:10;  Song of Solomon 7:8 f;   Habakkuk 3:17 , etc.; compare Eshcol (which see)); חרצנּים , ḥarcannı̄m , usually supposed to be the kernels of grapes ( Numbers 6:4 ).

2. Greek and Latin:

In Greek we have ἄμπελος , ámpelos , "vine" (  Matthew 26:29 , etc.), σταφυλή , staphulḗ (Sirach 39:26, "blood of grapes";  Matthew 7:16 , "grapes," etc.), and βότρυς , bótrus ( Revelation 14:18 ), "cluster of the vine." In the Latin of 2 Esdras vinea is "vine" in 5:23 ("vineyard" in 16:30, 43); botrus (9:21) and racemus (16:30) are "cluster"; acinium (9:21) and uva (16:26) are "a grape."

3. Antiquity and Importance:

Palestine appears to have been a vine-growing country from the earliest historic times. The countless wine presses found in and around centers of early civilization witness to this. It is probable that the grape was largely cultivated as a source of sugar: the juice expressed in the "wine press" was reduced by boiling to a liquid of treacle-like consistency known as "grape honey," or in Hebrew debhash (Arabic, dibs ). This is doubtless the "honey" of many Old Testament references, and before the days of cane sugar was the chief source of sugar. The whole Old Testament witnesses to how greatly Palestine depended upon the vine and its products. Men rejoiced in wine also as one of God's best gifts (  Judges 9:13;  Psalm 104:15 ). But the Nazirite might eat nothing of the vine "from the kernels even to the husk" ( Numbers 6:4;  Judges 13:14 ).

The land promised to the children of Israel was one of "vines and fig trees and pomegranates" ( Deuteronomy 8:8 ); they inherited vineyards which they had not planted ( Deuteronomy 6:11;  Joshua 24:13;  Nehemiah 9:25 ). Jacob's blessing on Judah had much reference to the suitability of his special part of the land to the vine ( Genesis 49:11 ). When the leading people were carried captive the poor were left as vine dressers ( 2 Kings 25:12;  Jeremiah 52:16 ), lest the whole land should lapse into uncultivated wilderness. On the promised return this humble duty was, however, to fall to the "sons of the alien" ( Isaiah 61:5 the King James Version).

4. Its Cultivation:

The mountain regions of Judea and Samaria, often little suited to cereals, have always proved highly adapted to vine culture. The stones must first be gathered out and utilized for the construction of a protecting wall or of terraces or as the bases of towers ( Isaiah 5:2;  Matthew 21:33 ). Every ancient vineyard had its wine press cut in a sheet of rock appearing at the surface. As a rule the vinestocks lie along the ground, many of the fruit-bearing branches falling over the terraces (compare   Genesis 49:22 ); in some districts the end of the vine-stock is raised by means of a cleft stick a foot or more above the surface; exceptionally the vine branches climb into trees, and before a dwelling-house they are sometimes supported upon poles to form a bower (compare  1 Kings 4:25 , etc.).

The cultivation of the vine requires constant care or the fruit will very soon degenerate. After the rains the loosely made walls require to have breaches repaired; the ground must be plowed or harrowed and cleared of weeds - contrast with this the vineyard of the sluggard ( Proverbs 24:30-31 ); in the early spring the plants must be pruned by cutting off dead and fruitless branches ( Leviticus 25:3 ,  Leviticus 25:4;  Isaiah 5:6 ) which are gathered and burned ( John 15:6 ). As the grapes ripen they must be watched to keep off jackals and foxes ( Song of Solomon 2:15 ), and in some districts even wild boars ( Psalm 80:13 ). The watchman is stationed in one of the towers and overlooks a considerable area. When the grape season comes, the whole family of the owner frequently take their residence in a booth constructed upon one of the larger towers and remain there until the grapes are practically finished. It is a time of special happiness (compare  Isaiah 16:10 ). The gleanings are left to the poor of the village or town ( Leviticus 19:10;  Deuteronomy 24:21;  Judges 8:2;  Isaiah 17:6;  Isaiah 24:13;  Jeremiah 49:9;  Micah 7:1 ). In the late summer the vineyards are a beautiful mass of green, as contrasted with the dried-up parched land around, but in the autumn the leaves are sere and yellow ( Isaiah 34:4 ), and the place desolate.

5. Vine of Sodom:

The expression "vine of Sodom" ( Deuteronomy 32:32 ) has been supposed, especially because of the description in Josephus ( BJ , IV, viii, 4), to refer to the colocynth ( Citrullus colocynthis ), but it is far more probable that it means "a vine whose juices and fruits were not fresh and healthy, but tainted by the corruption of which Sodom was the type" (Driver, Commentary on Deuteronomy ). See Sodom , Vine Of .

Figurative : Every man "under his vine and under his fig-tree" (  1 Kings 4:25;  Micah 4:4;  Zechariah 3:10 ) was a sign of national peace and prosperity. To plant vineyards and eat the fruit thereof implied long and settled habitation ( 2 Kings 19:29;  Psalm 107:37;  Isaiah 37:30;  Isaiah 65:21;  Jeremiah 31:5;  Ezekiel 28:26;  Amos 9:14 ); to plant and not eat the fruit was a misfortune ( Deuteronomy 20:6; compare  1 Corinthians 9:7 ) and might be a sign of God's displeasure ( Deuteronomy 28:30;  Zephaniah 1:13;  Amos 5:11 ). Not to plant vines might be a sign of deliberate avoidance of permanent habitation ( Jeremiah 35:7 ). A successful and prolonged vintage showed God's blessing ( Leviticus 26:5 ), and a fruitful wife is compared to a vine ( Psalm 128:3 ); a failure of the vine was a sign of God's wrath ( Psalm 78:47;  Jeremiah 8:13;  Joel 1:7 ); it might be a test of faith in Him ( Habakkuk 3:17 ). Joseph "is a fruitful bough,... his branches run over the wall" ( Genesis 49:22 ). Israel is a vine ( Isaiah 5:1-5 ) brought out of Egypt ( Psalm 80:8 f;   Jeremiah 2:21;  Jeremiah 12:10; compare  Ezekiel 15:2 ,  Ezekiel 15:6;  Ezekiel 17:6 ). At a later period vine leaves or grape clusters figure prominently on Jewish coins or in architecture.

Three of our Lord's parables are connected with vineyards ( Matthew 20:1 ff;   Matthew 21:28 ,  Matthew 21:33 ff), and He has made the vine ever sacred in Christian symbolism by His teaching regarding the true vine (Jn 15).