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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Vine

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(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 article Abstinence).

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 article Harvest).

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 Bible10, 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.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Vine'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/v/vine.html. 1906-1918.

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