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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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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 .

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Vine'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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