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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Wine Press

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The vintage in Syria commences about the middle of September, and continues till the middle of November. But grapes in Palestine, we are informed, were ripe sometimes even in June or July, which arose perhaps from a triple pruning, in which case there was also a third vintage. The first vintage was in August, the second in September, and the third in October. The grapes when not gathered were sometimes found on the vines until November and December. The Hebrews were required to leave gleanings for the poor, Leviticus 19:10 . The season of vintage was a most joyful one, Judges 9:27 ; Isaiah 16:10 :

Jeremiah 25:30 ; Jeremiah 48:33 . With shoutings on all sides, the grapes were plucked off and carried to the wine press, פורה , פארה , ληνος , which was in the vineyard, Isaiah 53:3 ; Zechariah 14:10 ; Haggai 2:16 ; Matthew 21:33 ; Revelation 14:19-20 . The presses consisted of two receptacles, which were either built of stones and covered with plaster, or hewn out of a large rock. The upper receptacle, called נת , as it is constructed at the present time in Persia, is nearly eight feet square and four feet high. Into this the grapes are thrown and trodden out by five men. The juice flows out into the lower receptacle, through a grated aperture, which is made in the side near the bottom of the upper one. The treading of the wine press was laborious, and not very favourable to cleanliness; the garments of the persons thus employed were stained with the red juice, and yet the employment was a joyful one. It was performed with singing, accompanied with musical instruments; and the treaders, as they jumped, exclaimed, הידר , Isaiah 16:9-10 ; Jeremiah 25:30 ; Jeremiah 48:32-33 . Figuratively, vintage, gleaning, and treading the wine press, signified battles and great slaughters, Isaiah 17:6 ; Isaiah 63:1-3 ; Jeremiah 49:9 ; Lamentations 1:15 . The must, as is customary in the east at the present day, was preserved in large firkins, which were buried in the earth. The wine cellars were not subterranean, but built upon the earth. When deposited in these, the firkins, as is done at the present time in Persia, were sometimes buried in the ground, and sometimes left standing upon it. Formerly, also, new wine or must was preserved in leathern bottles; and, lest they should be broken by fermentation, the people were very careful that the bottles should be new, Job 32:19 ; Matthew 9:17 ; Mark 2:22 . Sometimes the must was boiled and made into syrup, which is comprehended under the term דבש , although it is commonly rendered "honey," Genesis 43:11 ; 2 Chronicles 31:5 . Sometimes the grapes were dried in the sun and preserved in masses, which were called "bunches or clusters of raisins," 1 Samuel 25:18 ; 2 Samuel 16:1 ; 1 Chronicles 12:40 ; Hosea 3:1 . From these dried grapes, when soaked in wine and pressed a second time, was manufactured sweet wine, which is also called new wine, γλευκος , Acts 2:13 .


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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Wine Press'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/wtd/w/wine-press.html. 1831-2.

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