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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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This well-known and valuable plant is the subject of frequent. Biblical notice and a conspicuous element of Oriental agriculture.

I. The following Hebrew words denote the vine:

1. Gé phen (גֶּפֶן ), or, more definitely, gé phen hay-yá yin (גֶּפֶן חִיִּיַן ), of frequent occurrence in the Bible, and used in a general sense. Indeed, gé phen sometimes is applied to a plant that resembles a vine in some particulars, as גֶּפֶן שָׂדֶה (gé phen sadeh), 2 Kings 4:39, i.e. probably the colocynth plant, (See GOURD), or גֶּפֶן סַדֹם (gé phen sedom), the vine of Sodom, certainly not a vine. (See VINE OF SODOM).

2. Sorê k (שׂרֵק ), or sorê kah (שׂרֵקָה ), is a term expressive of some choice kind of vine (Jeremiah 2:21; Isaiah 5:2; Genesis 49:11), supposed to be identical with that now called in Morocco serki and in Persia kishmish, with small round dark berries and soft stones (see Niebuhr, Descript. de Arabie, p. 147; and Oedmann, Sammlung, 2, 97). From the passage in Jeremiah, it is clear that the sorê k denotes not another species of vine, but the common vine, which by some process of cultivation attained a high state of excellence.

3. Nazir (נָזַיר ), originally applied to a Nazarite who did not shave his hair, expresses an "undressed vine" (A.V.), i.e. one which every seventh and every fiftieth year was not pruned (see Gesenius, Thesaur. s.v.).

The regular Greek word for "vine" is ἄμπελος, of generic signification. Grapes are designated by various names:

(1.) Eshkol (אֶשְׁכֹּל ) is either "a cluster," ripe or unripe, like racemus, or a "single grape" (as in Isaiah 65:8; Micah 7:1).

(2.) Encab (עֵנָב ); Arab. eynob, "a cluster."

(3.) Bô ser (בֹּסֶר ), sour, i.e. unripe grapes (Isaiah 18:5).

(4.) Zemorah (זְמוֹרָה ), " a grape cut off." The "blossom" of the vine. is called semadá r (סְמָדִר ), Song of Solomon 2:13; Song of Solomon 2:15. "Grape- stones" are probably meant by chartsanim (חִרַצִנַּים ); A. V. "kernel," Numbers 6:4. The "cuticle" of the grape is denominated zâ g (זָג ), ibid. loc. cit.; the "tendrils" by sarigim (שָׂרַיגַים ), Joel 1:7. (See GRAPE).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Vine'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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