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more simple methods formerly used in England ; but, till that time, the methods of cultivating the ground, preparing the corn for the mill, and the agricultural implements were nearly the same as those mentioned in the Bible. The carts and implements used by the Saxons were like those here represented from ancient drawings.
When the grain was threshed out, it was stored in buildings called garners, or granaries, Psa. cxliv. 13; Joel i. 17; Matt. iii. 12. The rich man, mentioned in Luke xii. 18.
Sometimes the quantity of grain thus laid up was very great : in 1 Chron. xxvii. 25, it is recorded, that David had store-houses in the fields, in the cities, and in the villages, and in the castles. Pharaoh's treasure cities, Exod. i. 11, were places of this sort. The quantity laid up by Joseph must have been vast indeed, for it supplied the Egyptians and other nations for several years, Gen. xli. 54 --57 ; xlvii.
Sometimes the grain was buried in pits in the fields, both to preserve it and to keep it from being found by enemies : see Jer. xli. 8. This is still practised in eastern countries.
When the corn was threshed, it was either dried to make parched corn, or ground into flour to make bread. The first is mentioned, Lev. xxiii. 14; 1 Sam. xvii. 17; xxv. 18; and as brought by Barzillai for David's army, 2 Sam. xvii. 28. Being ready for food without other preparation, it was suited for such an occasion. Sometimes corn was parched or dried to make it more fit to grind.
The corn was not ground in large wind or water mills, but in small hand-mills, or pounded in mortars; and each family ground for itself. The mills have been described already. There were also mills in prisons, at which the prisoners ground, as Samson did, Judg. xvi. 21; and see Lam. v. 13. The prophet Isaiah (xlvii. 2) speaks of grinding as the work of a slave. Although it was a laborious work, the people employed used to sing at it; this is alluded to where the sound of the mill is mentioned, as in Jer. xxv. 10, and in Eccl. xii. 4.
Our Lord referred to the harvest, Matt. xiii. 39, when he spoke of the day of judgement. The awful day, when all must stand before the throne of God, is compared to the harvest and vintage in the book of Revelation, xiv. 14—20. There, as elsewhere in the Bible, the harvest refers to the gathering in of God's people; the vintage, to his vengeance on his enemies.
VINEYARDS-WINE AND FRUITS.
Vineyards abounded in all parts of Palestine, but the grapes of the tribe of Judah were considered the best; perhaps Jacob alluded to this, Gen. xlix. 11, in what he said respecting Judah. The bough of a vine is frequently trained along the top of a wall, and secured by stones tied
to the branches. The valley of Eshcol, from whence the spies brought a very large cluster of grapes, Numb. xiii. 23, was in the lot of Judah. The wine of Lebanon is mentioned, Hos. xiv. 7, as very good. We read also of the wines of Heshbon and Sibmah, which were places in the tribe of Reuben. All these were mountainous districts.
The vineyards were generally on the north side of a hill. By comparing Matt. xxi. 33, with Isa. v. 2, and Psa. lxxx. 9, we find that the ground was carefully prepared, the stones picked up, and a wall or hedge made to enclose it. A vineyard of a thousand vines is spoken of, Isa. vii. 23, as paying a rent of a thousand silverings, or shekels, of silver: more than a hundred pounds of English money. A number of persons called vine-dressers, 2 Kings xxv. 12, were employed in planting, pruning, and propping the vines; gathering the grapes, and making the wine. Also in guarding the vineyard; for which purpose small towers were built in them, Matt. xxi. 33; Mark xii. 1, or at least a cottage or lodge, Isa. i. 8. Vines were also trained upon the walls of houses, Psa, cxxviii. 3; Gen. xlix. 22. The Persian vine-dressers train them so at the present day. In
vineyards, these vines are generally kept low, like currant bushes, and trained to stakes, like espaliers. During the seventh year, vineyards were not to be pruned or dressed, Lev. xxv. 3, 4.
The vintage was then, as it is now, a time of mirth: it did not begin till after the harvest, Lev. xxvi. 5; Amos, ix. 13. The grapes were gathered and put into baskets, Jer. vi. 9; they were then thrown into the wine vat, and at first trodden by men, as is now usual in many
wine tries, and then pressed, Neh. xiii. 15; Rev. xiv. 18—20.
The juice of the grapes produced several sorts of wine. Some was little better than vinegar, like the common wines of France and other countries, which are rough and tart, as the common cider drank in the west of England: see Ruth ii. 14. It was probably this wine which Solomon sent in large quantities to Hiram, for the wood-cutters in Lebanon, 2 Chron. ii. 10.
The wine was generally mixed with water; also with spices : see Prov. ix. 2, 5; xxiii. 30; Psa. lxxv. 8. It was best when old, or on the lees, which means that the lees or dregs had sunk to the bottom of the vessels in which it was kept, Isa. xxv. 6. The poor were allowed to glean grapes as well as corn, Lev. xix. 10; Deut. xxiv. 21.
The wine was kept in skins, or leather bottles, made of the entire skin of a kid or goat, or of pieces of leather sewn together, and the seams covered with pitch: see page 16. Water and wine are carried in this manner at the present day in eastern countries. There were also bottles or vessels made of clay by the potters: see Jer. xix. 1, 10; xlviii. 12; Isa. xxx. 14, margin. Dried grapes, or raisins, were used by the Jews, 1 Sam. xxx. 12; 2 Sam. xvi. 1; 1 Chron. xii. 40. In Deut. xxviii. 39, the Jews were told that if they disobeyed the Lord, they should not eat of the vineyards they had planted.
The vines required considerable care and attention, or they would not produce good fruit. To this our Lord refers, John xv. 2, where he so beautifully compares himself to a vine, and his people to the branches. The vines would not bring forth good fruit unless they were pruned, and the useless branches cut away. Thus we shall not bring forth good fruit, (that is, do what is right,) unless our evil habits and sinful inclinations are taken away. The vine cannot prune itself, so we cannot make ourselves good; but the Lord, in mercy, does this for his people. Though what he
finds needful for them sometimes is very painful, yet it is for their good; and by the power of Christ, who is the root, see John xv., they are enabled to do what is right and pleasing in the sight of God. The press in which the grapes were squeezed, is often mentioned when the manner in which the Lord will punish sinners by his almighty power, which none can withstand, is described: see Isa. lxiii. 3.
There were several sorts of fruits common in Judæa besides grapes. Among them were dates, 2 Chron. xxxi. 5, marginal reading Also pomegranates, Deut. viii. 8; i Sam. xiv. 2 ; Cant. viii. 2, which are very pleasant fruit; figs, mentioned Jer. xxiv. 2, and in many texts; cucumbers and melons, these the Israelites had eaten in Egypt, Numb. xi. 5, and found them in the promised land. Melons and cu-cumbers are much cultivated in eastern countries. Jowett mentions, that they abound in Egypt at the present day.
“They grow in such abundance on the river side, that the sailors of the Nile freely helped themselves; and here and there was a small but made of reeds, just large enough to shelter a man to protect the fruit; as is mentioned, Isa. i. 8, a lodge in a garden of cucumbers.”” Sometimes, when there was a scarcity, the Israelites ate the gourds which grew wild in the fields, as 2 Kings iv. 39. Our Lord cursed the barren fig-tree, Mark xi. 13. There is a sort of fig-tree in the east, called the sycamore-fig, which bears fruit several times in the year, and not at any certain
The words of our Lord declared, that as the tree was then barren, it should wither away. As it stood by the way-side, it does not appear to have been the particular property of any one; in the sentence passed upon it, it has been considered a striking type of the condition of the unbelieving Jews.
One of the principal fruits cultivated by the Jews was the olive. It was particularly valuable on account of the oil it yielded when ripe, Zech. iv. 12; when cultivated with care, the fruit is much finer than on wild trees. This is beautifully alluded to in Rom. xi. 17—24, where St. Paul reminds the Gentiles of the inestimable benefits they receive from being admitted into the church of Christ. It appears from ancient books on husbandry, that the method there described, of grafting the shoots of the wild olive upon the cultivated stock, was the plan pursued.
The olives were cultivated in gardens separately; this