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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, as it supplied the Egyptians and other nations
for several years, Gen. xl. 46–49. 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. We find that our Lord referred to the harvest, Matt. xiii. when he spoke of the day of judgment. That awful day, when all must stand before the throne of God, is com. pared to the harvest in the book of Revelation.
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. xxiji. 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 well suited for such an occasion. Sometimes, however, it was parched or dried, only to make it more fit to grind.
The corn was not ground in large mills like ours, but in small hand-mills or mortars, and each family ground for itself. These mills have been mentioned already.
There were also mills in prisons, at which the prisoners ground, as Sampson did, Judg. xvi. 21, and Lam. v, 13. The prophet Isaiah, xlvii. 2. also speaks of grinding as the work of a slave. But the manner in which bread was made has been already spoken of, and therefore it need not be repeated here. Although it was a laborious work, the people employed used to sing at it; and this is alluded to where the sound of the mill is mentioned, as in Jer. xxv. 10, and Ecc. xii. 4. We may hence learn cheerfully to fulfil our daily duties whatever they may be, for “Better is a handful with quietness,” (that is, peace of mind and content,) “than both hands full with travail and vexation of spirit," Eccles. iv. 6.
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, as is here represented. The valley of Eshcol from whence the spies brought the very large cluster of grapes, Numb. xiii. 23. was in the lot of that tribe. The wine of Lebanon is also mention. ed, Hos. xiv. 7. as very good.
The vineyards were generally on the north side of a hill. By comparing Matt. xxi. 33. with Isa. v. and Psa. 1xxx, we find that the ground was carefully prepared, the stones picked off the ground, 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 silverlings, or shekels of silver, more than a hundred pounds of our 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 ; and for this purpose
small towers were built in them, Matt. xxi. 33. Mark xii.1. or at least a cottage, 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, the 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 countries, and pressed, Rev. xiv. 18—20.
The juice of the grapes produced several sorts of wine. Some was little better than vinegar, as is the case with the common wines in France and other countries, which are rough and tart like the common cider drank in the West of England ; see Ruth ii. 14. It was probably this wine which Solomon sent in such 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 vessel in which it was kept, Isa. xxv. 6. Poor people 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 either of the entire skin of a kid or goat, or of pieces of leather sewn together, and the seams covered with pitch : see the representation and account of them
Water and wine are both carried in this man. ner 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 also used by the Jews, 2 Sam. xvi. i. 1 Sam. xxx. 12. 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 care and attention in pruning,
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 cannot 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; in Isa. lxiii. 3. this is very strongly stated.
There were several sorts of fruit common in Judea be. sides grapes. Among these were dates, 2 Chron. xxxi. 5. marginal reading. Also pomegranates, Deut. viii. 8. 1 Sam. xiv. 2. Cant. viii. 2. which were a very pleasant fruit ; figs, these are mentioned in many texts ; cucumbers and melons, these the Israelites had eaten in Egypt, Num. xi. 5. and found them in the promised land. Melons and cucumbers are much cultivated in eastern countries. Mr. Jowett mentions that they abound in Egypt at the present day. He says, “they grew in such abundance on the river side, that the sailors on the Nile freely helped themselves, and here and there was a small hut made of reeds, just large enough to shelter a man to protect the fruit; as is mentioned Isai. i. 8. 6a lodge in a garden of cucumbers.'” Sometimes the Israelites ate the gourds which grew wild in the fields, when there was a scarcity, as 2 Kings iv. 39. My readers will recollect that 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 season. The words of our Lord seem to imply that, as the tree was then barren it should continue