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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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is the rendering in the A.V. of three. Hebrew and one Greek words: גִּת, gath ("wine-press," Judges 6:11; Nehemiah 13:15; Lamentations 1:15; "wine-fat," Isaiah 63:2; "press," Joel 3:13), which denotes the whole apparatus, (See GETHSEMANE), or (as Gesenius prefers) simply the large vat (ληνός) in which the grapes were trodden, the latter being a meaning specifically borne by פּוּרָה, purah ("wine-press," Isaiah 63:3; "press," Haggai 2:16); while יֶקֶב yekeb ("wine-press," Numbers 18:27; Numbers 18:30; Deuteronomy 15:14; Judges 7:25; 2 Kings 6:27; Job 24:11; Isaiah 5:2; Jeremiah 48:33; Hosea 9:2, Zechariah 14:10; "press," Proverbs 3:10; Isaiah 16:10; "fat," Joel 2:24; Joel 3:13; "press-fat," Haggai 2:16; "wine,"' Deuteronomy 16:13) is thought to denote the lower trough or receptacle into which the expressed juice flows, theὑπολήνιον of Mark 12:1.

The last Hebrew word is derived by Gesenius (Thesaur. page 619 b) from a root signifying to hollow or dig out; and in accordance with this is the practice in Palestine, where the "wine-press" and "vats" appear to have been excavated out of the native rock of the hills on which the vineyards lay. From these scanty notices contained in the Bible we gather that the wine- presses of the Jews consisted of two receptacles or vats placed at different elevations, id the upper one of which the grapes were trodden, while the lower one received the expressed juice.. The two. vats are mentioned together only in Joel 3:13 : "The press (gath) is full; the fats (yekebim) overflow" the upper vat being full of fruit, the lower one overflowing with the must. Yekeb is similarly applied in Joel 2:24, and probably in Proverbs 3:10, where the verb rendered "burst out" in the A.V. may bear the more general sense of "abound" (Gesen. Thesaur. page 1130).

Gats is also strictly applied to the upper vat in Nehemiah 13:15; Lamentations 1:15, and Isaiah 63:2, with purdh in a parallel sense in the following verse. Elsewhere yekeb is not strictly applied; for in Job 24:11, and Jeremiah 48:33, it refers to the upper vat, just as in Matthew 21:33, ὑπολήνιον (properly the vat under the press) is substituted for ληνός, as given in Mark 12:1. It would, moreover, appear natural to describe the whole arrangement by the term gath, as denoting the most important portion of it; but, with the exception of "proper names" in which the word appears, such as Gath, Gath-rinmmon, Gath-hepher, and Gittaimn, the termn ye'ekeb is applied to it (Judges 7:25; Zechariah 14:10). The same term is also applied to the produce of the wine-press ( Numbers 18:27; Numbers 18:30; Deuteronomy 15:14; 2 Kings 6:27; Hosea 9:2). The term purdh, as used in Haggai 2:16, perhaps refers to the contents of a winevat, rather than to the press or vat itself. The two vats were usually dug or hewn out of the solid rock (Isaiah 5:2, marg.; Matthew 21:33). Ancient wine-presses, so constructed, are still to be seen in Palestine (Robinson, Bibl. Res. 3:137; comp. page 603).

Dr. Tristram examined several of these on Mount Carmel, which he describes as being exactly like others observed in the south of Judah. "In all cases a flat or gently sloping rock is made use of for their construction. At the upper end a trough is cut about three feet deep and four and a half by three and a half feet in length and breadth. Just below this, in the same rock, is hewn a second trough, fourteen inches deep and four feet by three in size. The two are connected by two or three small holes bored through the rock close to the bottom of the upper trough, so that, on the grapes being put in and pressed down, the juice streamed into the lower vat. Every vineyard seems to have had one of these presses" (Land of Israel, page 106). The wine-presses were thus permanent, and were sufficiently well known to serve as indications of certain localities (Judges 7:25; Zechariah 14:10). The upper receptacle (gath) was large enough to admit of threshing being carried on in (not "by," as in the A.V.) it, as was done by Gideon for the sake of concealment (Judges 6:11). (See PRESS); (See VINEYARD).

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

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