Wine was one of the most valuable agricultural commodities in Bible times. People grew grapes to make their own wine, and many farmers produced wine for sale as a commercial product. This verse, from Jesus’ parable of the vineyard owner, gives insight into how grapes were grown and made into wine.
The vines on which grapes grew were planted in rows. These vines were trained to run on stakes, which were pulled over and tied at the tops with the stakes on adjoining rows to form an arch. Harvesting was done by stooping beneath these arches and picking the ripe grapes overhead.
Many vineyards were fenced with a hedge of thronbushes (Job 5:5) or a stone wall (Proverbs 24:30-31) to keep out intruders. A winepress for extracting the juice from the grapes to make wine (Lamentations 1:15) was often located right in the field so the grapes would not have to be carried a long distance after harvesting.
The “tower” mentioned in this verse refers to a watchtower (Isaiah 1:8) that stood in the middle of the vineyard. From this tower, the landowner or his servants stood watch over the grapes while they were ripening to protect them from birds, other animals, and thieves.
MATTHEW 21:33- There was a certain household [landonwer, NIV], which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about [put a wall around it, NIV], and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower.
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