It was Solomon who built up a professional army, for through taxation and trading he was able to accumulate sufficient wealth to pay for it (1 Kings 10:25-27). In times of national emergency the regular army was supplemented by conscripts. Recruiting officers went through the tribes on such occasions and were still in use at a much later date (2 Kings 25:18; 2 Chronicles 11:1).
The vine was of great importance in the religion of Israel. It was used as a symbol of the religious life of Israel itself, and a carving of a bunch of grapes often adorned the front exterior of the synagogue. The symbolism was based upon passages such as Psalm 80 and Isaiah 5:1-5 where Israel is God’s vine.
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.
Grapevines are a plant well suited to the climate of Palestine. Grapes were cultivated as far back as Noah’s day (Gen 9:20) and were eaten fresh, dried, or crushed to make juice, vinegar, or wine. In an area where water was often in short supply, the juice from grapes became crucial for life. Clusters of grapes as large as five kilograms (twelve pounds) have been reported in Palestine, giving validity to the spies’ account of the grapes in Canaan in