The fruit of the vine. The grapes of Palestine were very fine, of great size and high flavor, Numbers 13:24. At present, and probably the same has always been true, the wine that is made requires but a small part of the annual yield of the vines. Dr. Robinson says, "No wine is made from the very extensive vineyards of Hebron, except a little by the Jews." While yet green, grapes are used for food in various ways; and are dried in the sun, or their juice preserved in bottles, to secure a pleasant vegetable tart all the year round, Numbers 6:4. Ripe grapes may be had in Syria four or five months, Leviticus 26:5; and when the season closes many are hung up in clusters, suitably protected, and remain without drying up all through the winter. Grapes are exceedingly cheap, and form no small part of the ordinary food. Ripe grapes are also dried into raisins; and after the hanging grapes are gone, the raisins are used until the return of new grapes. Besides the law which protected the first three years’ growth of the vine, (see FRUITS,) there was another law requiring the Jews to leave the gleanings of their vineyards for the poor, Leviticus 19:10,23. The law also allowed one who was passing a vineyard to pick a few grapes to eat on the spot, but not to carry any away, Deuteronomy 23:24. Everywhere we encounter proofs of the admirable humanity that characterized the Mosaic legislation. A vineyard nearly stripped of its clustered treasures was a frequent image of desolation, Isaiah 17:6 24:13 Obadiah 1:5. See VINE.
"Wild grapes" were the fruit of a wild vine, probably the Vitis Labrusca of Linnaeus, the wild claret-grape. The fruit of the wild vine is called oenanthes, of the flower of wine. They never ripen, and are good only for verjuice. In Isaiah 5:2,4, God complains of his people whom he had planted as a choice vine, an excellent plant, that he had a right to require of them good fruit, but they had brought forth only wild grapes-fruit of a bad smell, and a bad taste.