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LIFE > Life in the World > Drinkers of Wine > Nation of Israel > A Land of Wine


God gave the people a land of wine! Out of Egyptian bondage God delivered His people in order to give to them the land He had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, a land of cities, houses, wells, vineyards, and olive trees (Deut. 6:10-11; see: 8:7-8).

Before his death Moses blessed the nation, saying that God “rides the heavens to help you” (Deut. 33:26), that “He will thrust out the enemy from before you” (v. 27), and that you “shall dwell in safety . . . in a land of grain and new wine (tirosh)” (v. 28). Through Moses God characterized the land He was going to give to His people as a land of wine, a land of new wine, the very best wine. Because of God’s gracious act for His people, Moses says to the nation: “Happy are you, O Israel” (v. 29).

This land of “new wine (tirosh)” was significant to the nation that did not drink “wine (yayin) or similar drink (shekar)” for forty years while wandering in the wilderness (Deut. 29:6; for shekar, see: Sacrifices and Feasts). There were no grapes or vineyards in the desert, just as there had been no bread. God was going to give them a land which would provide them these things (see: Deut. 6:10-12 and 8:8).

A glimpse of the land was gained by the spies sent from the wilderness of Paran into the land of Palestine at “the season of the first ripe grapes” (Num. 13:20). Moses told them to go and “see what the land is like” (v. 18). They spied out the land. In the Valley of Eshcol (lit., “cluster”) they “cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes” and “carried it between two of them on a pole” (v. 23) back to the nation, giving evidence of the fruit of the land. The land was indeed a land of abundance, a land of vineyards, a land of wine.

Sections of the land were known for their vineyards; references are made to:

the men of Shechem and their vineyards (Jud. 9:26-27);

the vineyards at Shiloh (Jud. 21:19-21);

the vineyards of Timnah (Jud. 14:5);

the vineyards of En Gedi (Song of Solomon 1:14);

the vine of Sibmah (Jer. 48:32);

the wine of Helbon (Ezek. 27:18);

the cluster of grapes from the Valley of Eshcol (Num. 13:23-24).

It was indeed a good land. Though the grapes and wine came from the land, ultimately the people identified the wine as a gift from God through the land.

How can any serious student of the Scriptures consider wine to be evil
and prohibit its use
when God gave His people a land of vineyards and wine?

Then Israel shall dwell in safety,
the fountain of Jacob alone,
in a land of grain and new wine;
His heavens shall also drop dew.
Happy are you, O Israel.
Deut. 33:28-29

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