A watchtower in an olive grove near Lower Beth Horan (Sept. 2003)

In the limestone hill country north of Jerusalem the people built terraces and planted olive trees.  Vines were planted and supported by the stone walls.  They appeared as light green on the limestone walls.  The watchtower was used for security purposes.

January 22, 2006 near Bethel along Rte 60.

 In 2006 I toured the West Bank along Rte. 60 north of Bethel near Ofra and found numerous watchtowers.

Israel once tended many vineyards.  Currently some wine was produced in the north of Israel, but there is not as much wine industry in the West Bank as
the area was primarily Muslim and they did not allow the consumption of alcohol.  As late as the Byzantine era there were numerous vines, wine amphorae, and grapes represented by artwork.  Having traveled the roads between Jerusalem and Shechem I had opportunity to photograph some of the walls and watchtowers that remain.


Parable of the Vineyard Owner

Matthew 21 

American Standard Version

33 Hear another parable: There was a man that was a householder, who planted a vineyard, and set a wall around it, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into another country.
And when the season of the fruits drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, to receive his fruits.
And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them in like manner.
But afterward he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
But the husbandmen, when they saw the son, said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and take his inheritance.
And they took him, and cast him forth out of the vineyard, and killed him.
When therefore the lord of the vineyard shall come, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those miserable men, and will let out the vineyard unto other husbandmen, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner; This was from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes?
Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

From the Book:  Peeps at Many Lands, The Holy Land, by John Finnemore (1863-1915), London, 1908  

The grape harvest took place in Sept. and Oct.  As the grapes ripened there were thieves who tried to help themselves to the sweet fruits of the vine keeper's labors:  

"Watch must be kept for thieves, who climb the walls at night to steal the precious bunches, and watch must be kept for animals, which will do terrible mischief among the vines if once they break into the vineyard.

Wolves, bears, jackals, foxes, and the village dogs all are very fond of grapes and some of them are very nimble and not easy to keep out.  As the vintage time draws near, the keeper of the vineyard gathers a great store of thorn-bushes and lays them along the top of the walls.  The thorns project beyond the wall, and the bushes are weighted with stones to keep them in place.  This prevents animals from getting in and steeling the grapes.

The vineyard supplies fresh fruit, raisins, and wine.  The fresh grapes are eaten in great quantities during their season, the months of September and October, and still greater quantities are dried for the winter’s store.  In a warm, open spot in the vineyard a smooth floor is prepared, and here bunches of grapes are spread out to dry.  The bunches are frequently turned, and are sprinkled with olive oil to keep the skin moist.  If the weather is hot and dry the grapes become raisins about a fortnight, but unfavourable weather, cloudy or misty, prolongs the time required, and the raisins are not so well flavoured, and are of darker colour.  When the raisins are ready, the women store them carefully in the earthen bins, and they form a valuable part of the food-supply of the year." 

Varro (116 BC – 27 BC) in Rerum Rusticarum Libri Tres; wrote it was necessary for a farmer to fence his vineyard to keep goats out as they were known to destroy the vines.  Varro also listed mice and foxes as a threat to the vineyard as they ate grapes.  

.Parable of the Mustard Seed
     A Mustard Field Along Highway 87-North Shore of Galilee
     Mustard Seeds in the Palm of a Hand
     A Branching Mustard Plant Near the Jordan River/Bethsaida
     Mustard Field March 1999
     Mustard Flowers
Upper Most Seats of the Synagogue

The Fig Tree
     Mt of Olives Fig Tree April 12-13, 2005
     Fig and Pomegranate trees below Siloam in Jerusalem
     Israel Photos II fig tree page
The Good Shepherd
The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats
     Goat Herder
Ritual Cleansing
     The Olive Harvest of Samaria
     Mt. Ebal
     Olive Tree
Pearl of Great Price
A First Century Synagogue at Gamala
     View from the Vulture Overlook
     Overview of Gamala
Modern Galilee Fishing Boats
Caves and/or Tombs
     Steep Slope near the Lake
Feeding the 5,000
     On the Mountain
     Walking on Water

     Ramot-Zelon area
     Alternate location
Mt. Hermon
The Pool(s) of Bethesda in Jerusalem

     Healing Pools
     Southern Pool
     Crusader Chapel and St. Ann Church
The Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem
     Gihon Spring
     Hezekiah's Tunnel
     Overlook of Siloam
Tower of Siloam
A Watch Tower in a Vineyard/Olive Grove
     Grape Vines at Beth Horan

Mt. Precipice
     South Face
     Over the edge
     Measuring Line
     View of Nazareth from near Megiddo
     The Basilica of the Annunciation
Healing a Paralytic in Capernaum
Waterskins and Wineskins
The Fish and the Coin
A Denarius
Casting out a demon
The Road to Jericho
     Old Roman Road
     Wilderness Above Jericho

     Old Jericho
Western Wall
Gethsemane and the Cave of  Gethsemane
Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Rolling Stone Tombs - Jerusalem
     Other Rolling Stone Tombs

Solar Power in Israel

Salt of the earth

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