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Hosea 14:7 (NKJV)

7 Those who dwell under his shadow shall return;
They shall be revived like grain,
And grow like a vine.
Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

  1. What is the wine of Lebanon?
  2. Why was this wine unique?
  3. What does it mean to have the scent of the wine of Lebanon?
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  • Several verses speak of the 'cedars of Lebanon', such as Judg. 9:15 and 1Kin. 4:33. Perhaps the 'wine' is the sap, which smells of cedar. Psa. 104:16 - "The trees of the LORD are full [of sap]; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted."
    – tblue
    Dec 16, 2017 at 21:48
  • @tblue. what makes you think that "wine" does not mean "wine"?
    – fdb
    Dec 17, 2017 at 0:09
  • @fdb It could - just that I most often read Lebanon with cedars. Did quick study: Out of 66 vv. with Lebanon in them, 20 also mention cedars; 11 wildwoods and other trees/foilage; 1 snow (Jer. 18:14); 1 water and trees (Ezek 31:15); 1 well of waters (SSol. 4:15); 1 waters (Ezek. 3:16). Hosea is only wine reference. For me, if wine here isn't a metaphor, it still isn't 'grape wine' that is meant.
    – tblue
    Dec 17, 2017 at 3:53
  • @tblue I wish I was a Jew living in ancient Israel. There is so much about scripture in terms of usage and context that has been lost. This verse proves it.
    – user20490
    Dec 18, 2017 at 9:42

3 Answers 3

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Lebanon is a hilly country with a warm climate and was famous in the ancient world for its wine. It is still a major wine-producer today. Is there any reason to suspect that the verse means anything other than what it says?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanese_wine

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I don't really know who is leading (experts) this discussion here on the issue of wine making in Lebanon during antiquities. I was hoping for more historical and geographical knowledge depth and scope here.

For all they did - among other things - Phoenicians traded in olive oil, purple dye and other luxury goods like ivory, precious metals and glass, and most importantly Home grown VINO!

With that, and to support this important trade, there were wine making " factories" all around the coast and mountains - as is still the case nowadays. There are currently over 80 modern wineries operating in Lebanon in all colours and shades of alcohol.

Some in Lebanon go even as far as claiming that the Wedding at Qana - first miracle of Jesus transforming water into wine - actually took place in modern day Lebanon! so the country was and is still awash with the good stuff since biblical times.

Nowadays, wine producers became savvy and they adopted mostly French (good marketing) names for their teroir. Internationally acclaimed labels like Chateau Musar, Berrou points to Château Kefraya, Château Ksara, Domaine des Tourelles, Massaya, and Ixsir can be found on the shelves of good wine purveyors globally.

Currently, Lebanon produces around 10.5 million bottles, and exports about 50% of its wines annually.

The link to the National Geographic article below on the subject further supports the importance of wine making in Lebanon. But we always knew this anyway!

So, IMHO, it cannot be anything but the physical wine that was used as a reference here and not an allegorical one!

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/2600-year-old-wine-factory-unearthed-lebanon#:~:text=Excavations%20at%20Tell%20el%2DBurak,roughly%20corresponded%20to%20modern%20Lebanon.

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    – agarza
    Dec 8, 2022 at 4:28
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I think a more preferred translation of the Hosea text would take the word, זִכְר֖וֹ, in the sense of "renown" - i.e. his "renown" will be like the wine of Lebanon.

That being said, Lebanon was known for its Phoenician background. Archeologists have recently dug up a wine press at the Tell el-Burak site located near the modern-day Lebanese city of Sidon. It dates to the 7th century BC. Considering that Hosea was living in the 8th century, it is a helpful clue on the how the wine of Lebanon would have been made.

An issue of Wine Spectator has an interesting take on the discovery:

What did they and their gods like most in their cups? Unfortunately, it's still unclear which ancient grape varieties they vinified and how those grapes might be linked to modern varieties. "The seeds collected at Tell el-Burak were charred and could not be studied for DNA," said Sader. Descendants of those varieties were wiped out by phylloxera.

Lime-based mortars were found at the Tell el-Burak site. This suggests the use of local, naturally abundant limestone that was also used in the construction of the wine press. It has long been recognized that the world's great wine regions such as Champagne, Burgundy, Chablis, the Loire and southern Rhône valleys, and Saint-Emilion in Bordeaux are rich with limestone. In other words, planting vineyards in limestone soil likely led to Lebanon's fame in the days of Hosea for the making of great wines. For the science behind that see this article.

One scholar notes about the use of plaster for the wine press floor at the Tell el-Burak site. The plaster that covered the floor of the wine press, which is believed to be the earliest evidence of a resistant and waterproof plaster obtained by adding crushed ceramic shards, was later adopted by the Romans in their buildings. The scholar notes:

Grog-tempering therefore represents a technological choice linked to the production of a high-quality, hydraulic lime plaster.

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