And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.--Revelation 14:14-20
The steps taken in making a vineyard are described in detail in Isaiah 5. The land must be fenced, the stones gathered out, the choicest possible plants obtained. A winepress was cut in the rock, and a watch tower was built to guard against intruders...In such a tower the owner's family will probably pass all the grape season; during the vintage a large proportion of the people are to be found living in the vineyards...When the vintage is over and the leaves turn sere and yellow, the vineyards have a very desolate look. The failure of the vintage was looked upon as one of God's terrible punishments, and a successful and prolonged vintage as a sign of blessing.
(Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible)
[Taken mostly from The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, and Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown.]
The wheat harvest, in the month Sivan, answers to part of our May; a time of the year when the earth is covered with flowers.
Some parts of the land of Judah were famous for vines, especially Engedi; hence we read of the vineyards of Engedi (see Armageddon).
Israel is compared to a vine, which the Lord took out of Egypt and planted in the land of Canaan, where it took root and was settled: "Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.--Psalms 80:8,9
Lev 23:10 "ye shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest unto the priest"--A sheaf, literally, an omer, of the first-fruits of the barley harvest. The barley being sooner ripe than the other grains, the reaping of it formed the commencement of the general harvest season. The offering described in this passage was made on the sixteenth of the first month, the day following the first Passover Sabbath, which was on the fifteenth (corresponding to the beginning of our April); but it was reaped after sunset on the previous evening by persons deputed to go with sickles and obtain samples from different fields. These, being laid together in a sheaf or loose bundle, were brought to the court of the temple, where the grain was winnowed, parched, and bruised in a mortar. Then, after some incense had been sprinkled on it, the priest waved the sheaf aloft before the Lord towards the four different points of the compass, took a part of it and threw it into the fire of the altar--all the rest being reserved to himself. It was a proper and beautiful act, expressive of dependence on the God of nature and providence--common among all people, but more especially becoming the Israelites, who owed their land itself as well as all it produced to the divine bounty. The offering of the wave-sheaf sanctified the whole harvest (Ro 11:16). At the same time, this feast had a typical character, and pre-intimated the resurrection of Christ (1Co 15:20), who rose from the dead on the very day the first-fruits were offered.
There were two harvests in the land, one a barley harvest, which began at the passover, and the other a wheat harvest, which began at Pentecost. According to the Jewish writers, the best fine wheat flour was at Mechumas and Mezonichah, and the next to them was Chephraim, or Ephraim, in the valley.
The land also abounded with vines; the places most noted were Lebanon, Eshcol, Engedi, Ashkelon, Gaza, and Sarepta; according to the above writers, Cerotim and Hatolim were the first for wine, and the second to them were Beth Rimah and Beth Laban in the mountain, and Caphat Sigmah in the valley; the wine of Sharon is also highly commended by them.
According to Josephus, the country of Gennesaret furnished with the best grapes and figs for ten months without intermission, and the rest of fruits throughout the whole year. Figs and pomegranates, the spies brought with them when they returned from searching the land, as well as grapes, are a specimen of the fruits of it.
The mount of Olives was famous for olive trees, and had its name from thence; the whole land abounded with them, and though oil was so much in common use with the Jews, they supplied their neighbours with it. It was usual also, as we are told, for the ten tribes to send oil into Egypt; according to the Jewish doctors, Tekoah was the first place for oil, and the second, Ragab, beyond Jordan; very probably the same with Argob. (see Armageddon for discussion about valley of Jehoshaphat and defeat of an army by the hand of God against those gathered at the place of wine [En-gedi] and the place of oil [Tekoa].)
Besides the great quantities of honey produced by bees in this country, there was much of another sort that dropped from trees, called wild honey, the food of John the Baptist in the wilderness, (Matt 3:4). Pliny speaks of a sort of honey which he calls "eloeomeli," or oil honey, which is said to flow from the olive trees in Syria; but this honey here is generally thought by the Jewish writers to be an honey which was made of the fruit of palm trees, frequent in this country, and especially about Jericho; of which Josephus says, that the palm trees about Jericho, the fatter of them (i.e. of the fruit of them) being pressed, emit a large quantity of honey, scarce exceeded by any; and Maimonides says, that the honey spoken of in the law, particularly in this place, is honey of palm trees, so Ben Melech; and it was not unusual for people of other nations to make honey of the fruit of them. Herodotus reports, that the Babylonians made honey out of palm trees; so the Arabs call honey of palm trees "dibs, dibis, dipso," the same with the word here used; agreeably to which both the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem paraphrase the words, "out of whose palm trees honey is made."
Corn, wine and oil were the principal things the land afforded for the sustenance of men; bread corn, the stay and staff of human life, and which strengthens man's heart, and makes him fit for labour; wine, which is his drink, and makes the heart of man glad and cheerful; and oil, which in these countries was used instead of butter, and was fattening, and made the face to shine. The ingathering of these fruits were at different times; the barley harvest first, the wheat harvest next, and after that the vintage, and the gathering of the olives; and by means of rain in due season they were favoured with each of these.
Deut 32.34 "Is not this laid up in store with me." The fruit of the degenerate vine, its bitter clusters of grapes, and poisonous wine; meaning the evil principles and practices of the apostate church, well known to God, taken notice of by him, and laid up in his mind and memory; for both she and her sins will come in remembrance before God, and will be brought to open view, and appear to have been laid up by him, in order to be exposed at a proper time; see Rev 16:19 18:5; and so the Targums interpret it of evil works: or this may be understood of the punishment of the evil doctrines and practices of the antichristian church, the sentence of which God had secretly passed in his eternal mind, and which he had in reserve, and in due time would execute; it was drawn and signed by him, and, as he says,
"and sealed up among my treasures"; his treasures of wrath, denoting the secrecy of it, and the sure and certain performance of it, and the authority of Christ to execute it; to whom this sealed diploma is given, and all judgment committed; and particularly this to judge the whore of Rome; and who, is able to open the sealed book of God's purposes and decrees, and to accomplish them; and among the rest those which relate to the utter ruin of antichrist, and the antichristian states: so the Targum of Jerusalem, interprets it of the vengeance of the Lord, laid up for the wicked;
it is true of the cup of the wine of the fierceness of the wrath of God, or of the wine of the wrath of God poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation, which he will make great Babylon, and all the worshippers of the beast, drink of.
And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt.
2. baker--or cook, had the superintendence of every thing relating to the providing and preparing of meats for the royal table. Both officers, especially the former, were, in ancient Egypt, always persons of great rank and importance; and from the confidential nature of their employment, as well as their access to the royal presence, they were generally the highest nobles or princes of the blood. (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary)
And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward. And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison. And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad. And he asked Pharaoh's officers that were with him in the ward of his lord's house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly today? And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you. And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me; And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: And Pharaoh's cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand. And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days: Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler...When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head: And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head. And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation there of: The three baskets are three days: Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee. And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand: But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them.--Genesis 40:1-23
The New Century Dictionary:
winnow [akin to wind, E. wind]
I. To free (grain, etc.) from chaff, refuse particles, etc., by means of wind or driven air; fan; blow upon, as the wind does upon the grain in this process; drive or blow (chaff, etc.) away by fanning; fig., to subject to some process of separating or distinguishing (as, to winnow a mass of statements); analyze critically; sift; separate or distinguish (as, to winnow truth from falsehood, or the false from the true; to winnow out the facts in a case); also, (chiefly poetic), to fan or stir (the air) as with the wings in flying; move or flap (the wings) in flying; pursue (a course) with flapping wings in flying.
II. To free grain from chaff by wind or driven air; also, to fly with flapping wings; flutter.
The ungodly...are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.--Psalm 1:4
And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.--Revelation 7:1-4
The threshingfloor was on a prominence outside the city and people would winnow their crops at night because there was a stronger breeze. One of the Targums from the Old Testament states:
(comment by Saddam Hussein following the Gulf War)