Gershon Hepner

Planting the Israelites Like Vineyards

When God tells Nathan that the Israelites will plant

His people, He prophetically implies that they

will be uprooted, though of course He hopes they shan’t,

but grieves this will occur one future day.


When God tells Amos that the Israelites will plant

their vineyards, to this prophesy he adds that He

will plant them, too, like vines; this doesn’t mean they can’t

remain in Israel for an eternity.


God plants His people so they thrive like twining vines

on desert land to which they are well suited,

maturing on the terroir like good vintage wines

until they, like the Temple, are uprooted,


but after barren years once more replanted

on dry-as-desert land, they’ll yet again produce

a wine that, once matured enough to be decanted,

rejoices hearts of all the Jews who drink this juice.


Isabel Kershner writes in the September 7 2022 New York Times about vineyards in the Negev (“Desert Winemaking ‘Sounds Absurd,’ but Israeli Vineyards in Negev Show the Way”):

Among the ruins of Avdat, an ancient city in the Negev Highlands that existed from the Nabatean period in the fourth century B.C. until its demise soon after the Muslim conquest in the seventh century A.D., archaeologists have unearthed wine presses and cisterns from up to 1,600 years ago — evidence of a thriving Byzantine-era wine production and export industry.

The ancients of the area grew vines on terraced hillsides and may have produced up to one million liters of wine per year, according to Lior Schwimer, an Israeli archaeologist. The remnants of the distinctive jars used to store the wine have been found as far afield as France and Britain.

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at
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