This study of The Garden and Grapes could have been The Fruit Eve and Adam Ate. Now before I lose some of you, it needs to be said that God, in His wisdom, did not tell us the type of fruit on the Tree of Knowledge. Declaring that grapes could be a possibility is a big “What If” and that is fine with me.
Now, the next sticky point is that the Bible says tree and not vine. The actual word in Biblical Hebrew is etz. This word has two means – tree and wood. So, in Ezekiel 15:2,6 and Numbers 6:4 when it is translated into the phrase called a vine tree, it started me on this study. Most vines do not take a freestanding form of a tree. But I have seen some vines that are kept small actually act like a tree. You will not make a chair or tool handle out of that wood, but they can stand up and look like a tree (small tree). (We had a freestanding wisteria vine that was under six-foot-tall with a single main trunk and an umbrella-shaped top.)
https://www.balashon.com/2007/01/etz-and-ilan.html is a website that does a good job with the word etz.
I would usually argue that the tree Eve ate from was a fig tree. Fig trees in scripture can be a shadow for dead religious works, practices, and churches. That idea is simple to grab a hold of because Adam and Eve sewed together fig leaves to hide from God. Jesus during Holy Week symbolically put an end to “fig tree religion” when He cursed one because of no fruit. He then became “the true Vine” with Gentiles grafted into Him. THINKING OUT LOUD MOMENT – What if the Tree of Life was/is a “true” fig tree!
Grapes, grapevines, wine, winepresses, and raisins all are mentioned in the Bible. Just like the Tree in the Garden, these items can carry a “Good and Evil” label or function. Wine is good in some context and a troublemaker in others, just like the knowledge the tree gave Eve and Adam. It is this dual nature that makes me lean in the favor of grapes as “the fruit” in the Garden. Numbers 6:3 contains the requirements for a Nazirite while he is seeking God (John the Baptist was one for life Luke 1:15.) Why grapes? The plant is a symbol of the kingdom and grapes/raisins are good for the body. Wine can “gladden man’s heart” but too much wine can lead to debauchery. My simple thought is that God wanted them to focus on HIM for the time they were seeking God. Hearing God and not the many voices around you for a season is good. After that time, they then could enjoy “grapes” again.
A Sample of Grape Verses
There are many verses in the Bible about grapes, wine, and raisins. So, the ones I am about to use are just a sample that shows the good/evil nature.
Deuteronomy 32: 32+33 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter (KJV). These verses are talking about Jeshurun (the upright one), which is another name for Israel.
Hosea 9:10a (KJV) I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first ripe in the fig tree at her first time. Part B is the other story – but they went to Baal Peor and separated themselves unto that shame, and their abominations were according as they loved. The section that proceeds this is comparing Israel (northern kingdom) to Gibeah, the town in Benjamin that raped the Levite’s wife. King Saul was from Gibeah.
Isaiah 5:4 (NIV) What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?
Luke 5:38+39 (NIV) is the story of new wine into new wineskins. New wine is the Spirit of God and His fresh anointing. Verse 39 – And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, The old is better. Sticking with the idea of good/evil and new/old, the old knowledge is “just better”.
Mark 12:1 is the parable about the kingdom and Jesus, as told using a vineyard and renters.
John 2:1 is the first of the seven major miracles in John (there are many more). Jesus is at a wedding, creating a “need” from the fruit of the vine in stone/earthen jars, and the very next story is a Passover. How much more symbolism does one story.
May I please try to pull my scattered thoughts in and end this study? Grapes, like knowledge, are not the problem. What you do with the grapes/knowledge defines them as good or evil.
If the “tree” is a stumbling root, doing something useful with a vine tree’s wood will fall into that good/bad area. If you need a strong solid piece of wood, it is not coming from a vine. They are good for fuel for a fire, wreaths for your door, or tying bundles of sticks together. Swinging out of a tree is a good use, as well. Some days knowledge is like that wood. It will burn you up, make a pretty wall hanging, actually bring things/thoughts together, or have you flying around in the air going nowhere and just leave you hanging.
Final thought – Adam and Eve would have gotten “everything” they needed if they would have eaten from the Tree of Life.