What is…
“winefat” in the King James Version

Greek: ὑπολήνιον —transliteration: hupolénion or hypolenion —meaning: a vessel, vat or trough beneath a winepress to receive the grape juice

Greek: ληνός —transliteration: lenos —meaning: a trough, vat, winepress

The original word Greek word hypolenion was translated in the King James Version of Mark 12:1 as “winefat.”

…A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen… —Mark 12:1 KJV excerpt

The New King James Version translates hupolénion as “wine vat” (Mark 12:1 NKJV) as does the NASB (Mark 12:1 NASB). The English Standard Version says “a pit for the winepress” (Mark 12:1 ESV) as does the NIV (Mark 12:1 NIV).

It properly denotes the trough or lake (lacus), as it was called by the Romans, into which the juice of the grapes ran from the trough above it. It is here used, however, of the whole apparatus. In the parallel passage in Matthew 21:33 the Greek word lenos is used. This properly denotes the upper one of the two vats.

In the Old Testament, the translation “winefat” also appears in the King James Version:

Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? —Isaiah 63:2

In this instance, the original Hebrew word is גַּת (gath —transliteration)—a noun which refers to a wine press.

More modern translations of this verse say “wine press” (Isaiah 63:2 NKJV, Isa. 63:2 NASB, Isa. 63:2 ESV, LSB).

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Article Version: January 11, 2023