graft (egkentrizo; the Revised Version (British and American) "graft"; the King James Version, "graff"):
The word occurs 6 times in Romans 11. Paul assumed that those living about Rome were familiar with the process of grafting olive trees, for olive culture had been adopted by the Greeks and Romans in Paul's time. The wild olive trees (Arabic colloquial, zeitun berri) are cut back, slits made on the freshly sawed branch ends, and two or three grafts from a cultivated olive (Arabic colloquial, zeitun jouwi) are inserted in such a way that the bark of the scion and of the branch coincide. The exposed ends are smeared with mud made from clay, and then bound with cloth or date straw, which is held by thongs made from the bark of young mulberry branches. The fruit thus obtained is good. Wild olives cannot be made cultivated olives by engrafting, as Paul implies (Romans 11:24), but a wild olive branch thus grafted would thrive. So Gentiles would flourish spiritually when grafted into the fullness of God's mercy, first revealed to the world through Israel.
James A. Patch
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