Hosea 3:1 – Flagons or Raisin Cakes


Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.  (Hosea 3:1)


The word for flagons in the “ăshîyshâh” in the Hebrew actually means “something closely pressed together.”  It comes from a root word “âshîysh” which means “pressing down firmly.”  If you are a baker, are you going to press down on your cakes when they come out of the oven or will you hope they rise and be fluffy? 


When one looks at the actions of a winepress, we know that the winepress presses the grapes till the juice comes out.  The word “raisin” is not associated with this word except by example which is outside the word and not contained in the meaning of the word itself.


The theme of Hosea is the faithfulness of God while Israel was being unfaithful.  Hosea started prophesying about 800 B.C. and continued for seventy years.  Israel was playing the harlot with the false religions and were idolatrous. Idolatrous feasts always had liquor and food.  Hosea 3:1 fits the context of the rest of the book of Hosea when it uses the word flagons of wine.  Look at these other verses in Hosea describing the actions of the unfaithful Israelites.  They focus is on wine not food or raisin cakes.  The reason for this is below in the explanation for Ephesians 5:18. 


For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.  (Hosea 2:8)


Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.  (Hosea 4:11)


In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners.  (Hosea 7:5)


And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me.  (Hosea 7:14) 


The floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her.  (Hosea 9:2)


They shall not offer wine offerings to the LORD, neither shall they be pleasing unto him: their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted: for their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the LORD.  (Hosea 9:4)


Ephesians 5:18

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  (Ephesians 5:18)


Now what does this verse have to do with the subject?  An important aspect of this verse is the spiritual aspect.  In the pagan days of ancient countries, they believed getting drunk would bring them closer to their god and that the false god would somehow connect with them.  When many of the people became saved, they brought the same mindset into the church and that is why Paul had to address the problem of drunkenness.  It was done out of debauchery but mainly to become one with their god.  Paul addressed this because many thought they could connect with God the Father or the Lord Jesus Christ by getting drunk and Paul had to deter that type of thinking.  A similar situation exists in the modern church with the Emergent Church Movement where they decry Bible study and want their followers to focus on experience by emptying their mind hoping that God will minister to them but unfortunately, just like getting drunk, both the drunk and the empty mind are havens for demonic activity.  This is why Christians should avoid any contact with alcohol or the experience based Emergent Church Movement.  Both of these are detrimental to the Christian.


Are there any of these ancient pagan festivals today?  There sure is!  We find one here in the USA called Mardi Gras which is dedicated to Bacchus or otherwise known as Dionysus who was the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine, of fertility, ritual madness, and religious ecstasy.  No wonder people go mad at Mardi Gras because it is a satanic festival to the hilt.


1535 Coverdale

Then sayde ye LORDE to me: Go yet yi waye & wowe an aduouterous woma, who thy neghboure loueth, as ye LORDE doth the childre of Israel: how be it they haue respecte to straunge goddes, and loue the wyne kannes.


1537 Matthews Bible

Then sayde the Lorde to me: Go yet thy waye, & vowe an aduouterous woman, whom thy neyghboure loueth, as the Lord doeth the children of Israell: how be it they haue respecte to straunge Goddes, and loue the wine kannes.


1539 Great Bible

Then sayde the Lorde to me: Go yet thy waye & wowe an aduouterous woman, whom thy neyghboure loueth, as the Lorde doth the chyldren of Israel: how be it they haue respecte to straunge goddes, & loue the wyne kannes.


1560 Geneva Bible

Then said the Lord to me, Goe yet, and loue a woman (beloued of her husband, and was an harlot) according to the loue of the Lord toward the children of Israel: yet they looked to other gods, and loued the wine bottels.


1568 Bishop’s Bible

Then sayd the Lorde to me: Go yet and loue a woman beloued of her husbande, and yet an adultresse, according to the loue of the Lorde towarde the chyldren of Israel: and yet they haue respect to straunge gods, and loue the wine pottes.  (Hosea 3:1)


1833 Webster Bible

Then said the LORD to me, Go yet, love a woman beloved by her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD towards the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.


Foreign Language Bibles

Und der HERR sprach zu mir: Gehe noch einmal hin und buhle um ein buhlerisches und ehebrecherisches Weib, wie denn der HERR um die Kinder Israel buhlt, und sie sich doch zu fremden Göttern kehren und buhlen um eine Kanne Wein.  (Hosea 3:1)


Luther’s Bible states “pots of wine.”


Y me dijo otra vez Jehová: Ve, ama una mujer amada de su compañero (aunque adúltera), como el amor de Jehová para con los hijos de Israel; los cuales miran a dioses ajenos, y aman frascos de vino.  (Oseas 3:1)


Reina Valera Gomez 2010 “and they love jars of wine.”


Ja \Herra\ sanoi minulle: Mene vielä ja rakasta salavuoteista vaimoa ja porttoa, niinkuin \Herra\ rakastaa Israelin lapsia, jotka kuitenkin kääntyivät muukalaisten jumalain tykö, ja rakastavat viinaleiliä.  (Hosea 3:1)


Finnish Bible of 1776 “and love the liquor.”


The word for Raisin in the Hebrew

“Tsammuwq” is the Hebrew word for raisins and is not “ăshîyshâh.”


Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.  (1 Samuel 25:18)


And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights.  (1 Samuel 30:12)


And when David was a little past the top of the hill, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and upon them two hundred loaves of bread, and an hundred bunches of raisins, and an hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of wine.  (2 Samuel 16:1)


Moreover they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly: for there was joy in Israel.  (1 Chronicles 12:40)



The word winepress used in various verses.  The winepress was where they pressed firmly the grapes into wine and that would correspond to both Hebrew words ăshîyshâh” and âshîysh.”  


And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress.  Numbers 18:27


Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress.  Numbers 18:30


Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him.  Deuteronomy 15:14


And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abi-ezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.  Judges 6:11


And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan.  Judges 7:25


And he said, If the LORD do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress?  2 Kings 6:27


And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.  Isaiah 5:2


I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.  Isaiah 63:3


The Lord hath trodden under foot all my mighty men in the midst of me: he hath called an assembly against me to crush my young men: the Lord hath trodden the virgin, the daughter of Judah, as in a winepress.  Lamentations 1:15


The floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her.  Hosea 9:2


Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:  Matthew 21:33


Here winepress is used symbolically as an instrument of judgment.


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.  Revelation 14:19


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 14:20


And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  Revelation 19:15