Hosea 3:1 “flagons of wine” or “raisin cakes”?
At a well known anti-King James Bible site the bible agnostics have put together a laundry list of what they call “Indisputable, universally recognized errors in the KJV”. You can see it here if you like.
Every one of them has been examined and shot down as being pure silliness and baseless ignorance. Found among this laundry list is the word “baptism” that this particular Bible corrector thinks is an error found throughout the entire New Testament. Apparently he is unaware that almost every translation ever made, including the modern ones like the NKJV, NIV, NASB, ESV, NET, Holman etc. all read “baptism”.
Another one is where he tells us that the TR (Textus Receptus) does not read a certain way in Leviticus. He says: "sweet savour" Lev 6:21; 8:28; 17:6; 23:18 "soothing aroma" (KJV appeals to wrong senses- taste instead of smell in the TR).
Apparently this Delusions of Adequacy expert is blissfully unaware of the fact that the TR has absolutely nothing to do with the Old Testament, and is abysmally ignorant of his own English language.
See the refutation of this ridiculous claim of “error in the KJV” here:
This particular Bible study will focus on his alleged error found in Hosea 3:1 where the King James Bible says “flagons of wine” and versions such as the NKJV, NIV, NASB, ESV have “raisin cakes”.
This Bible corrector writes: "flagon" 2 Sam 6:19; 1 Chron 16:3; SoS 2:5; Hosea 3:1 These verses contain the word "flagon" which is a fluted cup from which liquid is drunk. However, the Hebrew word is "ashishah" which has always meant raisins or raisin cakes. This is especially true in Hos 3:1 because raisin cakes were often offered to idols. This is an obvious error in translation.” [End of criticism]
Let’s take a closer look to see if there is any merit to his claims or if he is just another Bible Babble Buffet promoter who has set up his own mind and understanding as his final authority.
The King James Bible says in Hosea 3:1 - “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.”
ESV, NKJV, NIV - "And the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods AND LOVE CAKES OF RAISINS."
The context of the whole book of Hosea would suggest that this is the best way to translate this Hebrew phrase is exactly as the King James Bible (and many others) has it - "who love flagons of wine".
Notice Hosea 2:8 "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 4:11 "Whoredom and WINE AND NEW WINE take away the heart."
Hosea 7:5 "In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with BOTTLES OF WINE; he stretched out his hand with scorners."
Hosea 7:14 "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 9:2 and 4 - "The floor and the WINEPRESS shall not feed them, and THE NEW WINE shall fail in her...They shall not offer WINE offerings to the LORD, neither shall they be pleasing unto him."
The NKJV reads: “Then the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the LORD for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love THE RAISIN CAKES OF THE PAGANS.” (The words “of the pagans” are not found in any text.)
Daniel Wallace and company have “and love TO OFFER RAISIN CAKES TO IDOLS." (Again, the words “offer” and “to idols” are not in any text.)
The NASB, ESV, Jehovah Witness New World Translation and Holman say “RAISIN CAKES”
The NIV has “love THE SACRED RAISIN CAKES."
The Bible is Basic English says “they are LOVERS OF GRAPE-CAKES”
Ancient Roots Translinear Bible2008 says: "love NUTCAKES AND GRAPES."
The Douay-Rheims has “they love THE HUSKS OF GRAPES." (Ummm... yummy)
The 2009 Catholic The Sacred Scriptures says - "and love THE SEEDS OF GRAPES." (Always been one of MY favorite delicacies;-)
The Living Bible 1971 says: "and offered them CHOICE GIFTS."
The New Living Translation 2007 just omits the phrase and says: "even though the people have turned to other gods and LOVE TO WORSHIP THEM."
Peterson's the Message of 2002 is virtually unrecognizable, with: "even as they flirt and party with every god that takes their fancy.”
First of all, it should be pointed out that the word found in the Hebrew texts and the King James Bible for “wine” as in “flagons of wine” is geh-nahv #6025 and is translated as either grapes or wine, but not raisins. The word for raisins is an entirely different Hebrew word (tzim-moo-keem # 6778) and is found only 4 times and every time translated as “clusters of raisins” or “bunches of raisins” in 1 Samuel 25:18; 30:12, 2 Samuel 16:1 and 1 Chronicles 12:40.
The other word is where all the scholars go their separate ways and some translate it one way and others another and they do not agree with each other, as we shall soon see.
The Hebrew word translated as “flagons” in the King James Bible and in MANY other translations both in English and in foreign languages, is found only 4 times - 2 Samuel 6:19, 1 Chronicles 16:3, Song of Solomon 2:5 and here in Hosea 3:1. It is the word ashee-shah # 809.
The Pulpit Commentary notes: The term ashishe, according to Rashi and Aben Ezra, means "bowls," that is, "bowls of wine"
Among the Bible translations that agree with the sense of the King James Bible in Hosea 3:1 and the other places (Some have “wine bottles” and others “wine pots” and some “flagons of wine”) are the following Bible translations: Wycliffe 1395, Coverdale 1535 "and loue the wyne kannes.", the Great Bible 1540 "& loue the wyne kannes.", Matthew’s Bible 1549 "and loue the wine kannes.", the Bishop’s Bible 1568 - "and loue the wine pottes.", the Geneva Bible 1587 "and loued the wine bottles.", The Bill Bible 1671, Webster’s 1833 translation - "and love FLAGONS OF WINE.", The Boothroyd Bible 1853, the Lesser Bible 1853 - "and love flagons of wine.", the Calvin Bible 1855, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907 - "and love FLAGONS OF WINE.", the 1936 Hebrew Publication Society translation “love flagons of wine”, The Revised Webster Bible 1995, the Bond Slave Version 2009, the English Jubilee Bible 2010 - "love FLAGONS OF WINE", The Hebraic Transliteration Scriptures 2010, Conservative Bible 2011 by Andrew Schlafly - "and love FLAGONS OF WINE." and the Biblos Interlinear Bible 2013 - "who look to other gods and love FLAGONS OF WINE."
The 2004 Hebrew Complete Tanach reads: “and love GOBLETS OF GRAPES."
This Jewish translation is accompanied by Rashi's comments, which say regarding this verse: "“goblets of grapes. Heb.אֲשִׁישֵׁי עֲנָבִים. Menahem (Machbereth p. 34) explains. ‘goblets of wine.’ They are fond of becoming drunk with their wine and do not engage in Torah. And so we find that elsewhere he castigates for this: “that drink wine in bowls, etc.” (Amos 6:6)
The 2008 Torah Transliteration Scripture reads “and LOVE FLAGONS OF WINE.",
The 1999 God’s First Truth has “and love THE WINE CANS”
The Revised Geneva Bible 2005 - "and loved THE WINE BOTTLES."
See this modern 2004 Hebrew translation online. It is called The Jewish Study Bible and it translates Hosea 3:1 as "and love THE CUPS OF THE GRAPE" - notice "cups" and not "raisins", but "cups of the grape".
The New Jewish Version 1985 does the same things and says: "and love THE CUPS OF THE GRAPE.
Jewish Virtual Library - This online Jewish Tanach = “and love flagons of wine”
Foreign language Bibles
Among foreign language translation that agree with the King James Bible’s “flagons of wine” are Luther’s German Bible of 1545 and the Modernized German Bible - “um eine Kanne Weins." = "pots of wine", the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras of 1569, Cipriano de Valera 1602, the Spanish Reina Valera 1865, Reina Valera of 1909, and the Reina Valera Gomez of 2004 - “y aman FRASCOS DE VINO”, the Italian Conferenza Episcopale Italiana, the Italian Diodati 1649, the Nuova Diodati 1991 and the Italian Riveduta of 2006 - "ed amano le schiacciate d’uva."- "and love FLAGONS OF WINE", the French Martin of 1744 and the modern French KJB - “aiment LES FLACONS DE VIN.", the Portuguese Almeida Corrigida 2009 and A Biblia Sagrada em Portugués - "e amem os bolos de uvas." = "and love FLAGONS OF WINE.", the Russian Synodal Version 1876 - "и любят виноградные лепешки их." = "and love FLAGONS OF WINE.", the Norwegian Det Norsk Bibelselskap 1930 - "og elsker rosinkaker" = "and love flagons of wine", the Finnish Bible 1776 - "ja rakastavat viinaleiliä." = "and love bottles of wine.", the Finnish Bible 1776 - "ja rakastavat viinaleiliä." = "and love BOTTLES OF WINE.", the Czech Bible Kralicka - "a milují kádě vína." = "and love FLAGONS OF WINE.", the Ukranian Bible - "і кохаються у виноградних коржиках." = "and love FLAGONS OF WINE.", the Chinese Union Traditional Bible - "， 喜 愛 葡 萄 餅 ， 耶 和 華 還 是 愛 他 們", the Romanian Fidela Bible of 2014 - "si iubesc burdufuri de vin." = "love bottles of wine."
and the Modern Greek translation - “και αγαπωσι φιαλας οινου.” = love flagons of wine.
The Bible Commentators
John Calvin translates as does the King James Bible’s “flagons” and he comments: “And they love flagons of grapes. The Prophet, I doubt not, compares this rage to drunkenness”
Adam Clarke - “The flagons of wine were probably such as were used for libations, or drunk in idol feasts.”
John Wesley tersely comments: “Love the feasts of their idols, where they drink wine to excess.”
The Geneva Bible included a running commentary and says: “That is, gave themselves wholly to pleasure, and could not stop, as those that are given to drunkenness.”
Matthew Henry comments: “And they loved flagons of wine; they joined with idolaters because they lived merrily and drank hard; they had a kindness for other gods for the sake of the plenty of good wine with which they had been sometimes treated in their temples. Idolatry and sensuality commonly go together; those that make a god of their belly, as drunkards do, will easily be brought to make a god of any thing else. God's priests were to drink no wine when they went in to minister, and his Nazarites none at all. But the worshippers of other gods drank wine in bowls; nay, no less than flagons of wine would content them.”
Matthew Poole in his Commentary on the whole Bible says regarding Hosea 3:1 - “Love flagons of wine; loved the feasts of their idols, where they drank wine to excess, by too great measures, which, without dispute, was usual in the idol feasts, Amos ii. 8; 1 Cor. x. 21; or else these flagons of wine speak their loose, drunken, and riotous living.”
The Benson Commentary notes - "The expression, And love flagons of wine, implies, that they loved to drink wine in the temples of their idols. They were wont to pour out wine to their false gods, and, it is probable, drank the remainder even to excess. The festivity, or rather dissoluteness, which was used by the heathen in the worship of their gods, seems to have been one principal thing that made the Israelites so fond of their rites of worship."
More about “flagons of wine”
2 Samuel 6:19 “a cake of bread, a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine”
with 1 Chronicles 16:3 “a loaf of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine”
Both 2 Samuel 6:19 and 1 Chronicles 16:3 relate the same events when king David and all the house of Israel “brought up the ark of the LORD and set it in its place, in the midst of the tabernacle David had pitched for it.” David danced with all his might before the LORD and after he had offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings we read that “he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one A CAKE OF BREAD, AND A GOOD PIECE OF FLESH, AND A FLAGON OF WINE.”
BOTH places refer to the same event and in both places in the King James Bible we read of the same three things being distributed to the people - 1. a loaf of bread, 2. a good piece of flesh (meat) and 3. a flagon of wine.
So read not only the King James Bible but so also the following Bible translations: the Great Bible 1540 (Cranmer) - “to euerye one a Cake of breed, & a pece of fleshe, & a flasket of drincke.”, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587 - “to euerie one a cake of bread, and a piece of flesh, and a bottell of wine.”, Webster’s 1833 translation, the Longman Version 1841, The Lesser Bible 1853, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907, the 1936 The Holy Scriptures, a Jewish translation put out by the Hebrew Publishing Company, New York, the 21st Century KJV 1994, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, the 2010 Holy Scriptures Jubilee Bible, the 2001 Urim-Thummin Version, another modern Jewish translation called the Complete Tanach 2004 reads like the KJB with “to each individual a loaf of bread, and a portion of meat, and a barrel of wine.”, The Hebraic Transliterations Scriptures 2010.
Foreign Language Bibles
Martin Luther’s 1545 German Bible reads like the KJB - “einem jeglichen einen Brotkuchen und ein Stück Fleisch und ein halbes Maß Wein.” The Spanish Sagradas Escrituras of 1569, the old Spanish Reina Valera of 1909 and the 2004 Reina Valera Gomez translation all read exactly like the King James Bible - “Y repartió á todo Israel, así á hombres como á mujeres, á cada uno una torta de pan, y una pieza de carne, y un frasco de vino.” The 1744 French Martin bible reads like the KJB - “tant aux hommes qu'aux femmes, à chacun un gâteau, une pièce de chair, et une bouteille de vin”.,the 1649 Italian Diodati - “una focaccia di pane, ed un pezzo di carne, ed un fiasco di vino per uno.” as does the Modern Greek translation - “εις εκαστον ανθρωπον εν ψωμιον και εν τμημα κρεατος και μιαν φιαλην οινου."
However many modern versions give us very conflicting readings about what three things king David distributed among the people, with some, like the NASBs, even conflicting among themselves.
The NASB reads: “a cake of bread AND ONE OF DATES and one of raisins to each one.” in 2 Samuel 6:19 but in relating the exact same events in 1 Chronicles 16:3 it tells us that David “distributed to everyone of Israel, both man and woman, to everyone a loaf of bread AND A PORTION OF MEAT and a raisin cake. “
The NIV, on the other hand, tell us in 1 Chronicles 16:3 AND in 2 Samuel 6:19 that king David distributed “a loaf of bread, A CAKE OF DATES and a cake of raisins” in BOTH accounts.
But the ESV tells us in 2 Samuel 6:19 that David gave them "A CAKE OF BREAD, A PORTION OF MEAT, and a cake of raisins." and in 1 Chronicles 16:3 its "A LOAF OF BREAD, A PORTION OF MEAT, and a cake of raisins." - thus different from the NIV and the NASB as well.
The NKJV tells us that king David gave out to the people “ to everyone A LOAF of bread, A PIECE OF MEAT, and a CAKE OF RAISINS." (instead of "a flagon of wine) in both accounts. So, not one of these four modern versions recommended by the likes of James White agree either with the time tested King James Bible nor with each other!
More on 2 Samuel 6:19
The Catholic Douay version says it was “a cake of bread, and a piece of roasted beef, AND FINE FLOUR FRIED WITH OIL.”
The ESV 2001 differs from both the NASB and the NIV in 2 Samuel 6:19 saying it was: “a cake of bread, A PORTION OF MEAT, and a cake of raisins to each one.”
Lamsa’s Syriac translation 1936 has: “a loaf of bread, and a portion of meat, and A FINE WHITE LOAF OF BREAD.”
Rotherham’s 1902 Emphasized bible (based on the Westcott-Hort texts for the N.T.) says: “to every one, a loaf of bread, AND A SWEET DRINK, and a raisin-cake”
The Bible in Basic English 1961 and Darby’s translation 1890 are similar with - “a cake of bread and A MEASURE OF WINE and a cake of dry grapes.”
The so called Ancient Roots Translinear bible 2008 has: “one cake of bread, one date-cake, and ONE NUTCAKE.”
Young’s ‘litera’ (hah!) has: “one cake of bread, and ONE ESHPAR AND ONE ASHISAH” - Mmmm...Yummy. Love those eshpars and ashishas! ;-)
Bible agnostics and “scholars” will continue to disagree with each other and each man will set up his own mind and understanding as his final authority, but the Bible believer is convinced that God has indeed preserved His complete and infallible words in the greatest Bible ever put in print, carried to the far ends of the earth and believed by thousands to be the 100% true words of God - the King James Holy Bible.
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