This question is regarding Hosea 3:1 “And Jehovah said unto me, Go again, love a woman beloved of her friend, and an adulteress, even as Jehovah loveth the children of Israel, though they turn unto other gods, and love cakes of raisins.”

I have a question about the issue with the Israelites love of raisin cakes.  I heard a speaker say that the offense was because David instituted the giving of raisin cakes in 2 Sam 6:19, and the people started to love the raisin cakes being offered more than they loved God. However, I had read in many other commentaries that the offense was in the raisin cakes being offered to pagan idols. . Which explanation is more in line with the true offense of the raisin cakes?


Given the context, the second interpretation is almost certainly the correct one. God (through Hosea) is talking about idolatry (“turning to other gods”), not about gluttony/greed. Therefore, almost certainly, the offense is the offering of raisin cakes to other gods, not about loving to eat raisin cakes. I suppose as Christians we could apply the admonition in Hosea 3:1 to anything we might love as much as or more than God, which could, in principle include gluttony, but the immediate meaning of the passage is idolatry, which could include the offering and eating of raisin cakes.

This passage is a good example of the principle that we should let the context determine the meaning of a text, no matter what smart-sounding scholars have to say. Simple, common-sense hermeneutics by regular Christians is often superior to the explanations of the “experts” who often forget to apply the basics of hermeneutical principles. (BTW, hermeneutics is a fancy word for the science of interpretation. A class on hermeneutics is found in the power point section and in the “store” of the web site).

John Oakes

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