(From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
ra'-z'-nz: (1) cimmuqim; staphides, translated "dried grapes," Numbers 6:3; mentioned in all other references as a portable food for a march or journey. Abigail supplied David with "a hundred clusters of raisins," among other things, in the wilderness of Paran (I Samuel 25:18); David gave two clusters of raisins to a starving Egyptian slave of the Amalekites at Besor (I Samuel 30:12); raisins formed part of the provision brought to David at Hebron for his army (I Chronicles 12:40); Ziba supplied David, when flying from Absalom, with a hundred clusters of raisins (II Samuel 16:1). (2) 'ashishah, something "pressed together," hence, a "cake." In Hosea 3:1, mention is made of 'ashishe 'anabhim (pemmata meta staphidos), "cakes of raisins": "Yahweh loveth the children of Israel, though they turn unto other gods, and love (margin "or them that love") cakes of raisins." These are supposed to have been cakes of dried, compressed grapes offered to false gods. Gratz considers that the Hebrew words are a corruption of 'asherim and chammanim ("sun images"). Compare Isaiah 17:8; Isaiah 27:9. In other passages "cakes" stands alone without "raisins," but the translation "cakes of raisins" is given in II Samuel 6:19; I Chronicles 16:3; Song of Solomon 2:5 (the King James Version "flagons"); Isaiah 16:7 margin "foundations."
Raisins are today, as of old, prepared in considerable quantities in Palestine, especially at es-Salt, East of the Jordan. The bunches of grapes are dipped in a strong solution of potash before being dried.
E. W. G. Masterman
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Easton's Bible Dictionary
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