RAISIN-CAKES (Heb. אֲשִׁישָׁה, H862, thought to be derived from a verbal root meaning to “compress”). These cakes would be formed after the grapes had completely dried and when coated would be nearly imperishable. They were used as cultic offerings by many ancient peoples and appear in lists of commodities from various sea ports. They are mentioned as a food stuff for travelers and soldiers (2 Sam 6:19, et al.). They are mentioned also as a delicacy (Isa 16:7). More often than not such desiccated plant stuffs were soaked in water or broth and mixed with gruel made from some cereal grain for consumption. Such cakes often were compounded with other fruits, dried apricots, figs and dates, and seasoned with salts or spices. Although frequently thought to be a food with certain fertility powers, possibly an aphrodisiac, there is only remote reference to this usage in the OT (Song of Solomon; Hos 3:1 et al.).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
ra’-z’-n-kaks: the Isa 16:7 (Hebrew ’ashishah from ’ashash, "to found," "make firm," "press"). The trade in these would cease through the desolation of the vineyards. For the King James Version "flagons of wine" in Ho 3:1, the Revised Version (British and American) gives "cakes of raisins," such as were offered to the gods of the land, the givers of the grape (compare So 2:5). See next article.(British and American) gives this rendering for the "foundations" in