Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Cake Not Turned

Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned. Hosea 7:8

According to many commentaries, the phrase above was a scathing rebuke against the tribe of Ephraim. Since I am from that tribe, I wondered what it meant.

I am visually oriented, and like to have pictures in my mind when I read. But it was challenging for me to imagine this image. What kind of cake was it and why was it on a revolving stand? The literal image that was evoked made no sense to me.

I was envisioning a circular motion, but as you have probably figured out, it was a flipping-over motion--like a pancake. It was a flat bread that was being described.

Ephraim was literally “half-baked,” willing to have one side exposed to the refiner’s fire, but refusing to completely surrender. "Baked on one side and raw on the other, he is neither through hot nor through cold, but partly a Jew and partly a Gentile." (Geneva Bible commentary)

You could say that he liked to keep one foot in the Kingdom outwardly, but that the other foot was firmly planted in the world.

I know one family who used this verse to talk about the importance of being wholly committed to the Gospel- in heart as well as outward appearance. They used unturned pancakes as a visual aid and called them Ephraim cakes. After pointing out the unappetizing nature of the pancakes, the parents surprised the family with a trip to IHOP. (International House of Pancakes)

Their teenaged son made a fun wordplay on the lesson and the refreshment: I HOP(e) they don’t serve Ephraim cakes! Every time they drive by the restaurant, the kids are reminded of an important principle.

I love it when we can have fun with scriptures and make them our own.


  1. That's a great insight and a great story.

  2. Thank you for sharing a fun way to teach the children important principles.