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GIFT, the rendering of a number of Hebrew and Greek words in Scripture, was a feature of most personal encounters in the archaic-religious state. Although many of the nuances of the original meanings are lost, many of the terms can be differentiated by context. The KJV renders “gift” for twelve different Hebrew words, many of which have less than four occurrences. The four most frequent are:

  • מִנְחָה, H4966, “offering,” “present,” “offering gift” (Judg 6:18, KJV “present”).
  • מַתָּן, H5508, and a similar term מַתָּנָה, H5510, “gift” (Num 18:7, et al.); the root of both of these terms is נָתַן, H5989, the common Hebrew verb “to give”.
  • שֹׁ֫חַד, H8816, “present,” “bribe” (KJV) “gift” (RSV) “bribe” (Exod 23:8, et al.).
  • תְּרוּמָה, H9556, “contribution,” usually applied to religious or votive gifts, “offering” (RSV) “offering” (KJV) “gift” (Prov 29:4), all other passages “offering.” Gifts are presented not only to one’s immediate family to mark a betrothal, marriage, birth or death, but also to superiors in political and religious hierarchy and to the palace and Temple. The ultimate gifts are those given to God as tokens of faith and dependence. However the Old Testament insists upon the sincerity of the heart.

  • Additional Material

    In the Revised Version (British and American) "gift" is substituted in the text of Ge 33:11 for blessing, margin Hebrew "blessing"; "boasteth himself of his gifts falsely" (Pr 25:14) for "boasteth himself of a false gift," margin Hebrew "in a gift of falsehood"; "a parting gift" for "presents" (Mic 1:14); "Given to God" for "a gift" (Mr 7:11).