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Sacrifice and Offerings
SACRIFICE AND OFFERINGS (Heb. zevah, Gr. thysia). A religious act belonging to worship in which offering is made to God of some material object belonging to the offerer—this offering being consumed in the ceremony, in order to attain, restore, maintain, or celebrate friendly relations with the deity. The motives actuating the offerer may vary, worthy or unworthy, and may express faith, repentance, adoration, or all of these together; but the main purpose of the sacrifice is to please the deity and to secure his favor.
I. Origin of Sacrifice. The origin of sacrifice is a matter of dispute. The question is, Did sacrifice arise from the natural religious instinct of man, whether guided by the Spirit of God or not, or did it originate in a distinct divine appointment? Genesis records the first sacrifice, by Cain and Abel, but gives no account of the origin of the idea. The custom is clearly approved by God, and in the Mosaic Law it is adopted and elaborately developed. The view that the rite was initiated by an express command of God is based mainly on
Those who hold that sacrifice was devised by man, with or without direction by God’s Spirit, as a means of satisfying the wants of his spiritual nature, have advanced several theories. (1) The gift theory holds that sacrifices were originally presents to God that the offerer hoped would be received with pleasure and gratitude by the deity, who would then grant him favors. (2) The table-bond theory suggests that sacrifices were originally meals shared by the worshipers and the deity, with the purpose of knitting them together in a firmer bond of fellowship. (3) The sacramental-communion theory is a modification of the table-bond theory. The basis of it is the belief among some primitive peoples that animals share along with man in the divine nature. The worshiper actually eats the god, thus acquiring the physical, intellectual, and moral qualities that characterized the animal. (4) The homage theory holds that sacrifice originates not in man’s sense of guilt, but in man’s desire of expressing his homage to and dependence on the deity. (5) The expiatory theory says that sacrifices are fundamentally piacular or atoning for sin. Conscious of his sin and of the punishment that it deserves, man substitutes an animal to endure the penalty due to himself, and so makes his peace with the deity.
II. Classification of Sacrifices. Sacrifices have been classified in a variety of ways, chiefly the following: (1) Those on behalf of the whole congregation and those on behalf of the individual. (2) Animal or bleeding sacrifices and bloodless offerings. (3) Sacrifices assuming an undisturbed covenant relationship and those intended to restore a relationship that has been disturbed. (4) Animal sacrifices, vegetable sacrifices, liquid and incense offerings. (5) Sacrifices made without the help of a priest, those made by a priest alone, and those made by a layman with the help of a priest. (6) Sacrifices that express homage to the deity; those designed to make atonement for sin; and peace offerings, to express or promote peaceful relations with the deity. (7) Self-dedicatory sacrifices, eucharistic sacrifices, and expiatory sacrifices. (8) Sacrifices in which the offering was wholly devoted to God, and sacrifices in which God received a portion and the worshiper feasted on the remainder.
The establishment of the covenant between Israel and the Lord was accompanied by solemn sacrifices. The foundation principle of this covenant was obedience, not sacrifices (
At the division of the kingdom in 931 b.c. golden-calf worship was established at Dan and Bethel, with priests, altars, and ritual (
IV. The Mosaic Sacrifices. Every offering had to be the honestly acquired property of the offerer (
A. Animal Sacrifices. Both sexes were accepted for sacrifice, although for some sacrifices the male was prescribed. With one exception (
The costliness of the offering and the procedure to be followed depended on the theocratic importance of the offender. For the high priest a young bullock was the appointed offering (
In all other blood sacrifices the blood was simply poured around the altar; in this one the blood was sprinkled. If a member of the congregation made the offering, the blood was smeared on the horns of the altar in the forecourt (
4. The Fellowship Offering (
The ritual was the same as for the sin offering, except that the blood was wholly poured on the altar, as in the guilt offering and burnt offering. The fat was burned; the breast and thigh were kept by the priests; and the rest of the flesh was eaten at the sanctuary by the sacrificer and his friends (
B. Vegetable or Bloodless Sacrifices. These were of two kinds, the grain offerings (called “meat offerings” in the kjv and “meal-offerings” in the asv) and the drink offerings. They were offered on the altar of the forecourt.
2. The Drink Offerings were not independent offerings under the law but were made only in connection with the grain offering that accompanied all burnt offerings and all fellowship offerings that were Nazirite, votive, or freewill (
Besides the above, three offerings were regularly made in the Holy Place: the twelve loaves of showbread, renewed every Sabbath; the oil for the seven-branched lampstand, which was filled every morning; and the incense for the altar of incense, which was renewed every morning and evening.
Bibliography: G. B. Gray, Sacrifice in the, 1925; E. O. James, The Origins of Sacrifice, 1933; W. O. E. Oesterley, Sacrifices in Ancient Israel, 1938; F. D. Kidner, Sacrifice in the Old Testament, 1952; R. K. Yerkes, Sacrifice in Greek and and in Early Judaism, 1952; H. Ringgren, Sacrifice in the Bible, 1962; B. A. Levine, In the Presence of the Lord, 1974.——SB
SACRIFICE AND OFFERINGS. Religious ritual was a major expression of ancient Israel, esp. the rites of animal sacrifice with their accompanying libations, effusions, sacred meals, etc. Such liturgical acts have their parallels in the contemporary cultures of the ancient Near E, but this is not to say that Biblical sacrifice is merely an imitation of neighboring cultures. It is the ideology expressed in the ritual complex as a whole that makes the Israelite religion unique. The presentation of sacrificial rituals in OT passages furnishes a counterpart to the more hortatory proclamations of the prophets. The concepts and ideology of OT ritual underlies NT theology regarding the problem of sin and man’s reconciliation to God by means of atonement. See Atonement.
The older approach to the study of sacrifice as a religious phenomenon was usually based on some 19th-cent. concept of cultural progress. The source of rituals was sought among primitive societies; in the Near E, the rites of the Bedouin were taken as normative for explaining the development of OT sacrifice. Today, the comparative study of tribal customs in underdeveloped areas is the domain of the anthropologist; its main contribution is the interpretation of the preliterary cultures of Pal., e.g. the Chalcolithic. Even though the Bible also affirms that sacrificial practices go back to the dawn of civilization (
For the study of sacrifice in the ancient world, the modern investigator may avail himself of both the material remains of temples and other cultic centers, including the bones of sacrificial animals found in association with them. Many such installations have been found in Mesopotamia, N Syria and even in Pal., as well as Egypt, Anatolia, and the Aegean region. Some date to the prehistoric era, i.e., before the use of writing, whereas many are from the richly documented 2nd and 1st millennia b.c. (For details, cf. Temple.) The only real temple found thus far in a true context of a fortified center from Israelite times is that at Arad, though Iron Age “high places” and “cultic centers” of various types have been discovered elsewhere (e.g. Hazor, Lachish, Megiddo).
On the other hand, the main source for the elucidation of ancient sacrificial ritual is the collections of written documents now at our disposal. Today it is customary to classify these texts of a ritual nature according to the manner in which the rite is depicted (cf. B. A. Levine’s articles in the Bibliography). A definite set of instructions for the conduct of rituals including the implements, materials, actions, prayers, and incantations to be performed is called a prescriptive ritual. Such contexts were composed and preserved for the guidance of the priests or other functionaries in the conduct of their duties. A written source that tells how and when a certain rite or series of rites was performed is referred to as a descriptive ritual. Under this latter category are two subclasses. Narratives, whether historical, mythological, or legendary, may include the description of a sacrifice made by the leading personage in the story; quite often they go into considerable detail to stress that the rite was performed according to regulations. This was a literary means of teaching the reader or hearer about the necessity and propriety of fulfilling one’s sacrificial obligations. The “narrative descriptive rituals” form this class. The second is comprised of a much more prosaic, often boring type of documents, viz., the laconic temple records of expenditures and income in terms of the required ingredients for rituals performed. In some cases they represent a sort of accountant’s journal of the sacrifices made during a specific period of time. Mesopotamia and Ugarit (cf. below) have produced many such records, but their analysis for the purpose of defining ancient sacrificial ritual is only beginning. The usefulness of this terminological classification of the sources will be obvious in the ensuing discussion.
In the ancient world
The following is not meant to be definitive for any of the cultures dealt with; only salient features that by comparison or contrast, shed light on the sacrifices of the OT will be pointed out.
The dominant idea of sacrifice in the “Land of the Two Rivers” was that of provision for the gods. In the Creation Epic, Marduk is said to have created mankind (the blackheaded ones) for this purpose: “Verily, savage man will I create. He shall be charged with the service of the gods, that they might be at ease” (ANET, 68a). The other deities of the pantheon, grateful for Marduk’s deliverance from chaos and provision for their needs expressed their devotion and adoration:
May he shepherd the blackheaded ones, his creatures...May he establish for his fathers the great food offerings. Their support they shall furnish, shall tend their sanctuaries. May he cause incense to be smelled....May food offerings be borne for their gods and goddesses. Without fail let them support their gods! Their lands let them improve, build their shrines. Let the blackheaded wait on their gods (ANET, 69a-b).
The dependence of the deities upon the food provided by man is further illustrated by a narrative description of the sacrifice offered by the flood hero, Utnapishtim, after his escape from the deluge: “I poured out a libation on the top of the mountain. Seven and seven cult vessels I set up; upon their pot stands I heaped cane, cedarwood and myrtle. The gods smelled the savor; the gods crowded like flies about the sacrificer” (ANET, 95a). This picture of the gods famished by hunger because mankind had been destroyed and was no longer providing their meals, swarming around the offerer like flies, may reveal a touch of humor but it also brings home the pathos of Mesopotamian religion. The gods were subject to the same appetites as men; therefore they had enslaved the human race and required of them that they furnish their meals as the fruit of their (mankind’s) toil on the earth. The parallel with
This central idea is also reflected in the social organization of ancient Sumer. society. Each deity in the pantheon had his own estate, consisting of a city and its adjacent territory. He was the lord of his manor, and the priest-king, the ensi, was the manager of his estate. The temple was the central institution to which all products due to the deity were brought. By the Old Babylonian period (19th-18th centuries b.c.), the monarchy and the palace had come to overshadow even the temple as a social, economic, and political institution, but the kings were always concerned with providing the gods their due.
The role of sacrifice was inextricably bound up with prayer and supplication in the attempt of the individual to obtain health, prosperity, and well-being from his deity. Copies of prayers to be offered were concluded by a special section addressed either to the supplicant or to the priest—the expert who must perform the rites with precision if the prayer was to be effective. The so-called Babylonian “Righteous Sufferer” described his miserable state as that of one who had failed to carry out his ritual obligations to his god and goddess; such neglect consisted of not praying (with the lack of accompanying rituals), of neglecting the holy days, of failing to teach his people reverence and obedience, of eating without the proper blessings, of neglecting to bring cereal offerings to his goddess, of forgetting his lord and of taking his oath frivolously (BWL 38, 11.12-22). On the contrary, he claimed that: “For myself, I gave attention to supplication and prayer. To me prayer was discretion, sacrifice my rule” (ibid., 38, 11. 23, 24). After his restoration to health, he resumes his worship:
I persisted in supplication and prayer before them [the gods]. Fragrant incense I placed before them. I presented an offering, a gift, accumulated donations. I slaughtered fat oxen and butchered fattened sheep (?). I repeatedly libated honey-sweet beer and pure wine (BWL, 60, 11. 91-95).
Although animals were habitually slaughtered, no evidence has been produced for any special attention being paid to the blood as an element of ritual. The beast itself was food for the deity, but its blood was evidently allowed to return to the earth. The ancient hero Etana, who earnestly besought the sun god (Shamash) to grant him an heir said:
Thou hast consumed, O Shamash, my fattest sheep. O Earth, you have drunk the blood of my lambs. I have honored the gods and revered the spirits. The oracle priestesses have done the needful to my offerings. The lambs, by their slaughter, have done the needful to the gods (cf. ANET, 117a-b).
The earth’s drinking of the blood is a natural expression for death by slaughter, and is also applied to warriors (cf., rev. xxviii, 10; ANET, 179b).
Of special significance, however, was the use made of the entrails. The lungs, intestines, and, above all, the liver were utilized in the determination of oracles. There was even a special set of oracular conditions that could be determined by the behavior of the sacrificed lamb in its death throes. A vast lit. grew up in the form of collections of events, historical or theoretical, that were indicated by markings, indentations, holes and other features of the organ being examined. The offerer frequently made his sacrifice with the express purpose of gaining supernatural insight into the future. Thus the king of Babylon resorted to just such a practice in the course of his campaign in the Levant that resulted in the attack on Jerusalem (
The most widely known prescriptive ritual text from Mesopotamia is that for the New Year Festival at Babylon (ANET, 331-334). It gives the order of events including sacrifices and the recital of prayers and other texts, as required for each day of the celebration. One of the most relevant for comparison with OT ritual is the act of purification performed on the fifth day. The officiating priest “...shall call a slaughterer to decapitate a ram, the body of which the mašmašu-priest shall use in performing the kuppuru-ritual for the temple.” After the necessary incantations and purifications have been performed, the mašmašu-priest takes the lamb’s carcass and the slaughterer takes its head; both of them proceed to the river and throw their gory burdens into it. Then they remain in the open country for seven days from the fifth to the twelfth of Nisan. The parallel with the “scapegoat” ritual of the OT is only general and not in details. There was no act of confession for sin; instead, the expulsion of demons was the goal of this rite, as is clearly seen in the incantation that follows it (ANET, 333b, 334a).
Presenting the food prepared from sacrificial cereals, animals, spices, and liquids before the deities was a central feature of the Mesopotamian cultus. After the god, in the form of an idol, had viewed the foodstuffs, they were taken away to be eaten by the king (contrast the apocryphal
North Syria and Anatolia.
One of the most striking allusions to sacrifice from the Amorite kingdom of Mari is the description of the ritual for making peace by slaying a young donkey foal. An official reported:
I went to GN to kill a donkey foal between the Khaneans and Idamaras. They brought forth a puppy and a goat and, my lord, I was afraid. A puppy and a goat I would not give. I caused to be slain a donkey foal the offspring of a she-ass; I made peace between the Khaneans and Idamaras (ARM II, No. 37, 11. 5-14).
Apparently two rituals were known to them, and the official insisted on the donkey sacrifice (the word rendered “goat” was formerly misunderstood as “lettuce”).
The text from Alalakh (Level VII) records the sacrifices to be offered in connection with an oath in the name of Adad and Ishtar by the king and his brother. The W Sem. emphasis upon burning the animals (instead of cooking them as food for the deity) is expressed by the prescription: “The fire will consume the lambs and the birds” (Alalakh Text No. 126:15,
The Hitt. rituals with their detailed prescriptive texts (cf. e.g. ANET, 346ff.) have many suggestive parallels to OT passages. Most interesting is the ceremony in which one of the sacrificial animals, e.g., a dog, is cut into pieces and placed on either side of an improvised gate, through which the participants have to pass. A similar rite using the bodies of prisoners of war is also attested. Whether there is any connection between the Hitt. practice and the rital acts of Abraham (
Ugarit and Phoenicia.
The tablets from Ugarit furnish some important ritual texts of both prescriptive and descriptive types. The literary pieces give special attention to the enactment of sacrificial rites at crucial points in the narrative. The legendary King Keret conducted a special sacrifice to invoke blessing upon an impending military expedition:
He washed and rouged himself...he entered the shade of the tent. He took a sacrificial lamb in his hands...its commensurate loaves as food offering, he took the...of sacrificial bird(s); he poured wine in a silver cup, honey in a golden bowl; he went up to the top of the tower...he lifted his hands heavenward; he sacrificed to the Bull, his father El; he invoked Baal with his sacrifice, the son of Dagon with his victuals (Krt, 11. 156-171). A mythological selection contains the enigmatic statement: “Two sacrifices does Baal hate, three the rider of the clouds, the sacrifice of shame, and the sacrifice of fornication, and the sacrifice of abuse of handmaidens” (UT 51: III, 17-21).
The word rendered “sacrifice” (dbḥ) may also be “festival,” as proven by the new syllabary tablet where Akkad. isinnu, “festival,” is equated with Ugaritic *dabhu. The tr. of entries in accounting records such as ḫmšy. bd/bḥ mlkt / mdr’, “five (jars) of wine for the sacrifice of the queen in the sown land” (UT 1090:14-16) may have to be altered to “the festival of the queen, etc.” Nevertheless, the prosaic ledgers of the palace and temple library at Ugarit contain both descriptive (accounts of supplies issued) and prescriptive ritual texts. The sacrificial terminology applied to animals designated for the various gods include ’atm, “guilt offering,” šrp, “peace offering.” The animals offered were the sheep, male (š) and female (dqt), the cow (gdlt), the bull (’alp) and also fowl (’ṩr); incense (qṭr), and libations of wine (yn, ḫmr, trt-) and honey (nbt) were also utilized. The occasions recorded are usually calendrical, e.g. ym ḥdṭ, “day of the new (moon),” and the magic, mythological or ethical significance is generally impossible to determine (except for narrative passages). One broken tablet listing sacrifices begins by an allusion to slḫ. npš, “forgiveness of soul” (UT 9:1).
These Ugaritic texts, dating from at least as early as the 14th-13th centuries b.c., show how the technical terminology of the OT was already in wide use during the second millennium. For the Canaanite (Phoen.) practices of Israel’s contemporaries, we are dependent upon OT allusions. Elijah and the prophets of Baal evidently prepared their sacrifices in the same manner (
The Hellenic world.
The common Mediterranean practice of burning the offering (unlike Mesopotamia, cf. above) is also reflected in Gr. sources. The Homeric epics describe in some detail the typical sacrifice to an Olympian (e.g., Iliad, I, 11. 446-476). After the washing of hands, grain was scattered about; then the animal’s head was drawn back so as to face upward, its throat was slit and afterward it was flayed. Slices from the thighs wrapped in fat were burned on the altar amid libations of red wine. Next the offerers tasted the inner parts (σπλάγχνα), contrary to Israelite practice (cf. below), and carved the rest of the meat into small pieces, which they roasted for themselves on skewers. Thus, a sacred meal was even part of the sacrifice meant to appease an angry god.
Sacrifices to the Olympians of heaven bore some sharp contrasts to those made for the underworld deities of the earth. The animal was usually a white ox for the former, a black ram (or pig) for the latter; the throat was turned upward to the Olympian, downward to the earth deity for whom pains were taken to see that the blood soaked into the earth. The heavenly gods were worshiped in their splendid classical temples and the sacrifice made on the raised βωμός, G1117, (cf. Heb. בָּמָה, H1195, “high place”); the chthonian deities received their homage in caves of underground shrines and the offering was laid either on a low “hearth” altar or in a pit. The proper time for sacrificing to the Olympians was morning, to the underworld gods it was at evening or late at night. A good example of the rites for an earth deity is that for the dreaded Hecate, goddess of demons and phantoms, who normally received sacrifices of dogs, black female lambs and honey (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, III, 1029-1039).
Descriptive ritual texts of the non-narrative class include not only inscrs. from the classical period, e.g., the sacrificial calendar (4th cent. b.c.) from Cos, but also some of the clay tablets in the Linear B script from 14th-13th cent. b.c. Pylos and Knossos. The classical graphic representations can also be supplemented by the sacrificial rite portrayed on the sarcophagus from the Late Bronze Age Cretan town of Agia Triada. The underworld nature of the ritual (funerary) is the reason for the collection of the victim’s blood as it flows from its slashed throat.
In the OT
One could also speak simply of making a sacrifice (עָשָׁה זְבָחִים;
The concept that the offering was in effect a gift from the offerer to God is also made explicit in the phrase מַתְּנֹ֖ת קָדְשֵׁיהֶ֑ם, “the gifts of their holy things” (
The various materials and elements that comprised the sacrifices and the offerings of ancient Israel will be reiterated in detail below. Certain general observations are necessary, however, in anticipation of the discussion regarding specific offerings. For example, the thing offered had to be the property of the offerer (
On the other hand the priests received certain portions that they were required to eat in a sacred place (
The very careful attention paid to the use and disposal of the blood in the various kinds of sacrifices indicates that, even with nonexpiatory offerings, the principle of blood atonement was not entirely absent. In fact, the role of the blood in the different rituals is one of the unifying features in all of Israelite sacrifice. The ancient meaning of atonement (verb: כָּפַר, H4105) in this context (e.g.
Certain other parts of the animal, in particular the inner organs and the fat attached to them (cf. below), were always burned on the altar; they were considered to belong exclusively to God. By contrast, some of these very parts were eaten by the sacrificer(s) in Gr. epic lit. (cf. above). The skins were most often given to the priest (
The OT passages pertaining to sacrifice can also be classified according to the categories utilized for other ancient texts:
The other category (
The same general order is followed, viz. burnt, cereal (and drink), sin (or guilt), and sometimes peace offerings in other “bookkeeping” contexts. The most illuminating study in recent times of such a passage is that by B. A. Levine on the list of donations made by the tribal leaders for the dedication of the altar (
For specific acts of ritual sacrifice, e.g., the purification of a woman after giving birth (
The best case in point is the list of required sacrifices for the successful termination of a Nazarite vow; the Nazarite was to furnish a burnt, sin, and peace offering (with some special cereal offerings,
The contrast between the two orders is most striking in the prophetic prescriptive text concerning the prince in the apocalyptic restoration. It was his duty to furnish “the burnt..., cereal..., and drink offerings” at the calendral holidays; he was to make (הֽוּא־יַעֲשֶׂ֞ה ; RSV “provide”) “the sin...., cereal...., burnt..., and peace offerings” (
A strikingly similar picture is reflected in another prescription, viz., Ezekiel’s vision of the liturgy by which the altar was to be reinstituted (
The prescriptive ritual texts cited above are seen to reflect three methods of recording the sacrifices: (1) didactically (conceptually), (2) administratively, and (3) procedurally.
On the other hand, the narrative descriptions normally follow the procedural sequence.
The great cleansing and restoration of the Temple and its ritual in Jerusalem was conducted in the reign of King Hezekiah according to the same pattern (
The “procedural” sequence of the offerings, i.e., the actual order in which they were offered on any occasion that demanded more than one type, provides the key to understanding the religious (spiritual) significance of the sacrificial system. First of all, sin had to be dealt with; the appropriate offering (sin or guilt) had to be made. This was closely linked with a burnt offering that followed it immediately (with its accompanying cereal offering as stated in many cases) and thus completed the self committal (
By describing the various types of offering in their “procedural” order, the significance of their respective ritual acts as expressions of OT ethical monotheism can be placed in its proper perspective.
Two offerings fall in this category. The particular aspect of conduct for which they were required will be discussed after the liturgical details have been summarized for both of them.
The offerer brought the animal and executed the symbolic act of laying his hand on it (
A sin offering of one male goat was required at each of the sacred festivals: the New Moon (
Rites of purification called for lesser sin offerings, viz. lambs or birds after: childbirth (
The strictly individual cases requiring sin offerings are discussed following the guilt offering below.
The guilt offering was commanded in instances when another party had suffered some deprivation. Ritual infractions, such as eating unlawfully of the “holy things” (
On the social plane, violation of property rights through defraudation could be atoned for only by the guilt offering and its twenty percent fine. Such acts included cheating in matters of deposit or security, robbery or oppression, failing to report the finding of lost property, or false swearing or failing to testify (
In every case, the guilty party must confess his sin, make full restoration plus the fine of one fifth and offer the guilt offering. If the offended party was no longer alive and there were no surviving kinsmen, the payment went to the priests (
c. Efficacy. The obligatory sin and guilt offerings for ritual infractions (
In short, the sin and guilt offerings were efficacious for less serious violations against the eighth and ninth commandments and for certain ritual infractions, but in every case the offender had to be fully aware of his responsibility and to make reparation when necessary. For greater sins, ritual was to no avail, but the forgiveness and atonement could be granted on condition of true repentance.
The sacrifices in this category reflect the more universal idea of offering. The emphasis is on surrender of the gift to God (though only a handful of the cereal offering was consumed on the altar). They represented the act of committal that should accompany the repentance expressed by the sin and guilt offerings. They also opened the way to the fellowship of communal sacrifices that could follow.
As mentioned above, the burnt offerings were by far the most frequent sacrifices at the Israelite sanctuary and were therefore listed first in administrative prescriptions and descriptions. This is due to their central role in the rites for holy days. The continual burnt offering (עֹלַ֤ת תָּמִיד, עֹלַ֧ת הַתָּמִ֛יד; LXX ἐνδελεχισμός or ἡ δια πάντος) was made twice daily, a male lamb morning and evening (
The climax of the annual festivals, the Feast of Booths, was marked by a series of elaborate burnt offerings (plus one goat per day as a sin offering). On the first day, the regulations called for thirteen young bulls, two rams, and fourteen male lambs (
The burnt offering, signifying complete surrender to God, was therefore associated with the sin offering in the process of atonement (as in the purification rites above; cf. also
Conversely, peace offerings were always accompanied by cereal offerings (
A special use of the cereal offering was the 1/10 of an ephah of barley meal required in the jealousy ritual. It was to have no oil or frankincense (
This latter category consists of those offerings that expressed a voluntary desire on the part of the offerer(s). They were not required (except in the case of the Nazirite,
Certain portions of the offering were also allotted to the priest; he was permitted to eat it in any ritually clean place and to share it with his family (
The meat of a thank offering had to be eaten on the same day as the sacrifice (
b. Wave offering (תְּנוּפָה, H9485; ἐπίθεμα). The priest’s portion of the peace offering (cf. above) was “waved” before the Lord as a special act signifying that it was His (the motion must have resembled the wielding of a saw or a staff,
The details of the ritual are in a prescriptive (
In OT redemptive history.
The terminology used with regard to the patriarchal age is that of the Torah as a whole; it is unlikely that the same words in Genesis mean something different from the other Books of Moses. Thus, Cain and Abel each brought a “gift” (
From Moses to Samuel.
The covenant sacrifice inaugurating the relationship between the Lord and His people (
In the land of Canaan, the Israelites made sacrifices at various places, e.g., at Bochim (
During the monarchy.
Under Saul, the main center of worship was evidently Nob (
At Elephantine in Egypt, a colony of Jewish mercenaries had maintained their own temple, replete with meal offering, incense, and burnt offering. It had been standing since before 525 b.c. when Cambyses invaded Egypt and was destroyed by jealous opponents in 410 b.c. In 407, the priest and his colleagues wrote to Bigvai, governor of Judah as well as to Delaiah and Shelemiah, asking them to exert their influence toward having the ruined temple rebuilt. Though they pointedly yearned for restoration of the entire sacrificial cultus, the reply suggests that they apply to Arsames, their governor, for resumption of the meal offering and the incense—which they did (ANET, p. 492). This tendency to permit worship at local shrines but without animal sacrifice, may be reflected in that the Jewish temple at Lachish (so-called Solar Shrine) had no altar for burnt offering whereas its preexilic counterpart at Arad did. The Lachish temple was evidently built in the Hel. period (prob. under John Hyrcanus, late 2nd cent. b.c.).
Among prophets, sages, and poets.
Certain other statements by Amos (
Foreign elements that had penetrated the Israelite sacrificial system were, of course, roundly condemned by the prophets. Such was esp. the case with Israel (
The wisdom lit. sometimes reflects the same concern for moral and ethical values over empty sacerdotal acts (
The Apostle Paul.
J. H. Kurtz, Sacrificial Worship of the OT (1863); H. C. Trumbull, The Blood Covenant (1885); C. F. Keil, Manual of Biblical Archaeology (I) (1887), 246-482; II, 1-101; A. Cave, The Scriptural Doctrine of Sacrifice (1890); G. F. Oehler, Theology of the OT (1892), 261-351; P. Fairbairn, The Typology of Scripture (1900), 201-223, 377, 405; G. B. Gray, Sacrifice in the OT (1925); W. T. McCree, “The Covenantal Meal in the OT,” JBL, XLV (1926), 120-128; W. R. Smith, The Religion of the Semites (3rd ed., 1927); E. O. James, The Origins of Sacrifice (1933); W. O. E. Oesterley, Sacrifices in Ancient Israel (1938); Th. H. Gaster, “The Service of the Sanctuary,” Mélanges syriens offerts à M. R. Dussaud, II (1939), 577-582; J. E. Coleran, “Origins of the OT Sacrifice,” CBQ, II (1940), 130-144; H. W. Robinson, “Hebrew Sacrifice and Prophetic Symbolism,” JTS, XLVIII (1942), 129-139; P. Saydon, “Sin-offering and Trespass-offering,” CBQ, VIII (1946), 393-399; D. M. L. Urie, “Sacrifice among the West Semites,” PEQ (1949), 67-82; J. Gray, “Cultic Affinities between Israel and