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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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is the rendering frequently employed in the A.V. for several Heb. words, elsewhere with equal propriety rendered by the synonymous word OFFERING (See OFFERING) (q.v.), and in one passage (Ezekiel 20:40) for מִשְׂאֵת, maseth' (lit. a lifting up, hence a present), as applied to the first-fruits in which relation only we will here consider it. "There are various regulations in the law of Moses respecting first-fruits, which would be of much interest to us could we in every case discern the precise object in view. No doubt the leading object, so far as regards the offering of the first-fruits to God, was that all the after-fruits and after-gatherings might be consecrated in and through them; and it was not less the dictate of a natural impulse that the first-fruits should be offered to God in testimony of thankfulness for his bounties. Hence we find some analogous custom among most nations in which material offerings were used. There are, however, some particulars in the Mosaical regulations which these considerations do not adequately explain.

"1. First-fruits of Fruit-trees. It was directed that the first-fruits of every tree whose fruit was used for food should, for the first three years of bearing, be counted uncircumcised,' and regarded as unclean (Leviticus 19:23-24). It was unlawful to sell them, to eat them, or to make any benefit of them. It was only in the fourth year of bearing that they were accounted holy,' and the fruit of that year was made an offering of firstfruits, and was either given to the priests (Numbers 18:12-13), or, as the Jews themselves understand, was eaten by the owners of it before the Lord at Jerusalem,' as was the case with second tithe. After the fourth year all fruits of trees were available for use by the owner.

"2. First-fruits of the Yearly Increase. Of these there were several kinds:

(1) The first-fruits in the sheaf (Leviticus 23:10).

(2.) The first-fruits in the two waveloaves (Leviticus 23:17). These two bounded the harvest, that in the sheaf being offered at the beginning of the harvest, upon the 15th of the month Nisan; the other at the end of the harvest, on the feast of Pentecost. These two are both called תְּנוּפוֹת, tenuphoth', offerings.

(3.) The first of the dough, being the twenty-fourth part thereof, which was given to the priests (Numbers 15:20); and this kind of offering was not neglected even after the return from Babylon (Nehemiah 10:37).

(4.) The first-firuits of the threshing-floor. These last two are called תְּרוּמוֹת terumoth', heave-offerings;' the one the heave-offering of the threshing-floor,' the other the heave-offering of the dough.' The words tenuphoth and terumoth both signify shake-offering,' heave-offering,' or wave-offering;' but with the difference that the terumoth was offered by a waving of elevation, moving the oblation upward and downward, to signify, as we are told, that Jehovah was the God both of the heaven and earth; but the tenuphoth was offered by waving of agitation, to and fro, from the right hand to the left, from east to west, from north to south; which is alleged to have been in the way of an acknowledgment that Jehovah was the Lord of the whole world (see Godwyn, Moses and Aaron, 6:2, p. 214, 215; also, Lewis, Origines, 1:143-146)." (See FIRST-FRUITS).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Oblation'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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