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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Portion

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(חְלֶק, ché lek). In addition to the sense of dividing or allotting, this word is used in reference to a custom still prevalent among princes and rich people in the East, not only to invite their friends to feasts, but to send a portion of the banquet to those that cannot well come to it, especially their relations and those in a state of mourning. This sending of portions to those for whom nothing was prepared is alluded to in Nehemiah 8:10, where it is said, "Go your way, eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength." Thee historian is here describing a national festival where every one was supposed to be equally concerned; those then for whom nothing was prepared, it would seem, means those that were in a state of mourning; mourning for private calamities being here supposed to take the place of rejoicing for public concerns. But it is not only to those that are in a state of mourning that provisions are sometimes sent; others are honored by princes in the same manner who could not conveniently attend the royal table, or to whom it was supposed not to be convenient. M. D'Arvieux mentions that in Syria, when the grand emir of the Druses, with whom he resided, found it incommoded him to eat with him, he politely desired him to take his own time for eating, sending him what he liked from his kitchen, and at the time he chose. Thus David it may be presumed did to Uriah, for it is recorded "there followed him a mess of meat from the king" (2 Samuel 11:8; 2 Samuel 11:10). We likewise read in the book of Esther (Esther 9:19): "Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions to one another." (See INHERITANCE).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Portion'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/p/portion.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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