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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Thank-Offering

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(זֶבִה תּוֹדָה, Leviticus 22:29; or briefly תּוֹדָה, 2 Chronicles 29:3; Psalms 56:13; Jeremiah 17:26; literally praise or thanksgiving, as often rendered), a variety of the peace-offering (hence the full expression זֶבִה תּוֹדִת הִשְּׁלָמַים, Leviticus 7:13; Leviticus 7:15), the other two kinds being the votive offering, specifically such (זֶבִה נֵדֶר ), and the ordinary free-will offering (נְדָבָה זֶבח ). As its name implies, it was a bloody or animal sacrifice, and its specific character was the praise which it embodied towards God. Like all the other divisions of the peace-offering, it was entirely voluntary, being placed in the light of a privilege rather than a duty. It is intimately associated with the "meat-offering" (q.v.).

The nature of the victim was left to the sacrificer; it might be male or female, of the flock or of the herd, provided that it was unblemished; the hand of the sacrificer was laid on its head, the fat burned, and the blood sprinkled as in the burnt-offering; of the flesh, the breast and right shoulder (the former of which the offerer was to heave and the latter to wave) were given to the priest; the rest belonged to the sacrificer as a sacrificial feast (1 Corinthians 10:18), to be eaten, either on the day of sacrifice or on the next day (Leviticus 7:11-18; Leviticus 7:29-34), except in the case of the firstlings, which belonged to the priest alone (Leviticus 23:20). The eating of the flesh of the meat-offering was considered a partaking of the table of the Lord;" and on solemn occasions, as at the dedication of the Temple of Solomon, it was conducted on all enormous scale, and became a great national feast, especially at periods of unusual solemnity or rejoicing; as at the first inauguration of the covenant (Exodus 24:5), at the first consecration of Aaron and of the tabernacle (Leviticus 9:18), at the solemn reading of the law in Canaan by Joshua (Joshua 8:31), at the accession of Saul (1 Samuel 11:15), at the bringing of the ark to Mount Zion by David (2 Samuel 6:17), at the consecration of the Temple, and thrice every year afterwards, by Solomon (1 Kings 8:63; 1 Kings 9:25), and at the great Passover of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 30:22). In two cases only (Judges 20:26; 2 Samuel 24:25) are these or any other kind of peace-offering mentioned as offered with burnt-offerings at a time of national sorrow and fasting. Here their force seems to have been precatory rather than eucharistic. The key to the understanding of this is furnished by Hengstenberg: "To give thanks for grace already received is a refined way of begging for more." As prayer is founded on the divine promise, it "may be expressed in the way of anticipated thanks."

Among thank-offerings, in the most extensive sense, might be reckoned the presentation of the first-born (Exodus 13:12-13); the first-fruits, including the fruit of all manner of trees, honey, oil, and new wine (Leviticus 23:10-13; Numbers 18:12; 1 Chronicles 9:29; Nehemiah 10:37;. 2 Chronicles 32:5); the second tithe (Deuteronomy 12:17-18; Deuteronomy 14:23); and the lamb of the Passover (Exodus 12:3-17). Leaven and honey were excluded from all offerings made by fire (Leviticus 2:11); and salt was required in all (2, 13; Mark 9:49; Colossians 4:6). So also the Hebrews were forbidden to offer anything vile and contemptible (Deuteronomy 23:18; Malachi 1:7-8). (See PEACE OFFERING).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Thank-Offering'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/t/thank-offering.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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