Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
(תְּנוּפָה, "a waving," from נוּ, "to wave," תְּנוּפָה לַפְנֵי יְהוֹה, "a waving before Jehovah"). This rite, together with that of "heaving" or "raising" the offering, was an inseparable accompaniment of peace- offerings. In such the right shoulder, considered the choicest part of the victim, was to be "heaved," and viewed as holy to the Lord, only eaten therefore by the priest; the breast was to be "waved," and eaten by the worshipper. On the second day of the Passover a sheaf of corn, in the green ear, was to be waved, accompanied by the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb of the first year, from the performance of which ceremony the days till Pentecost were to be counted. When that feast arrived, two loaves, the first-fruits of the ripe corn, were to be offered with a burnt-offering, a sin-offering, and two lambs of the first year for a peaceoffering. These likewise were to be waved.
The Scriptural notices of these rites are to be found in Exodus 29:24; Exodus 29:28; Leviticus 7:30; Leviticus 7:34; Leviticus 8:27; Leviticus 9:21; Leviticus 10:14-15; Leviticus 23:10; Leviticus 23:15; Leviticus 23:20; Numbers 6:20; Numbers 18:11; Numbers 18:18; Numbers 18:26-29, etc.
We find also the word תְּנוּפָה applied, in Exodus 38:24, to the gold offered by the people for the furniture of the sanctuary. It is there called הִתְּנוּפָה זְהִב . It may have been waved when presented, but it seems not impossible that תְּנוּפָה had acquired a secondary sense so as to denote "free-will offering," In either case we must suppose the ceremony of waving to have been known to and practiced by the Israelites before the giving of the law.
It seems not quite certain from Exodus 29:26-27, whether the waving was performed by the priest or by the worshipper with the former's assistance. The Rabbinical tradition represents it as done by the worshipper, the priest supporting his hands from below.
In conjecturing the meaning of this rice, regard must be had, in the first instance, to the kind of sacrifice to which it belonged. It was the accompaniment of peaceofferings. These not only, like the other sacrifices, acknowledged God's greatness and his right over the creature, but they witnessed to a ratified covenant, an established communion between God and main. While the sin-offering merely removed defilement, while the burntoffering gave entirely over to God of his own, the victim being wholly consumed, the peace-offering, as establishing relations between God and the worshipper, was participated in by the latter, who ate, as we have seen, of the breast that was waved. The rabbins explain the heaving of the shoulder as an acknowledgment that God has his throne in the heaven, the waving of the breast that he is present in every quarter of the earth. The one rite testified to his eternal majesty on high, the other to his being among and with his people.
It is not said in Leviticus 23:10-14 that a peace-offering accompanied the wave-sheaf of the Passover. On the contrary, the only bloody sacrifice mentioned in connection with it is styled a burnt-offering.. When, however, we consider that everywhere else the rite of waving belongs to a peace offering, and that, besides a sin and a burnt offering, there was one in connection with the wave-loaves of Pentecost (Leviticus 23:19), we shall be wary of concluding that there was none in the present case. The significance of these rices seems considerable. The name of the month Abib, in which the Passover was kept, means the month of the green ear of corn, the' month in which the great produce of the earth has come to the birth. In that month the nation of Israel came to the birth; each succeeding Passover was the keeping of the nation's birthday. Beautifully and naturally, therefore, were the two births — that of the people into national life; that of their needful sustenance into yearly life — combined in the Passover. All first-fruits were holy to God: the first-born of men, the first- produce of the earth. Both principles were recognised in the Passover. When, six weeks after, the harvest had ripened, the first-fruits of its matured produce were similarly to be dedicated to God. Both were waved, the rite which attested the Divine presence and working all around us being surely most appropriate and significant in their case. (See WAVING).
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Wave-Offering'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​w/wave-offering.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.