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Girdlestone's Synonyms of the Old Testament


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The word Korban (קרבן , Ass. Kurbannu), with which we are familiar from its occurrence in the N.T. (Mark 7:11), is used for the offering in about seventy passages in the O.T. It is not restricted to any sacrifice in particular, but represents the various ways in which the offerer found a way of approach and acceptance. We might almost render it a way of access. The verb Karav (קרב ), whence it is derived, signifies to approach or draw near, and is often used of man's entrance into the presence of the living God (so also in Assyrian). It is no ordinary nearness that is represented by it, but rather that of the closest and most intimate kind (see, e.g., Numbers 16:9; Psalms 65:4; Jeremiah 30:21). The very word just used ('intimate') reminds us of the meaning of the word in one of its forms (קֶרֶב ), as applied to the innermost part of the body; whilst in another form (קרוב ) it signifies a near neighbour or a kinsman. (The word is also used of close hand-to-h and conflict, and hence is rendered battle or war in nine passages in the O.T. So also in Assyrian.

Korban is also rendered sacrifice in Leviticus 27:11, and oblation ten times in Leviticus, and twice in Numbers. It would be better to have a uniform rendering in these passages. The verb in its causative form is rendered offer more than fifty times in Leviticus, and twenty-five times in Numbers. It occurs in a non-sacrificial sense in Judges 3:18, where we read of Ehud's offering a present to Eglon; also in 1 Chronicles 16:1, and 2 Chronicles 35:12, al.

The LXX renders the verb ἐγγίζω, προσφέρω, προσέρχομαι, προσάγω; and the noun always δω̂ρον.

The verb Nagash (נגשׁ ) has much the same meaning as Karav, and is applied to the presentation of offerings in Amos 5:25, Matthew 1:7-8; Matthew 1:11; Matthew 1:13; Matthew 3:3. this word is coupled with Kazav in Jeremiah 30:21, which runs thus: 'Their noble (A. V. nobles) shall be from themselves, and their ruler shall issue from amidst them, and I will cause him to draw near (Karav), and he shall approach (Nagash) unto me.'

NT Teaching

We find ἐγγίζω used once in the N.T in a special sense, namely, in Hebrews 7:19, 'The bringing in of a better hope, by which we draw near unto God.'

The word προσφέρω used of the offering of gifts of many kinds. Thus we meet with it in Matthew 2:11, with respect to the offerings made by the Wise Men; in Matthew 5:23, of the offering or gift up on the altar, where reference is evidently made to the ordinary offerings prescribed under the name in Leviticus in Matthew 8:4, Mark 1:44, and Luke 5:14, it is applied to the offering to be made by the cleansed leper in John 16:2 we read, 'Whosoever killeth you will think that he offereth religious service to God' (λατρείαν προσφέρειν τῳ̂ θεῳ̂). The only Epistle in which the word occurs is that which was addressed to the Hebrews, in which it is found twenty times, and, with one exception, [Namely, Hebrews 12:7, 'God deals with you (ὑμι̂ν προσφέρεται) as with sons.' The word is here in the Middle Voice, and signifies the entrance into a certain relationship.] always in a sacrificial or religious sense. Thus it is said of the Lord Jesus that He offered Himself without blemish to God through the Eternal Spirit (Hebrews 9:14), and that He was once for all offered to bear the sins of many (9:28).

The word προσέρχομαι is used of the sinner's approach to God on the basis of an offering in Hebrews 4:16; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 10:1; Hebrews 10:22; Hebrews 11:6.

There is one remarkable passage in which προσάγειν is used, namely, 1 Peter 3:18, 'Christ died, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.' Here the Vulgate rendering is striking, 'that he might offer us to God,' the offering being the means of the sinner's approach. The noun προσαγωγή, derived from this verb, is used of the access or way of approach which the Christian obtains through Christ, in Romans 5:2, Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12.

In St. Matthew's Gospel we find δω̂ρον for a sacrificial gift several times; and St. Mark, in chap.7:11, specially interprets Korban by this word in the Epistle to the Hebrews this word is put side by side with θυσίαι, sacrifices.

The general less on which we gain from the frequent and remarkable use of the word Korban (in the Levitical law), and of its Greek representatives in the N.T., is that a way of access to God is made open, not through the efforts of man, but through the good will and ordinance of our heavenly Father, who has caused us to come near to Himself in and through his son Jesus Christ.

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Bibliography Information
Girdlestone, Robert Baker. Entry for 'Korban'. Synonyms of the Old Testament.

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Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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