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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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In the technical sense, implying a formal ceremonial act, three Gr. words are represented by ‘offer,’ ‘offering,’ in the Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 : (1) προσφίρω, to bring to or near, the general term for the act of worshipper or priest, Matthew 5:23-24; Matthew 8:4 (= Mark 1:44, Luke 5:14), John 16:2; (2) ἀνάθημα, a votive offering set up in a temple (Luke 21:5); (3) δίδωμι, to give (Luke 2:24, cf. Luke 21:4).

The attitude of Jesus to the ceremonial law is, in part, indicated in these references. Speaking to Jews He uses language appropriate to their condition, and illustrates the truth He would teach from their everyday life. He assumes that they will bring their gifts to the altar, and so far ‘He respects the practice,’ but He adds the all-important truth that the reconciliation of man to man must come before the altar-offering. Forgiveness of injuries (Matthew 5:23 f.), filial piety (Matthew 15:5 f.), and mercy (Matthew 9:13, Matthew 12:7) condition all acceptable service of God. In this Jesus takes His stand with the Hebrew prophets, and fulfils their moral law. The command to the leper, now cleansed, ‘show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded,’ Matthew 8:4 (= Mark 1:44, Luke 5:14), ought not to be pressed beyond this. The leper was ostracized, and the priest alone could remove the ban, and grant a certificate of health (Leviticus 14). Freewill offerings, over and above the requirements of the Law, were provided for in the Temple treasury (Mark 12:41, Luke 21:4). Of the 13 trumpet-shaped boxes of the treasury 4 were for voluntary gifts. (See Edersheim, The Temple, p. 26; and for the general subject, see Giving; cf., further, artt. Law and Sacrifice).

W. H. Dyson.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Offerings'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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