Drink offering

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The drink offering (Hebrew nesek) was a form of libation forming one of the sacrifices and offerings of the Law of Moses.

Etymology[edit]

The Hebrew noun nesekh is formed from the Qal form of the verb nasakh, "to pour," hence "thing poured." The verb and the noun frequently come together, such as nasakh [aleha] nesekh, literally "pour [on it] a poured thing" as in the only pre-Exodus use, that of Jacob's libation at a pillar in Genesis 35:14. The etymology "poiured thing" explains the existence of the rarer secondary use of the verb nasakh for "cast" (an idol), and the noun nesekh for a "thing poured" (also an idol).[1]

Hebrew Bible[edit]

The drink offering accompanied various sacrifices and offerings on various feast days. Usually the offering was of wine, but in one instance also of "strong drink" (Numbers 28:7).[2] This "strong drink" (Hebrew shaikhar שֵׁכָר, Septuagint sikera σίκερα as Luke 1:15, but also methusma in Judges 13:4 and Micah 2:11) is not identified.

Ancient Near East parallels[edit]

In Akkadian texts, and Ugaritic epics there are references to libations, and sometimes the same verb stem N-S-K "to pour" is used. Psalm 16:4 gives reference to a "drink offering" of blood among pagans, but generally in ANE religions libations were also of wine.[3]

Rabbinical interpretation[edit]

In the Talmud the view of Rabbi Meir was that the blood of the sacrifices permits the drink offering to the altar (B. Zeb. 44a).[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon nesek
  2. ^ Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible 2000 p357 "Beer was also consumed widely in the ancient Near East as early as the Early Bronze Age. ... A drink offering (Heb. nesek) was poured out to the Lord at the sanctuary during many of the festival offerings (e.g., Num. 28:7-8, 10 "
  3. ^ Article spendo (Greek "to pour"). Theological dictionary of the New Testament: V7 p532 Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, Geoffrey William Bromiley - 1971 "In these passages the original purpose is clear: God needs drink as well as food , Aqhat, II, 6, 29 f.; cf. also II, 2, 18 f., 28. ^ The drink offering plays a particularly important role in fertility cults.28 In Israel there were ..."
  4. ^ Jacob Neusner A history of the Mishnaic law of holy things 1978 p77 "Meir's view is that the blood of the sacrifices permits the drink-offering to the altar (B. Zeb. 44a) . Sages point out that the drink-offering may come later ( = Meir, G.)"