There are some twenty-four Hebrew words, more or less synonymous, which are translated "offer" and "offering" in the Hebrew Old Testament.  These Hebrew words are also translated in other ways, so that it is important for the truth-seeker to know, in every passage, which word is used.

The various words are noted in the margin, except when they are clearly translated by their distinctive meanings, such as burnt-offering, peace-offering, heave-offering, &c.

  1. The VERB "to offer".

    1. Karab means to draw near, but in the Hiphil conjugation, to make to approach, or draw near :  hence, to bring near.  See Korban, No. 1 below.

    2. Nagash = to come near, after having been so brought, i.e., to enjoy the presence which the Korban (see below II. i.) has secured.  Cp. Jer. 30:21 where we have both words.  Hence used of coming near with offerings.  Cp. Greek engizo, Heb. 7:19, and prosphero, Matt. 2:11; 5:23; 8:4.  Mark 1:44.  Luke 5:14.  John 16:2.  In the Epistle to the Hebrews it is used twenty times in a sacrificial sense, except Heb. 12:7, "God brings you near as sons".  See also Heb. 9:14, 28.  Used also of the sinner's approach to God by offering, Heb. 4:16; 7:25; 10:1, 22; 11:6.

    3. 'Asah, to make ready or prepare a victim for sacrifice; to make a victim a specific offering.  Hence, to offer.  First occurrence in Ex. 10:25 (sacrifice).  Then Ex. 29:36, 38, 39 (offer), &c.

    4. Zabach, to slay [and offer up]; hence to offer what has been slain; to sacrifice.  Hence No. xii. below.

    5. Shahat, to kill or slay (as a butcher); used of men as well as of animals.  Judg. 12:6.  1Kings 18:40.  First occurrence Gen. 22:10; 37:31.  Then Ex. 12:6.

    6. 'Alah = to offer up, especially a burnt offering, form its name in II. ii. below.

    7. Katar = to burn or turn into vapor.  Used of the incense which = Kethoreth, but also of the 'Olah (II. ii.) and parts of the Minchah (II. iii.) and the Zebach (II. xii.) because these ascended to Jehovah.

    8. Saraph is used of burning up (or rather, down) the sin-offering, because nothing ascended up to God in that offering.

    9. Rum, to offer up as a heave-offering.

  2. The NOUN "offering".

    1. Korban = a gift, or an admittance-offering :  from I. i. above.  It is the present brought, to this day in the East, in order to secure an audience, or to see the face of the superior, and find access to his presence.  Hence called to-day, "the face-offering".  When the admittance has been secured and entrance has been obtained, then the real offering or present has to be given.  Hence Korban is essentially an admittance-offering; securing the entree.  Cp. the verb, Judg. 3:18.  Cp. its use in the New Testament, Matt. 5:23; 8:4; 23:18.  Mark 7:11.  Heb. 5:1.

    2. 'Olah = the burnt offering :  so called from the Hiphil of the verb 'alah, to cause the ascend [as the flame and smoke ascend by burning].  In Greek holocausta, which conveys its meaning as being wholly burnt.

    3. Minchah = the Meal offering = a present, as such.  Hence a gift-offering, not necessarily to secure admittance, but to secure favor.  It might be sacrifice by blood, or more generally and later, without blood.  It is used of the offerings of Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:3, 4, 5), of Jacob's present to Esau (Gen. 32:13-21), &c.  In Exodus and Leviticus it acquires a special limitation, and is the only word rendered "meat", or better (with R.V.), "meal offering" (though it has a wider signification that literal "meal").

    4. Shelem = the Peace offering, from the root Shalam, which conveys the idea of peace on the ground of perfection of compensation of recompense.  Hence connected with the thought of rendering payment of vows or praises because of peace enjoyed.  Sometimes combined with Zebach (No. xii, below).  It is eucharistic rather than propitiatory.

    5. Chattath = the Sin offering, from chat'a, to sin by coming short of, by missing the mark in sins of commission.  In the Piel it means to purge from such sin (Ps. 51:7).  In the 'Olah (II. ii) the blood went upward, in the chattath it went downward and outward "without the camp".  The former was burnt up on the altar, the latter went down on the ground.

    6. 'Asam = the Trespass offering.  Relates to sins of omission, while chattath, relates to sins of commission = sin in general; 'Asham sin in relation to Mosaic Law; sins of error arising from ignorance or negligence.

    7. Nedabah = Free-will or Voluntary offerings.  See Lev. 22:18, &c.  It refers not to the nature or mode of the offering, but to the motive.  Not the same as Lev. 1:4, "voluntary will", which = "for his acceptance".

    8. Terumah = the Heave offering.  So called because it was lifted up on high in presentation to Jehovah for Himself alone.  See I. ix. above and Ex. 29:27.

    9. Tenuphah = the Wave offering, because it was waved to and fro (not up and down like No. viii), and presented for the four quarters of the earth.

    10. Nesek = the Drink offering.  From nasak, to pour out.  Cp. Ps. 2:6 (set).  Phil. 2:17.  2Tim. 4:6.

    11. 'Ishsheh = any offering made by fire (cp. Ex. 29:18.  Lev. 24:7, 9).

    12. Zebach = any offering slain (from No. II. iv, above).  The proper word for a victim, slain and offered.  The Hebrew name for altar (mizbeah) is derived from the same root, and denotes the place of slaughter.  Cp. Gen. 22.

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