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Libations

Libations, or drink-offerings, were the pouring out of a liquid such as oil, water or wine, but most-often wine, as one of the forms of sacrificial worship. During Bible History, they were used by the Israelites in the worship of The Lord, as commanded by Him. Pagans also used a form of drink offerings in the worship of their idols, although their version differed. In the New Testament, the term was used symbolically by Christians.

Abraham Drink Offerings To The Lord

Libations were part of the God-commanded service of the Levitical priesthood (see Levites):

"And The Lord [see Rock Of Ages] said to Moses, "Say to the people of Israel, When you come into the land which I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits [see Pentecost] of your harvest to the priest; and he shall wave the sheaf before The Lord, that you may find acceptance; on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to The Lord. And the cereal offering with it shall be two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, to be offered by fire to The Lord, a pleasing odor; and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, a fourth of a hin." (Leviticus 23:9-13 RSV)

"The Lord said to Moses, "Say to the people of Israel, When you come into the land you are to inhabit, which I give you, and you offer to The Lord from the herd or from the flock an offering by fire or a burnt offering or a sacrifice, to fulfil a vow or as a freewill offering or at your appointed feasts, to make a pleasing odor to The Lord, then he who brings his offering shall offer to The Lord a cereal offering of a tenth of an ephah [see Biblical Weights and Measures] of fine flour, mixed with a fourth of a hin of oil; and wine for the drink offering, a fourth of a hin, you shall prepare with the burnt offering, or for the sacrifice, for each lamb. (Numbers 15:1-5 RSV)

Pagans

The Lord mocked pagan libations:

"Where are their gods, the rock in which they took refuge, who ate the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise up and help you, let them be your protection! See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no God beside Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of My hand." (Deuteronomy 32:37-39 RSV)

Jesus Christ made reference to pagan libations:

"There were some present at that very time who told Him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate [see Pontius Pilate] had mingled with their sacrifices. And He answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? I tell you, No; but unless you Repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:1-5 RSV)

Fact Finder: Did the apostle Paul symbolically refer to himself as a libation, or drink offering?
Philippians 2:17


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This Week's Bible Quiz

Which came/comes first?

1. Abraham or The Flood?

2. The death of Jacob/Israel or the Exodus?

3. Passover or The Day Of Atonement?

4. King Solomon or King David?

5. The giving of The Ten Commandments to Moses or the Israelites' entry into The Promised Land?

6. Ruth or Esther?

7. The Roman empire or the Greek empire?

8. The Babylonian empire or the Persian empire?

9. The birth of Jesus Christ or the birth of John the Baptist?

10. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ or the beheading of John the Baptist?

For the answers to this August 13 2002 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page


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