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Israel always approached God with an offering, or sacrifice (q.v.). It might have been a handful of grain, or a pair of doves, or it could have been many sheep, goats and oxen, as the law required and as the offerer could afford. There were formal offerings of lambs and bullocks arranged by the priests and Levites according to God's instructions through Moses. Special events and days were recognised by offerings at the Tabernacle. The passing of time, each day and night, the Sabbath, the first day of the month, the New Year and the New Moons were acknowledged with burnt offerings. Offerings were associated with the three national feasts. There were offerings made for the priests and the princes of Israel. In some cases these offerings were burnt whole after the blood had been drained. Other offerings were shared with the priests, Levites and their families. Details of these offerings and how they were made are given in Numbers 28 and 29, and elsewhere.

Every Israelite was free to make 'peace offerings' or 'fellowship offerings' or to make an offering in thanksgiving to God for His goodness and mercy towards them. The first thing that Noah did when he left the ark was to offer some of the animals in thanksgiving to God.

The animals brought for an offering would be killed by the priest at the Tabernacle, or later the Temple, the blood would be drained, the fat burned on the altar, and the meat shared with the priest, and eaten by the man's family at the Tabernacle. Thanksgiving offerings could also be made by any Israelite when he wished to express his gratitude to God, and they were similarly offered and the meat shared with the priests and eaten. (See Leviticus 7:11-21).

(See also SACRIFICE).

Olive Tree

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