Friday, November 14, 2014

Season of Praise: Towdah

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

11/14/14 - Towdah:  Strong's 8426

I had a panicky moment last week when I first looked this up in my Zodhiates lexicon and read:

This fem. noun has its source in yadah (3034).  It means an extension of the hand, a confession, a vow; thanks, thanksgiving, a sacrifice of thanksgiving, a type of peace offering, offering praise to God for a sacrifice; a thanksgiving choir or procession who gave thanks in praising God.

I read 'extension of the hand' and thought, 'Oh, no!  I mixed them up!'

But when I checked the online listing linked above, I realized that no, I had not mixed them up.  Yahdah has the connotation of throwing or casting...fling the hands out, so to speak, while Towdah implies holding out a  hand with something in it... a Thanksgiving offering.

The Blue Letter Bible listing states that Towdah is used  32 times in the Old Testament. The King James Scholars translated it as Thanksgiving 18 times,  Praise six times, Thanks and Thank offerings three times each, and Confession twice; the translators connected the word with Thanksgiving two-thirds of the instances it appears.

And my memory of past sermon series based on these words of the words meant 'thanksgiving.'

If you go back and study the sacrifices that the people were to bring, you'll see that it was not always a burnt offering per se...usually, the animal was ceremonially slaughtered, specific parts of it were burned as an offering (the fat and certain innards...not what was particularly healthy to eat), a portion was set aside as holy for the priests and Levites and their families, and the rest was to be eaten with thanksgiving by the individual and his household.  It seemed to be that this was so taken for granted that it really is only kind of peripherally mentioned...see Lev. 7:15, for example.. (I'm quoting from the Amplified again today):

The flesh of the sacrifice of thanksgiving [towdah] presented as a peace offering, shall be eaten on the day that it is offered; none of it shall be left until the morning.

In fact, the passage in Lev. 7 describes thanksgiving offerings in great detail, and then goes on to say that if the sacrifice is not completely eaten in the specified time, it should be burned, and if it is not burned but eaten after that time has elapsed, then the one who brought it shall not be credited with it; it shall not be accepted.

I see in this something pretty amazing.   These were poor people who did not have a lot of meat available in their diet; the instruction was to bring a choice animal, sacrifice it ceremonially, and then have a family feast with the bulk of the carcass. It was a designated time for the family to gather, to eat well and enjoy each others company.  The direction to consume it immediately not only protected them from food-spoilage ailments but made sure that there were no sly plans to preserve the feast for later and dole it out slowly (I suppose they could've dried the meat into jerky or smoked it to keep it for later); it all had to be eaten...and, if there weren't enough people in the household to eat it, they were encouraged to share it with others.  All as part of the thanksgiving ritual.

A portion to God, a portion to His servants...and the rest intended for family, food and fellowship.  God's gift back to His people when they praised Him with their thanksgiving offerings.
I have been really surprised lately by the number of folks who have commented to me that their favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I don't necessarily think the Hebrew feasts were in anybody's mind when the American Thanksgiving tradition developed, but Thanksgiving is...or was at one time, anyway... very, very close to the concept. 

Give something to help others. Bring your family together. Have a special meal.  Thank God for all His Blessings.

Looking forward to it already.

More Thanksgiving references:

Lev. 22:29-30 -  And when you sacrifice an offering of thanksgiving [towdah] to the LORD, sacrifice it so that you may be accepted.  It shall be eaten on the same day; you shall leave none of it until the next day; I am the LORD.

2 Chron. 29:31 - Then Hezekiah said, Now you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord; come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings [towdah] into the house of the Lord.  And the assembly brought in sacrifices and thank offerings [towdah], and as many as were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings.

2 Chron 33:16 - And he restored the Lord's altar, and sacrificed on it offerings of peace and of thanksgiving [towdah]; and he commanded Judah to serve the Lord the God of Israel.

Ps. 50:14 -  Offer to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving [towdah]  and pay your vows to the Most High,

Ps. 107: 22 -  And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving [towdah], and rehearse His deeds with shouts of joy and singing!

Ps. 116:17 - I will offer to You the sacrifices of thanksgiving [towdah], and will call on the  name of the Lord.

Jer. 17:26 -  And people shall come from the cities of Judah and the places round about Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the lowland, from the hill country, and from the South, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, cereal offerings and frankincense, and bringing sacrifices of thanksgiving [towdah] to the house of the Lord.

Jer. 33:11  - (There shall be heard again) the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing as they bring sacrifices of thanksgiving [towdah] into the house of the Lord, Give praise and thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for His mercy and kindness and steadfast love endure for ever!  For I will cause the captivity of the land to be reversed and return to be as it was at first, says the Lord.
Jonah 2:9 - But as for me, I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving [towdah]; I will pay that which I have vowed.  Salvation and deliverance belong to the Lord!

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