Bible Term: Drink Offering

A drink offering was a libation of wine poured over the alter or used with meat offerings as part of Jewish worship rituals. Instructions for its use occur over forty-five times in the Jewish law, with nineteen other references in the Old Testament.

During a time of war, there is a curious story of King David. He mentions he is thirsty for water from a specific well. Three of his mighty warriors break through enemy lines, draw water from that well, and return to David with it. However, instead of drinking it with gratitude, David pours it out on the ground as an offering to God. (1 Chronicles 11:17-19 and 2 Samuel 23:13-17). Apparently, he felt the risk the men took was so great that he was not worthy to taste the water, offering it to God instead.

Since Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament worship practices, it’s not surprising there are only two mentions of drink offerings in the New Testament. Both were made by Paul, referring to him willingly pouring out his life as a drink-offering to God. (Philippians 2:17 and 2 Timothy 4:6).