Gift the rendering of seven Heb. and four Greek terms (with their variations from the same root) in the A.V., besides being the import of others differently rendered. Several of these have a distinct and special meaning, indicative of the relation of giver and receiver, or of the motive and object of the presentation. They are as follows:
1. Properly and simply מִתִּן, mattan', a gratuity (Pr 19:6), to secure favor (Pr 18:16; Pr 21:14), in religious thankfulness (Nu 18:11), or in dowry (Ge 4:12). From the same root (נָתִן, nathan', to bestow, in the widest sense) are also מִתָּנָה, mattanah', a present, e.g. a divine bestowal (Ps 68:18), in charity (Es 9:22), in religious consecration (Exodus 28:38; Le 23:38; Nu 18:6-7,29; De 16:17; Eze 20:26,31,39), in inheritance (Ge 25:6; 2Ch 21:3; Eze 46:16-17), or as a bribe (Proverbs 15:27 Ec 6:7); with its corresponding Chald מִתּנָה, mattenah', e.g. a royal bounty (Da 2:6,48; Da 5:17); and the synonymous מִתִּת, mattath', e.g. a reward (as rendered in 1Ki 13:7) or fee (Pr 25:14), or simple conferment (Ec 3:13; Ec 5:19) or contribution (Eze 46:5,11). From the same root likewise the Nethinim (sc. given, i.e., consecrated, Nu 8:19).
2. From the root נָשָׂא, nasa', to raise, in the "Piel" sense of aiding, sc. by a gift, come מִשׂאִת, maseth', pecuniary assistance (Es 2:18; elsewhere in various altered significations, and with different renderings); and נַשֵּׂאת, nisseth, a present in token of respect (2Sa 19:42). Perhaps the inherent idea of these terms, however, is rather that of oblation to a superior, i.e., honorary gift; hence the former is also used of a dish of honor sent to special guests ("mess," 43:34; 2Sa 11:8), and of a tax or fixed contribution towards the sanctuary ("collection," 2Ch 24:6,9), or voluntary first-fruits offered ("oblation," Eze 20:40); like the cognate מִשָּׂא, massa' ("tribute," 2Ch 17:11).
3. More distinctly in the sense of a votive offering is מַנחָה, minchah', an oblation or propitiatory gift (2Sa 8:2,6; 1Ch 18:2,6; 2Ch 26:8; 2Ch 32:23; Ps 45:12; "present," Ge 32:13; Ge 18; Ge 20; Ge 21; Ge 33:10; Ge 43:11,15,25-26; Jg 3:15,17-18; Jg 6:18; 1Sa 10:27; 1Ki 4:21; 2Ki 8:8-9; 2Ch 9:24; 2Ch 17:5,11; Ps 72:10; in several of which passages the word has the accessory idea of tribute; elsewhere usually rendered "offering"). Kindred in meaning with the last, but from an entirely different root (שׁוּר, shur, to travel about with a commodity offered in sale), is תּשׁוּרָה, teshurah', a conciliatory "present," e.g. to a seer-fee (1Sa 9:7). Different still is תּרוּמָה, terumah' (from רוּם, rum, to be h^glh), an oblation (Pr 29:4), especially a peace-offering (as usually rendered). The word בּרָכָה, blessing, is sometimes used of a present (Ge 33:11;
1Sa 25:27; 2Ki 5:15), munificence (Pr 11:25), or benefaction (Ge 49:25; Isa 19:24).
4. Mercenary in character are the following: שֹׁחִר, sho'chad, a bribe, especially given to a judge to obtain a favorable verdict (Ex 23:8; De 16:19; 2Ch 19:7; Pr 6:35; Pr 17:8,23; Isa 1:23; Eze 22:12; elsewhere rendered "bribe," "reward," "present"); אֶשׁכָּר, eshkar' (from שָׁכִר, to hire), price, i.e., tribute (Ps 72:10; "present," Eze 27:15). So also שַׁלּוּחַים, shilluchim' (literally sendings away), dotal "presents" (1Ki 9:16) SEE DOWRY; but נֵדֶה, ne'deh (lit. liberality), signifies the prodigal wages of a harlot (Eze 16:35).
5. In Greek the usual terms are some derivative from δίδωμι, to give, namely δόμα, a gift, simply, it is the thing given (Mt 7:11; Lu 11:13; Eph 4:8; Php 4:17), δόσις, the act of giving (Jas 1:17); δῶρον, a conferment in token of amity (Mt 2:11; Eph 2:8; Re 11:10), or sacrificial (Mt 5:23-24; Mt 8:4; Mt 23:18-19; Heb 5:1; Heb 8:3-4; Heb 9:9; Heb 11:4), or merely eleemosynary (Lu 21:1) or in consecration (Mt 15:5; Mr 7:11) SEE CORBAN; whereas δωρεά, a gratuity (Joh 4:10; Ac 2:38; Ac 8:20; Ac 10:45; Ac 11:17; Ro 5:15,17; 2Co 9:15; Eph 3:7; Eph 4:7; Heb 6:4), and δώρημα, endowment (Ro 5:16; Jas 1:17), refer to spiritual bestowments, i.e. grace. These significations are distributed in ἀνάθημα, a votive offering (Lu 21:5, as being hung up),.and χάρις (2Co 8:4; "liberality," 1Co 16:3; "benefit," 2Co 1:15), grace (as elsewhere usually rendered), and its cognate χάρισμα, an inpasrtation which is spoken of spiritual and unmerited endowments (Ro 5:15, i6; 6:23), especially the miraculous or special powers granted to the early Christians (Ro 1:11; Ro 12:6; 1Co 1:7; 1Co 7:7; 1Co 12:4,9,28,30-31; 2Co 1:11; 1Ti 4:14; 2Ti 1:6; 1Pe 1:10); while μεοισμός (a dividing, as in Heb 4:12), points out the distribution of these among believers (Heb 2:4). Henderson has admirably analyzed the terms used in the above passage (1Co 12:4-6) for these various "operations" in his work on Divine Inspiration (Lond. 1847), lect. 4. SEE SPIRITUAL GIFTS.
"The giving and receiving of presents has in all ages been not only a usore frequent, but also a more formal and significant proceeding in the East than among ourselves. It enters largely into the ordinary transactions of life: no negotiation, alliance, or contract of any kind can be entered into between states or sovereigns without a previous interchange of presents: none of the important events of private life, betrothal, marriage, coming of age, birth, take place without presents: even a visit, if of a formal nature, must be prefaced by a present. The extent to which the custom prevailed admits of some explanation from the peculiar usages of the East: it is clear that the term 'gift' is frequently used where we would substitute 'tribute' or 'fee.' The tribute of subject states was paid, not in a fixed sum of money, but in kind, each nation presenting its particular product — a custom which is frequently illustrated in the sculptures of Assyria and Egypt; hence the numerous instances in which the present was no voluntary act, but an exaction (Jg 3:15-18; 2Sa 8:2,6; 1Ki 4:21; 2Ki 17:3; 2Ch 17:11; 2Ch 26:8); and hence the expression 'to bring presents' to own submission (Ps 68:29; Ps 76:11; Isa 18:7). Again, the present taken to a prophet-was viewed very much in the light of a consulting 'fee,' and conveyed no idea of bribery (1Sa 9:7; comp. 12:3; 2Ki 5:5; 2Ki 8:9): it was only when false prophets and corrupt judges arose that the present was prostituted, and became, instead of a minchah (as in the instances quoted), a shockad or bribe (Isa 1:23; Isa 5:23; Eze 22:12; Mic 3:11). But even allowing for these cases, which are hardly 'gifts' in our sense of the term, there is still a large excess remaining in the practice of the East: friends brought presents to friends on any joyful occasion (Es 9:19,22), those who asked for information or advice to those who gave it (2Ki 8:8), the needy to the wealthy from whom any assistance was expected (Ge 43:11; 2Ki 15:19; 2Ki 16:8), rulers to their favorites (Ge 45:22; 2Sa 11:8), especially to their officers (Es 2:18; Josephus, Ant. 12:2, 15), on to the people generally on festive occasions (2Sa 6:19): on the occasion of a marriage, ,the bridegroom not only paid the parents for his bride (A.V. 'dowry'), but also gave the bride certain presents (Ge 34:12; comp. Ge 24:22), while the father of the bride gave her a present on sending her away, as is expressed in the term shilluchîm (שַׁלֻּחַים (1Ki 9:16); and again, the portions of the sons of concubines were paid in the form of presents (Ge 15:6).
"The nature of the presents was as various as were the occasions: food (1Sa 9:7; 1Sa 16:20; 1Sa 25:18), sheep, and cattle (Ge 32:13-15; Jg 15:1), gold (2Sa 18:11; Job 13:11; Mt 2:11), jewels (Ge 24:53), furniture, and vessels for eating and drinking (2Sa 17:28), delicacies, such as spices, honey, etc. (Ge 24:53; 1Ki 10:25; 2Ki 5:22), particularly in the case of persons inducted into high office (Es 6:8; Da 5:16; comp. Herod. 3:20). The mode of presentation was with as much parade as possible; the presents were conveyed by the hands of servants (Jg 3:18), or, still better on the backs of beasts of burden (2Ki 8:9), even when such a mode of conveyance was unnecessary. The refusal of a present was regarded as a high indignity, and this constituted the aggravated insult noticed in Mt 22:11, the marriage robe having been offered and refused (Trench, Parables). No less an insult was it not to bring a present when the position of the, parties demanded it (1Sa 10:27). SEE PRESENT.