Banquets in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
1. The Ancient Hebrew Customs:
(1) "Banquet" and "banqueting" in the King James Version
always include and stand for wine-drinking, not simply
"feast" or "feasting" in our sense. Thus (Song 2:4), "He
brought me to the banqueting-house" is literally, "the house
of wine," and Est 7:2 has in the Hebrew "a banquet of wine."
In the New Testament we see a reflection of the same fact in
1 Pet 4:3 the King James Version, "We walked in .... excess
of wine, banquetings" (Greek "drinkings"; the Revised
Version (British and American) "carousings"). Compare Amos
6:7 the King James Version, "The banquet of them that
stretched themselves," where the reference seems to be to
reclining at wine-drinkings.
The Hebrew of Job 1:4, "make a banquet," may refer to a
social feast of a less objectionable sort (compare 41:6 the
King James Version), though the Hebrew for "to drink" yayin
"wine," was used as synonymous with "banquet."
Music, dancing and merriment usually attended all such
festivities. Certainly the ancient Hebrews, like other
peoples of the ancient East, were very fond of social
feasting, and in Christ's day had acquired, from contact
with Greeks and Romans, luxurious and bibulous habits, that
often carried them to excess in their social feasts.
2. In Christ's Teaching and Practice:
Among the Greeks the word for "feast" (doche) is from
dechomai "to receive" (compare our English usage, "to
receive" and "reception"). This word doche is used with
poiein "to make," to signify "to make" or "give a feast."
Compare Lk 5:29 where Levi "made a feast."
(1) In view of existing customs and abuses, Christ taught
His followers when they gave a banquet to invite the poor,
etc. (Lk 14:13), rather than, as the fashion of the day
called for, to bid the rich and influential. Much in the New
Testament that has to do with banquets and banquetings will
be obscure to us of the West if we do not keep in mind the
many marked differences of custom between the East and the
(2) "Banquets" were usually given in the house of the host
to specially invited guests (Lk 14:15; Jn 2:2), but much
more freedom was accorded to the uninvited than we of the
West are accustomed to, as one finds to be true everywhere
in the East today. The custom of reclining at meals (see
MEALS; TRICLINIUM, etc.) was everywhere in vogue among the
well-to-do in Christ's day, even in the case of the ordinary
meals, the guest leaning upon...
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