cultual offering of beverage to a god
A libation is a ritual pouring of a liquid, or grains such as rice, as an offering to a deity or spirit, or in memory of the dead. It was common in many religions of antiquity and continues to be offered in cultures today.
- At new year, on the day of rites, the lady libates water on the holy.
- Alexander sacrificed to the gods to whom it was his custom to sacrifice, and gave a public banquet, seated all the Persians, and then any persons from the other peoples who took precedence for rank or any other high quality, and he himself and those around him drank from the same bowl and poured the same libations, with the Greek soothsayers and Magi initiating the ceremony. Alexander prayed for various blessings and especially that the Macedonians and Persians should enjoy harmony as partners in government. The story prevails that those who shared the banquet were nine thousand and that they all poured the same libation and gave the one victory cry as they did.
- Arrian in Anabasis Alexandri, 7.2.6-9
- וַיַּ֥עַל מֵעָלָ֖יו אֱלֹהִ֑ים בַּמָּקֹ֖ום אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר אִתֹּֽו׃
וַיַּצֵּ֨ב יַעֲקֹ֜ב מַצֵּבָ֗ה בַּמָּקֹ֛ום אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר אִתֹּ֖ו מַצֶּ֣בֶת אָ֑בֶן וַיַּסֵּ֤ךְ עָלֶ֙יהָ֙ נֶ֔סֶךְ וַיִּצֹ֥ק עָלֶ֖יהָ שָֽׁמֶן׃
וַיִּקְרָ֨א יַעֲקֹ֜ב אֶת־שֵׁ֣ם הַמָּקֹ֗ום אֲשֶׁר֩ דִּבֶּ֨ר אִתֹּ֥ו שָׁ֛ם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בֵּֽית־אֵֽל׃
- The Bible, Genesis 35:13-15, Leningrad Codex.
- And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him. And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon. And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.
- King James Version.
- וְנִסְכּוֹ֙ רְבִיעִ֣ת הַהִ֔ין לַכֶּ֖בֶשׂ הָאֶחָ֑ד בַּקֹּ֗דֶשׁ הַסֵּ֛ךְ נֶ֥סֶךְ שֵׁכָ֖ר לַיהוָֽה׃
- The Bible, Numbers 28:7, Leningrad Codex.
- And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the Lord for a drink offering.
- King James Version.
- If a man does not treasure his god, that man will not be buried. His heir will not provide him with water libations.
- A man who does not value his god is thrown out in the desert; his body is not buried and his heir does not provide his ghost with drinking water through a libation pipe.
- Now Neptune's sullen month appears,
The angry night cloud swells with tears,
And savage storms infuriate driven,
Fly howling in the face of heaven!
Now, now, my friends, the gathering gloom
With roseate rays of wine illume:
And while our wreaths of parsley spread
Their fadeless foliage round our head,
We'll hymn th' almighty power of wine,
And shed libations on his shrine!
- Thomas Moore, Odes of Anacreon, Ode LXVIII, reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)