ChristianAnswers.Net WebBible Encyclopedia
A gratuity (Prov. 19:6) to secure favor (18:16; 21:14), a thank-offering (Num. 18:11), or a dowry (Gen. 34:12).
An oblation or proppitatory gift (2 Sam. 8:2, 6; 1Chr. 18:2, 6; 2 Chr. 26:8; Ps. 45:12; 72:10).
A bribe to a judge to obtain a favorable verdict (Ex. 23:8; Deut. 16:19).
Simply a thing given (Matt. 7:11; Luke 11:13; Eph. 4:8); sacrifical (Matt. 5:23-24; 8:4); eleemosynary (Luke 21:1); a gratuity (John 4:10; Acts 8:20). In Acts 2:38 the generic word dorea is rendered “gift.” It differs from the charisma (1 Cor. 12:4) as denoting not miraculous powers but the working of a new spirit in men, and that spirit from God.
The giving of presents entered largely into the affairs of common life in the East. The nature of the presents was as various as were the occasions: food (1 Sam. 9:7; 16:20), sheep and cattle (Gen. 32:13-15), gold (2 Sam. 18:11), jewels (Gen. 24:53), furniture, and vessels for eating and drinking (2 Sam. 17:28); delicacies, as spices, honey, etc. (1 Kings 10:25; 2 Kings 5:22).
The mode of presentation was with as much parade as possible: the presents were conveyed by the hands of servants (Judg. 3:18), or still better, on the backs of beasts of burden (2 Kings 8:9).
The refusal of a present was regarded as a high indignity; and this constituted the aggravated insult noticed in Matt. 22:11, the marriage robe having been offered and refused.