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An elaborate meal, often called a feast. In the Bible, there are two general types of banquets: ceremonial and ritual. A ceremonial banquet is a festive meal at which the inviter and the invited celebrate their mutual solidarity. Examples include the festive meals of Israel’s appointed festivals (Lev 23:2-44) and the national celebrations in the story of Esther (Esth 1:3-9; Esth 2:18; Esth 5:1-7:10). A ritual banquet is one that marks some transitional point in a person’s life, e.g., Isaac’s weaning day (Gen 21:8); the weddings of Jacob (Gen 29:22) and Samson (Judg 14:10); and the birthdays of Pharaoh (Gen 40:20) and Herod (Mark 6:21). Banquets can indicate the transformation of a stranger into a guest (Gen 19:3-14; Luke 5:29) or of an enemy into a covenant partner (Gen 26:26-31; 2Sam 3:20). At the Last Supper Jesus changes the ceremonial banquet of the Jewish Passover into a ritual banquet, effectively symbolizing the meaning of his impending death (Mark 14:12-25; and parallels).

  • Powell, Mark Allan, ed. HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. Abridged Edition. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009.