From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

Corban is a Hebrew word (קָרִבָּן) which appears in the Greek of  Mark 7:11, transliterated κορβᾶν or κορβάν, and in this form passes into the English Versions. The same word in a modified form occurs also in  Matthew 27:6, εἰς τὸν κορβανᾶν, ‘into the treasury.’ The termination -ας in κορβανᾶς is the Greek method of indicating the Aramaic determinative in קָרבָנָא. Codex B reads κορβᾶν for κορβανᾶν.

The word has three meanings: (1) An offering, both bloodless and otherwise. In this sense it occurs about 80 times in OT, always in Leviticus and Numbers, except twice in Ezekiel. In Authorized and Revised Versions it is rendered ‘offering’ or ‘oblation,’ but in LXX Septuagint it is rendered by δῶρον, ‘a gift,’ and this is the translation given to κορβᾶν in  Mark 7:11. (2) A vow-offering, something dedicated to God. In this sense it occurs in the Heb. and Aram. [Note: Aramaic.] portions of the Talmud, and also in Josephus. In his Antiquities , iv. iv. 4, Josephus says of the Nazirites: ‘They dedicate themselves to God as a corban , which in the language of the Greeks denotes “a gift.” ’ So also in circa (about) Apion . i. 22, he speaks of corban as a ‘kind of oath, found only among Jews, which denotes “a thing devoted to God.” ’ (3) The sacred treasury into which the gifts for the Temple service were cast by the pious; or, the treasure therein deposited. Thus, in BJ , ii. ix. 4, Josephus says that Herod ‘caused a disturbance by spending the sacred treasure, which is called corban , upon aqueducts.’ So in  Matthew 27:6 the high priests say to one another: ‘It is not lawful to cast them (Judas’ silver pieces) into the treasury (εἰς τὸν κορβανᾶν, B* κορβᾶν), for it is the price of blood.’

The passage in which corban occurs in our English Bible is  Mark 7:11. Our Lord is there replying to the criticism of the Pharisees that the disciples ate food with hands ceremonially unclean. Christ’s reply is a retort. He accuses the Pharisees of attaching too much value to the tradition of the elders, so as even in some cases to set aside in their favour the plain moral commandments of God. The words of Jesus are: ‘Is it well for you to set aside the commandment of God, in order that ye may observe your tradition? For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, He that speaketh evil of father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, If a man has said to his father or mother, That wherewith thou mightest have been benefited from me is corban , that is, a gift, [he is absolved]. Ye no longer allow him to do anything for his father or mother.’ The same incident is recorded, with slight variations, in  Matthew 15:3-5.

Commentators are divided as to whether the dedication was meant seriously, and the property actually given to God and put into the treasury; or whether the utterance of the word was a mere evasion, and when the magic word corban had been uttered over any possession, the unfilial son was able to ‘square’ matters with the Rabbis, so as to be free from obligation to support his aged parents (Bruce on  Matthew 15:5). It must be admitted that the Jews were much addicted to making rash vows. One tractate in the Talmud, Nedarim , is specially devoted to the subject. We there find that the customary formula among the Jews for devoting anything to God was, ‘Let it be corban ’; though, to allow a loophole of possible escape from the vow if they regretted it afterwards, they were in the habit of using other words which sounded like corban . Nedarim , i. 2, says: ‘When any one says “ konâm , or konâh , or konâs (be this object, or this food),” these are by-names for korbân .’ These words came to be used as a mere formula of interdiction, without any intention of making the thing interdicted ‘a gift to God’; e.g. , a man seeing his house on fire, says, ‘My tallith shall be corban if it is not burnt” ( Ned. iii. 6). In making a vow of abstinence a man says: ‘ Konâs be the food (vi. I) or the wine (viii. 1) which I taste.’ When a man resolves not to plough a field, he says, ‘ Konâs be the field, if I plough it’ (iv. 7), Repudiation of a wife is thus expressed, ‘What my wife might be benefited by me is konâs (קוֹנָםאָשָׁחָּינָהֲנַתלִי), because she has stolen my cup’ or ‘struck my son’ (iii. 2). In viii. 11 we have the very same formula as in  Mark 7:11, except that we have the subterfuge or substitute, קוֹנָם for קָרְבָּן, קוֹנָםשָׁאַתָּנהֱנָהלי (Lowe’s â, p. 88).

It is not necessary to think that Jesus had such cases of recklessness in His mind. We prefer to believe that He was thinking of bonâ fide vows, made to the Temple, hastily, perhaps angrily, without sufficient regard to the claims of aged parents. The question was a very intricate one, What ought the Rabbis to advise the man to do? The Law was most emphatic in its insistence that all vows, when once made, must be kept ( Deuteronomy 23:21-23). Which has the higher claim on a man’s conscience? The service of God, promoted by the gift, and the Law obeyed by keeping the vow inviolate? or, the support of poor aged parents, the Law broken and the vow violated? It was a delicate matter, and we can scarcely wonder that the Rabbis of Christ’s day adhered to the literal significance of  Deuteronomy 23:21-23, and held that nothing could justify the retractation of a vow. In other words, they allowed the literal and the ceremonial to override the ethical. Jesus disclosed a different ‘spirit,’ as He ruled that duty to parents is a higher obligation than upholding religious worship, or than observance of a vow rashly or thoughtlessly made.

In Nedarim , ix. 1, we find Eliezer ben Hyrkanos ( circa (about) a.d. 90), who in many respects felt the influence of Christianity, give the same view as the Lord Jesus with regard to rash vows. We translate the passage thus—

‘R. Eliezer said that when rash vows infringe at all on parental obligations, Rabbis should suggest a retractation ( lit. open a door) by appealing to the honour due to parents. The sages dissented. R. Zadok said, instead of appealing to the honour due to parents, let them appeal to the honour due to God; then might rash vows cease to be made. The sages at length agreed with R. Eliezer that if the case be directly between a man and his parents [as in  Mark 7:11], they might suggest retractation by appealing to the honour due to parents.’

The words of R. Meîr ( circa (about) a.d. 150) are also interesting in this connexion as given in Nedarim , ix. 4–

‘One may effect a retractation of a rash vow by quoting what is written in the Law. One may say to him: If thou hadst known that thou wast transgressing such commandments as these, “Thou shalt not take vengeance nor bear a grudge”; “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart”; “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” [ Leviticus 19:17 f.]; “Thy brother shall live with thee” [ Leviticus 25:36],—wouldst thou have made the vow? Perhaps thy brother may become poor, and thou (because of thy rash vow) wilt not be able to support him. If he shall say, If i had known that it was so, I would not have made the vow,—he may be released from his vow.’

These quotations show that, in some directions, the spirit of humaneness was triumphing over the literalism which Jesus combated in His day.

Literature.—The Mishnic treatise, Nedarim  ; artt. on ‘Corban’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible , Encyc. Bibl. , and Jewish Encyc .; Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus , ii. 17 ff.; the Commentaries of Wetstein, Grotius, and Bruce on  Matthew 15:5 and  Mark 7:11; Lightfoot’s Hor. Heb. , and Wünsche’s Erlaüterung, in loco .

J. T. Marshall.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [2]

We meet with this word but once in the Bible. ( Mark 7:11) But it should seem, from the manner in which it is spoken of by our blessed Lord, that the Jews were much in the habit of using it. The word Corban applied by the Jews to all voluntary gifts. It should seem to have been taken from the word Karab, to give. And from a passage in the gospel by St. Matthew, it should appear that they not unfrequently swore by it. ( Matthew 23:18-19) As they used the word Corban upon certain occasions, so they, sometimes, used the word Mencha, which means offering, for all presentations to the temple.

See Offering.

The manner in which our Lord hath condemned the Jews, for the use of the word Corban, plainly shews what a pretext, or covering, they made it to evade important duties. "Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, it is Corban; that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother." ( Mark 7:10-12) By which, it should seem, that those unfeeling men sheltered themselves, from affording relief to the necessities of their parents, under pretence, that they had made a Corban of what they had to the Lord. "It is Corban, said they; that is, it is the Lord's. I have devoted all I can spare to the service of the temple—I cannot help you."

Blessed Lord! how sweetly doth thy gospel explain and enforce that unceasing precept both of nature and of grace, and which needs no higher rewards to follow than a man's own uncorrupt feelings-"Honour thy father and thy mother, which (saith the Holy Ghost), is the first commandment with promise." ( Ephesians 6:2) It is worthy observation, and deserves to be noticed under this subject, that this commandment is, indeed, the first to which a promise is given. For the first table of the law gives no promise. It is the first commandment in the second table that opens with a promise, and a blessed one it is, "that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."  Exodus 20:12

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [3]

1: Κορβανᾶς (Strong'S #2878 — Noun Masculine — korban — kor-ban', kor-ban-as' )

signifies (a) "an offering," and was a Hebrew term for any sacrifice, whether by the shedding of blood or otherwise; (b) "a gift offered to God,"  Mark 7:11 . Jews were much addicted to rash vows; a saying of the rabbis was, "It is hard for the parents, but the law is clear, vows must be kept." The Sept. translates the word by doron, "a gift." See korbanas, under Treasury ,  Matthew 27:6 .

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [4]

קרבן ,  Mark 7:11; from the Hebrew קרב , to offer, to present. It denotes a gift, a present made to God, or to his temple. The Jews sometimes swore by corban, or by gifts offered to God,   Matthew 23:18 . Theophrastus says that the Tyrians forbad the use of such oaths as were peculiar to foreigners, and particularly of corban, which, Josephus informs us, was used only by the Jews. Jesus Christ reproaches the Jews with cruelty toward their parents, in making a corban of what should have been appropriated to their use. For when a child was asked to relieve the wants of his father or mother, he would often say, "It is a gift," corban, "by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;" that is, I have devoted that to God which you ask of me; and it is no longer mine to give,  Mark 7:11 . Thus they violated a precept of the moral law, through a superstitious devotion to Pharisaic observances, and the wretched casuistry by which they were made binding upon the conscience.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [5]

An offering to God in fulfillment of a vow; from which the temple treasury into which such gifts were east is called in Greek, Korbanas ( Matthew 27:6). Also whatever men by vow interdicted themselves from, as wine, etc., was called Qorban (Leviticus 27; Numbers 30;  Judges 13:7; Jeremiah 35). Undutiful children, under the plea of having consecrated as corban to the Lord whatever help they might otherwise have given to their parents, evaded their filial obligation; this Christ denounced as a "making the commandment of God of none effect by man's traditions" ( Matthew 15:5;  Mark 7:11-12). The rabbis allowed a youth even to pronounce corban upon his property, and retain it for himself, though withholding it from his own parents. This extreme case however was not immediately referred to by our Lord.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

A sacred gift, a present devoted to God, or to his temple,  Matthew 23:18 . Our Savior reproaches the Jews with cruelty towards their parents, in making a corbon of what should have been appropriated to their use. The son would say to his needy parents, "It is a gift- whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me," that is, I have already devoted to God that which you request of me,  Mark 7:11; and the traditionary teachings of the Jewish doctors would enforce such a vow, and not suffer him to do aught for his parents against it, although it was contrary to nature and reason, and made void the law of God as to honoring parents,  Matthew 15:3-9 . The Pharisees, and the Talmudists their successors, permitted even debtors to defraud their creditors by consecrating their debt to God; as if the property were their own, and not rather the right of their creditor.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [7]

Corban. An offering to God, of any sort, bloody or bloodless, but particularly, in fulfillment of a vow. The law laid down rules for vows, (1) affirmative; (2) negative.  Leviticus 27:1;  Numbers 30:1. Upon these rules, the traditionists enlarged, and laid down that a man might interdict himself by vow, not only from using for himself, but from giving to another or receiving from him, some particular object, whether of food or any other kind whatsoever.

The thing thus interdicted was considered as corban . A person might thus exempt himself from any inconvenient obligation under plea of corban. It was practices of this sort that our Lord reprehended,  Matthew 15:5;  Mark 7:11, as annulling the spirit of the law.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [8]

In Jewish antiquity, were those offerings which had life; in opposition to the minchab, or those which had not. It is derived from the word karab, which signifies, "to approach;" because the victims were brought to the door of the tabernacle. The corban were always looked upon as the most sacred offerings. The Jews are reproached with defeating, by means of the corban, the precept of the fifth commandment, which enjoins the respect due to parents; for when a child had no mind to relieve the wants of his father or mother, he would say to them

"It is a gift (corban) by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;" 1: e. "I have devoted that to God which you ask of me, and it is no longer mine to give."  Mark 7:11 .

King James Dictionary [9]

CORBAN, n. L. G., a wicker basket.

1. In Jewish antiquity, an offering which had life an animal offered to God in opposition to the mincha, which was an offering without life.

It is a gift, corban, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me that is, I have devoted that to God which you ask of me, and it is no longer mine to give.

2. An alms-basket a vessel to receive gifts of charity a gift an alms a treasury of the church, where offerings are deposited. 3. Among Mohammedans, a ceremony performed at the foot of mount Arrarat in Arabia, near Mecca. It consists in killing the number of sheep, and distributing them among the poor.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [10]

This is the Greek word, κορβᾶν, representing the Hebrew word qorban, 'an offering,' and signifies anything brought near or devoted to God. The Jews allowed, and perhaps encouraged, sons to devote their property to God, and then refuse to assist their parents under the plea that their substance was 'corban,' or devoted. The Lord blames the rulers for this as one of their traditions, by which they had made the word of God of none effect.  Mark 7:11 .

Webster's Dictionary [11]

(1): (n.) An offering of any kind, devoted to God and therefore not to be appropriated to any other use; esp., an offering in fulfillment of a vow.

(2): (n.) An alms basket; a vessel to receive gifts of charity; a treasury of the church, where offerings are deposited.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [12]

Corban ( Kor'Ban ), Offering, a word implying that the thing to which it applied was consecrated to God.  Mark 7:11.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [13]

 Mark 7:11 Leviticus 27:16-24

Holman Bible Dictionary [14]

 Mark 7:11

Gene Henderson

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [15]

CORBAN . See Sacrifice and Offering.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [16]

See Vow .

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [17]

( Κωρβᾶν , for קָרְבָּן , Korban' , an Offering ), a Hebrew word (occurring frequently in the original of the O.T., but only in Leviticus and Numb., except in  Ezekiel 20:28; xl, 43) employed in the Hellenistic Greek, just as the corresponding Greek word Δῶρον was employed in the Rabbinical Hebrew (Buxtorf, Lex. Rab. col. 579) to designate an oblation of any kind to God, whether bloody or bloodless, but particularly in fulfillment of a vow (Jahn, Bibl. Arch . v, § 392, 394). It occurs only once in the New Testament ( Mark 7:11), where it is explained (as also by Josephus, Ant. 4:4, 4; contra Ap. 1:22) by the word "gift." Money, lands, and houses, which had been made the subject of this vow, became the property of the tabernacle or the Temple, except that the land might be redeemed before the year of Jubilee ( Leviticus 27:1-24). Among other false doctrines taught by the Pharisees, who were the keepers of the sacred treasury ( Κορβανᾶς , from Corban ,  Matthew 27:6), was this, that as soon as a person had pronounced to his father or mother this form of consecration or offering, "Be it (or, It is) corban [i.e. devoted] whatever of mine shall profit thee" ( קָרְבָּן שְׁאָנַי נִהֲנָה לְָ ), he thereby consecrated all he had spoken of to God, and must not thenceforth do anything for his indigent parents if they solicited support from him. Therefore our Lord reproaches them with having destroyed by their tradition not only that commandment of the Law which enjoins children to honor their father and mother, but also another divine precept, which, under the severest penalty, forbade that kind of dishonor which consists in contumelious words ( Mark 7:9;  Mark 10:13). They, however, proceeded even further than this unnatural gloss; for though the son did not give, or even mean to give, his property to the Temple, yet, if he afterwards should repent of his rashness, and wish to supply his parents with anything, what he had formerly said precluded the possibility of doing so, for, according to the Pharisaic doctrine, the sacred treasury had a claim upon him in preference to his parents, although he was perfectly at liberty to keep it to himself (see Lightfoot, Hor. Heb., and Grotius, Annot., on  Matthew 15:5). The law laid down rules for vows, 1. affirmative; 2. negative. By the former, persons, animals, and property might be devoted to God, but, with certain limitations, they were redeemable by money payments. By the latter, persons interdicted themselves, or were interdicted by their parents, from the use of certain things lawful in themselves, as wine, either for a limited or an unlimited period (Leviticus 27; Numbers 30;  Judges 13:7; Jeremiah 35; comp. Josephus, Ant. 4:4, 4; War, 2:15, 1; see  Acts 18:18;  Acts 21:23-24). (See Vow).

Upon these rules the traditionists enlarged, and laid down that a man might interdict himself by vow, not only from using for himself, but from giving to another, or receiving from him some particular object, whether of food or any other kind whatsoever. The thing thus interdicted was considered as corban, and the form of interdiction was virtually to this effect; "I forbid myself to touch or be concerned in any way with the thing forbidden, as if it were devoted by law," i.e. "let it be corban." (The exact formula, קוֹנֵם שְׁאָנַי נִהֲנָה לְ , ָ "[that] has been given [to God], which [in respect to] me is beneficial to thee," of which the Evangelist's Δῶρον , Ἐὰν Ἰξ Ἐμοῦ Ω͂φεληθῇς seems a strict rendering, is cited by Sch Ö ttgen, Hor. Heb. 1:138: from the Mishna, Nedarim , fol. 24, 1.) So far did they carry the principle that they even held as binding the incomplete exclamations of anger, and called them יָדוֹת , Handles . A person might thus exempt himself from assisting or receiving assistance from some particular person or persons, as parents in distress; and, in short, from any inconvenient obligation under plea of corban, though by a legal fiction he was allowed to suspend the restriction in certain cases (Surenhusius, Mischna, de Votis, 1:4; 2:2). It was with practices of this sort that our Lord found fault ( Matthew 15:5;  Mark 7:11), as annulling the spirit of the law. (See Offering).

Theophrastus, quoted by Josephus (Ap. 1:22), notices the system, miscalling it a Phoenician custom, but in naming the word corban identifies it with Judaism. Josephus (War, 2:9, 4) calls the treasury in which offerings for the Temple or its services were deposited, Κορβανᾶς , corbanas; and Matthew ( Matthew 17:6) uses the same word to signify the treasury, saying that the chief priests did not think it lawful to put the money of Judas into it ( Εἰς Τὸν Κορβανᾶν ) (Bingham, Orig. Eccl . v. 4, 2). Origen's account of the Corban -system is that children sometimes refused assistance to parents on the ground that they had already contributed to the poor fund, from which they alleged their parents might be relieved. In the early Church, oblations were presented monthly, and they were always voluntarily placed in the treasury. Baronius thinks this treasury was called corban, because Cyprian uses the word when he speaks of the offerings of the people, rebuking a rich matron for coming to celebrate the Eucharist without any regard to the corban. (See Alms).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [18]

Cor´ban, a Hebrew word employed in the Hellenistic Greek, to designate an oblation of any kind to God. It occurs only once in the New Testament . There is some difficulty in the exact meaning of this passage and the corresponding one, . Many interpreters, at the head of whom stands Beza, suppose that a gift of the property of the son had actually been made to the service of God. The sense is then, 'Whatever of mine might benefit thee is corban, is already dedicated to God, and I have therefore no power over it.' Others, more correctly as we think, translate the sentence, 'Be it corban (that is, devoted) whatever of mine shall profit thee.' Lightfoot notices a formula of frequent occurrence in the Talmud which seems to be exactly that quoted by our Lord, '[Be it] corban, [as to] which I may be profitable to thee.' He, as well as Grotius, shows that this and similar formula were not used to signify that the thing was actually devoted, but was simply intended to prohibit the use of it from the party to whom it was thus made corban, as though it were said, If I give you anything or do anything for you, may it be as though I gave you that which is devoted to God, and may I be accounted perjured and sacrilegious. This view of the passage certainly gives much greater force to the charge made by our Lord that the command 'Whoso curseth father or mother let him die the death' was nullified by the tradition. It would, indeed, seem surprising that such a vow as this (closely analogous to the modern profanity of imprecating curses on one's self if certain conditions be not fulfilled) should be considered to involve a religious obligation from which the party could not be freed even if afterwards he repented of his rashness and sin. It appears, however, from Rabbinical authority that anything thus devoted was irreclaimable, and that even the hasty utterance of a word implying a vow was equivalent to a vow formally made. This, indeed, seems to be the force of the expression used in Mark, 'ye suffer him no more to do aught for his father or his mother.' A more striking instance of the subversion of a command of God by the tradition of men can hardly be conceived.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [19]

kôr´ban ( קרבּן , ḳorbān  ; δῶρον , dō̇ron  ; translated "a gift," "a sacrificial offering," literally, "that which is brought near," namely, to the altar): An expression frequently used in the original text of the Old Testament; in the English Bible it occurs in  Mark 7:11; compare also  Matthew 15:5 . It is the most general term for a sacrifice of any kind. In the course of time it became associated with an objectionable practice. Anything dedicated to the temple by pronouncing the votive word "Corban" forthwith belonged to the temple, but only ideally; actually it might remain in the possession of him who made the vow. So a son might be justified in not supporting his old parents simply because he designated his property or a part of it as a gift to the temple, that is, as "Corban" There was no necessity of fulfilling his vow, yet he was actually prohibited from ever using his property for the support of his parents. This shows clearly why Christ singled out this queer regulation in order to demonstrate the sophistry of tradition and to bring out the fact of its possible and actual hostility to the Scripture and its spirit.