Leviticus makes mention of the korban shelamim, the peace offering, for the first time in chapter 3. Both Targum Onkelos and Targum Pseudo Jonathan translate this as נכסת קודשיא, literally 'holy slaughterings'.

Weren't all of the sacrifices holy, and all of the animal sacrifices slaughtered? All of the other sacrifices are translated by their specific names: the elevation offering is translated עלתא, the meal offering מנחתא, the sin offering חטאתא, the guilt offering אשמא.

Why is the peace offering translated in such a general way?

  • 1
    I bet it's because only Jews can bring Shelamim.
    – Double AA
    Mar 9, 2014 at 5:51
  • 1
    @DoubleAA Can't Noahides only bring Elevation offerings, though?
    – Baby Seal
    Mar 9, 2014 at 5:52
  • Ya, but they can't do any sins which would require sin offerings.
    – Double AA
    Mar 9, 2014 at 6:06
  • @DoubleAA oh, so you're saying that this is a sacrifice they could hypothetically bring, as it is voluntary, but they aren't able to. Interesting thought, I like it!
    – Baby Seal
    Mar 9, 2014 at 14:47
  • FWIW Neofiti also has נכסת קודשין
    – Double AA
    Mar 9, 2014 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


The sefer באורי אונקלוס here explains:

There is a wide range of opinions as to what the word שלמים means - whether the word is cognate with שלום (peace) or שלימות (completeness) or תשלומים (payment) (Rashi, Ramban and Rashbam), and really the word connotes all these meanings together. And because a direct Aramaic translation cannot similarly signify all these meanings it was not possible to translate it as נכסת שלמין, because this would imply only the meaning of completeness.

Therefore, it was translated according to the basic characteristic of the offering - נכסת קודשין - which simply means "an sacrifice which is slaughtered as a holy offering", to distinguish it from קדשי קדשים (most holy offerings) and other offerings which have individual names.

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