Sunday, November 22, 2009

Word of the Day

The Hebrew word hesed is one of the most pregnant and potent words in the Old Testament. Psalm 136 repeats it in a refrain in each of its 26 verses: "His hesed endures forever." Notice how different translations often render this term:
"unfailing love" [NIV]

"lovingkindness" [NASB]

"steadfast love" [ESV and NRSV]

"mercy" [KJV, NKJV]

"faithful love" [NLT]
One my favorite theological books of all time, The Jesus Storybook Bible, hints at the idea of hesed when it frequently refers to "God's Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love."

This idea of hesed is the ultimate sentiment between YHWH and His covenant people. The meaning of hesed is bound to YHWH's covenant promises to Abraham. It is not mere love or emotive adoration. Hesed includes and implies covenantal favor, love, mercy, fidelity, and kindness. The word almost tells a story in itself.

We can rejoice with the prophet Micah when he says, "Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression? You do not retain Your anger forever, because You delight to show hesed."
[for more word studies on hesed, read here, here, here, and here]

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