Old Testament Theology Of Hesed

2543 Words11 Pages
Brent Braunberger
BTH 530 Old Testament Theology
Dr. Cotton
Spring, 2003
The Old Testament Theology of Hesed
I. Introduction
A. The three most common words used for love in OT.
1. Ahab (250 times) – can include romantic, fraternal and divine love. Is spontaneous and out-flowing love, in contrast to love arising from deliberate choice (ISBE).
2. Hesed (246 times) – can include human devotion, loyalty, or kindness to others or to
God, but most commonly used within the context of God’s love for mankind. It is based upon commitment, covenant and decision, instead of feelings.
3. Raham (26 times) – can include human or divine love (brotherly), mercy or compassion
(ISBE).
II. The Meaning of Hesed
A. Definition - ds,j&, - loyalty, faithfulness, goodness
1. Most scholars
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Even in the midst of men’s’ idolatry and unfaithfulness, God remains faithful. Yet, God expects and desires hesed to be return back to Him (Kaiser 199).
c. Micah 6:8 “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love hesed (mercy) and to walk humbly with your God.”
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IV. Conclusion
1. Hesed is a characteristic of God rather than man. It is rooted in his divine nature and is expressed based upon who he is rather than man’s needs, desires or what he deserves.
God’s commitment to the people of Israel in spite of their unfaithfulness and rebellion demonstrates that hesed is an enduring quality of God. This commitment leads him to punish his wayward people and to regulate their punishment in such a way that they desire to return to him. Although people cannot manipulate God, he still awaits the opportunity to manifest his hesed again when his people repent and return to him. (Clark
267)
2. Application for NT Believers
a. The concept of hesed is picked up again in the NT as agape love – John 3:16.
(Dyrness 60/ Hummel 297).
b. God’s unfailing and steadfast love for believers is not based upon their actions
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