Hesed, covenant, Old Testament
The concept of hesed (pronounced khesed) 1 is unfamiliar to most Bible readers. This is partly due to the fact that it is a Hebrew word found in the Old Testament; thus, we will never come across the word hesed anywhere in our King James Version (KJV). Moreover, the term is difficult to translate, the KJV providing no less than fifteen different terms to signify the presence of hesed in the text, the most common being mercy, kindness, and lovingkindness.2 Yet the principle of hesed may be one of the most important doctrinal concepts in the Old Testament, as it appears 245 times in the Hebrew Bible and embodies both the manner in which Israel was expected to act and the true nature of God. Thus, by studying the hesed references within their contexts and discerning the pattern in which this gospel principle is revealed, we can recognize its importance, particularly through its emphasis on acts of deliverance in the Old Testament narratives and its insight on what it means to be like God in our own personal journeys toward salvation.3
Original Publication Citation
Approaching Holiness: Exploring the History and Teachings of the Old Testament, Krystal V. L. Pierce and David Rolph Seely, Editors (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center/Deseret Book), 2022
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Belnap, Dan and Belnap, Daniel L., "How Excellent is Thy Lovingkindness: The Gospel Principle of Hesed" (2022). Faculty Publications. 5602.
Religious Studies Center/Deseret Book
2022 by Brigham Young University. All rights reserved. This is the author's submitted version this article.
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