chesed: love which will not let go

chesed: love which will not let go

Israel’s persistent waywardness could never destroy it. Though Israel be faithless, yet God remains faithful still.

This steady, persistent refusal of God to let go of Israel is the essential meaning of the Hebrew word which is translated loving-kindness.

Biblical scholars have often complained that the word חֶסֶד in the Hebrew Bible is difficult to translate into English, because it really has no precise equivalent in our language. English versions usually try to represent it with such words as “loving-kindness,” “mercy,” “steadfast love,” and sometimes “loyalty,” but the full meaning of the word cannot be conveyed . . .

Loving-Kindness is a biblical word, invented by Miles Coverdale, and carried over into the English versions generally.

It is one of the words he used in the Psalms (23 times, plus Hosea 2:19) to translate the Hebrew chesed when it refers to God’s love for his people Israel.

Otherwise it is translated ‘mercy,’ ‘goodness,’ ‘kindness’ ‘love’ . . .

The nearest New Testament equivalent to the Hebrew chesed is charis (grace), as Luther realized when he used the German “Gnade” for both words.

The loving-kindness of God towards Israel is undeserved on Israel’s part.

Strict, however, as the demands for righteousness are, God’s yearnings for the people of his choice are stronger still.
The word stands for the wonder of his unfailing love for the people of his choice.

List of verses where “chesed” occurs:

Genesis:
19:19
20:13
21:23
24:12, 14
27:49
32:10
39:21
40:14
47:29

Exodus:
15:13
20:6
34:6, 7

Leviticus:
20:17

Numbers:
14:18, 19

Deuteronomy:
5:10
7:9, 12

Joshua:
2:12, 14

Judges:
1:24
8:35

Ruth:
1:8
2:20
3:10

1 Samuel:
15:6
20:8, 14, 15

2 Samuel:
2:5, 6
3:8
7:15
9:1, 3, 7
10:2
15:20
16:17
22:51

1 Kings:
2:7
3:6
8:23
20:31

1 Chronicles:
16:34, 41
17:13
19:2

2 Chronicles:
1:8
5:13
6:14, 42
7:3, 6
20:21
24:22
32:32
35:26

Ezra:
3:11
7:28
9:9

Nehemiah:
1:5
9:17, 32
13:14, 22

Esther:
2:9, 17

Job:
6:14
10:12
37:13

Psalms:
5:7
6:4
13:5
17:7
18:50
21:7
23:6
25:6, 7, 10
26:3
31:7, 16, 21
32:10
33:5, 18, 22
36:5, 7, 10
40:10, 11
42:8
44:26
48:9
51:1
52:1, 8
57:3, 10
59:10, 16, 17
61:7
62:12
63:3
66:20
69:13, 16
77:8
85:7, 10
86:5, 13, 15
88:11
89:1, 2, 14, 24, 28, 33, 49
90:14
92:2
94:18
98:3
100:5
101:1
103:4, 8, 11, 17
106:1, 7, 45
107:1, 8, 15, 21, 31, 43
108:4
109:12, 16, 21, 26
115:1
117:2
118:1, 2, 3, 4, 29
119:41, 64, 76, 88, 124, 149, 159
130:7
136:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26
138:2, 8
141:5
143:8, 12
144:2
145:8
147:11

Proverbs:
3:3
11:17
14:22, 34
16:6
19:22
20:6, 28
21:21
31:26

Isaiah:
16:5
40:6
54:8, 10
55:3
57:1
63:7

Jeremiah:
2:2
9:24
16:5
31:3
32:18
33:11

Lamentations:
3:22, 32

Daniel:
1:9
9:4

Hosea:
2:19
4:1
6:4, 6
10:12
12:6

Joel:
2:13

Jonah:
2:8
4:2

Micah:
6:8
7:18, 20

Zechariah:
7:9

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