Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at
Thu Jan 17 14:05:15 EST 2002

Surely in Gen 24:27 the XESED is from God towards Abraham, this
servant's master?


In 24:49, the XESED is from Laban and Bethuel towards Abraham. This is
presumably a matter of obligations to relatives, and "loyalty" would fit
rather well, perhaps better than "commitment" in this case. But perhaps
there is a need for anthropological data here as well: in that culture,
did Laban have an obligation to provide a bride for his relative?


On the other hand, I have heard it said that XESED in Genesis is a
rather different concept from XESED in the rest of the Hebrew Bible.


Peter Kirk



-----Original Message-----
From: Ausra Pazeraite [mailto:apazera at] 
Sent: 17 January 2002 14:22
To: Peter Kirk; Biblical Hebrew
Subject: RE: CHESED


OK in the cases concerning God. But what about cases of human "chesed",
for example in Gen. 24:27 and 24:49? The New Oxford annotated Bible uses
"loyalty" as well as "faithfulness"... 




  Peter Kirk <Peter_Kirk at> wrote: 

What does "loving kindness" mean? Since kindness, as an abstract
quality, cannot love, this is something meaningless except for those who
think they know what it means from reading the King James Bible etc.

As for "mercy", I think that is quite simply a mistranslation of the
Hebrew, though one that is unfortunately rather widespread because of
the Septuagint translation ELEOS.

I rather like George's suggestion of "commitment", in a rather modern
English sense. The problem with his alternative of "devotion" is that it
sounds very odd as an attribute of God towards his people.

But this word has been the subject of a considerable amount of scholarly
study e.g. by N. Glueck, K.D. Sakenfeld and G.R. Clark. These studies
are summarised, with a bibliography, in the article on this word in W.A.
VanGemeren "New International Dictionary of Old Testame! nt Theology &
Exegesis" vol.2, Zondervan 1997. Proper discussion should be informed by
the results of these studies.

Peter Kirk

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Shoshanna Walker [mailto:rosewalk at]
> Sent: 16 January 2002 14:02
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Re: CHESED
> My first choice is "Loving kindness" - my second choice is "mercy"
> Chesed is the fourth "sephira" according to Kabbala, and the source
> of all the mercy in the world, its opposite is Gevura, "stern
> judgement"
> Shoshanna
> I suppose it can be translated as "faithfulness", too.
> Ausra
> George Athas wrote:
> > The second question might refer to a different word
> > which is notoriously difficult to translate into Englis! h but
> gets
> > rendered both as "righteousness" and "charity" in English versions.
> is
> > often understood as something like "covenant faithfulness," but I
> > know that that really captures the sense either.
> It's not that hard to translate CHESED into English. I go for either
> "commitment" or "devotion".
> Best regards,
> (Sydney, Australia)

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